how the empty nest began

Last fall, after 20 years of diapers and daycare, car pools and packing lunches, and worrying about who was where and why, I found myself in that worrisome place that many parents dread: the empty nest. My evenings and weekends, once filled by driving all over the state and cheering on the sidelines at track and cross-country meets, soccer and volleyball games, were suddenly free. What’s a mom to do?

Week 1: Overcompensate. That’s what I did, anyway. I registered at Colorado Mountain College and signed up for cooking, baking and yoga classes. That took care of Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I added in breakfasts, coffee meetings and lunches until I barely had time to work. Or think, which was the point.

Week 2: Play catch up because of all of the stuff I crammed into week 1.

Week 3: Hit the road! Scott had a business trip that we decided to turn into our first empty nest trip. We flew to California, then made our way through the Northern part of the state, winding along the coast of Oregon and ending in Portland. Four days on the road reminded us how lucky we are after all these years to still enjoy spending time together. It also reminded me how much I love cheese. Helloooo, Tillamook!

As the weeks progressed, we fell into a new rhythm that was more relaxed and involved questions we hadn’t asked each other in years, like, “there’s nothing on the calendar, what should we do today?” We went out more often, because every night is date night in the empty nest. Plus, it’s a lot more affordable to catch a matinee and go out to eat when there are only two of you. And we’re not above eating dinner at 4:30 to catch the early movie.

My transition was a little easier than some of my friends’, in good part because both kids chose in-state schools. With one in Denver and one in Colorado Springs, it was easy to get together with both on the same trip. Between parents’ weekends and business trips to the Front Range, I ended up seeing them about every three weeks during the first semester. Thanks to staggered schedules, Thanksgiving break rolled in to Christmas break, which rolled into a houseful of college kids for X Games weekend. More travel, including a road trip to Arizona, and spring break, and the months flew by. And not only did I survive, I had fun and learned few things along the way.

In addition to my bucket list, there was a growing list of “things to do someday, when I finally have time” in the back of my mind. Someday has arrived and, along with yoga, starting this blog was on that list. Hope you enjoy reading some of my tales.

© 2014 Mandy Gauldin — All content on this site, including copy and photographs, are the property of Mandy Gauldin and may not be used or copied without permission.

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