People talk about the "empty nest syndrome." Seriously? They lie. When the first kid moves out, you think, "No!" When the second kid moves out, you say, "Okay." When the third kid moves out? You get the party started. At Thanksgiving, after the last of the kids had moved out, our son asked, "What do you do now that we've moved out?" We looked at each other. "Well, do you want to know?" They shook their heads. They covered their ears.
When the kids move out, you don't get to miss them. They keep coming back to do laundry, to "shop" from the pantry and yes, they still need money. By the way, there are people who tell you not to help your kids, that after age 18 or 22, they should be on their own. "Don't help them! They say. Suffering is what makes them adults." Ask these advice givers these simple questions. "Do you have children of your own? Are they successful? Do you have an amazing relationship with them?" If the answer to all these questions isn't yes, don't listen to them. Because they are talking out of their ass.
Let's go back to the list of things you will actually miss when your kids move out and the list of things you won't miss.
List of things you won't miss:
1. Their taking over your whole evening or afternoon. You thought you were going to have dinner, have a drink, listen to music. The whole evening gets torpedoed or shifts gears depending on how you view it. Seven of their friends show up and the whole evening is colored differently. It's not jazz and blues and soft wine; it's a rock and roll party.
2. Your socks. Boys "borrow" socks. There is a huge vault at the center of the Earth where all these borrowed socks end up.
3. Finding your tools all over the backyard.
4. Leaving the doors unlocked.
5. The sheer amount of food that gets consumed. I mean it's sort of fun to watch, but it takes your breath/wallet away.
List of things you will miss.
You have no reason to buy these foods after your kids move out. If you do, one of you will have to admit these foods are for you. And the problem is that you don't want to admit that you are actually buying them for yourself.
1. String cheese.
3. Any kind of fries. You convince yourself that your kids' fries are calorie-free, but you can't order your own fries.
4. More specifically McDonald fries. Let's be honest, there is no reason for you to set foot in McDonalds, in N' Out with their animal fries or any other fast food place now that your kids have moved out.
5. Their Halloween candy and their Easter candy. My kids always said, "Do not touch our candy!" I said, "Why would I touch your candy?" I lied. I tried to take the candy they wouldn't notice. The Almond Joys, the Mounds. God, I miss that candy.
6. Tortillas. Okay, this is my husband's problem. As long as my son was home, he could pretend that the supply of salsa, tortillas and cheese was for Steve. But now that Steve is in New Zealand, there is no justification for tortillas. My husband generally does not want us to have dinner parties; he doesn't want our life to be one long workday. So I say to him, "Hey, we've got these writers in town from Ohio. "Oh them!" he says, let's have them over for Mexican food! I bet they love Mexican food." When I ask why people from Ohio would love Mexican food, he stares at me like, who wouldn't? Leftover tortillas and cheese. That's where his mind is going.
7. Ice cream. It goes without saying that we can't buy ice cream if our kids aren't at home. I bought some peach ice cream yesterday and we had some for dessert last night. That's because we have a dinner party tomorrow night.
8. Someone to tell you how to use electronics. God, I miss it. I wish I had someone to help me with Instagram right now.
9. Someone who's willing to stay up until three in the morning drinking beer in your backyard in case raccoons come to get the chickens.
10. The kids themselves. The fact that you have fun hanging with them. The fact that they make you laugh.