Do you know where your favorite lipstick is? For the first time in years I can say with utter confidence that mine is exactly where I last put it. Now that my nest is newly emptied, no teenager has just swiped it and then left it in her purse/friend's car/friend-of-a-friend's car/Bonnaroo tent/the bathroom of a Boeing 737. I miss my college kids terribly. But it makes me feel better to celebrate the little ways that life is easier without them underfoot.
1. I no longer have an excuse for buying Mallomars. This is a good thing. Right?
2. I'm better rested. It's midnight and I hope my children are sleeping rather than playing beer pong. But since their beds are no longer down the hall from mine I can't really know. Living with the uncertainty is nerve-wracking in theory, but a relief when played out in real time. At 11 p.m. I'm not texting "where are you?" and willing myself to stay awake until their key turns in the door.
3. The DVR is mine, all mine! It is no longer filled with 2,531 re-runs of shows in which shiny-haired young people with perfect bodies and 8-figure bank accounts scowl about how miserable their lives are. Plus, I no longer have to worry that some football/basketball/curling play-off will go into infinite overtime, thus erasing the final episode of Broadchurch.
4. No more towel wars. Why are teenagers allergic to returning towels to the bathroom? Why must they leave them damp and crumpled on their closet floor or under the bed? And is Mom really supposed to be happy that "at least" they actually shower? And when fed-up Mom drags the towels out of the offender's closet and piles them atop the bed with an unpleasant note, why is the response not, "Oh, I'm so sorry dear Mother, I shall forever reform from my towel-hoarding ways," but instead, "What?! You went into my closet?!"
5. The auto body shop is forgetting my name. When my son started driving, a friend recalled that when her eldest got his license, so many fender benders ensued that at Christmas their auto mechanic sent them a gift basket. I'm happy to report that my kids did not so dramatically contribute to the local economy. But their high school driving mishaps did squeeze the budget. Let me put it this way: If you find yourself staring at your car one morning trying to figure out why it looks wrong, and then realize it's missing a side-view mirror, you probably still live with a teenager.