Lots of folks have told me how nice it'll be for Brian and I to have time together to do things we want or how much money we'd be saving once the last one goes. While that is true, no one mentions how you now need to do most of the chores yourself or how many leftovers you have because you've forgotten how to cook for just two or how it feels when it comes time for night prayer and you're the only one here to pray it. No one ever said how dinner time can end up being a quick 15 minutes because you and your spouse have had at least one or two other people at the table keeping up conversations for the past 25 years. And even though I knew it was coming, everyone forgot to mention just how quiet and lonely the house feels when you're the only one home.
So now that's off my shoulders, what does one do to deal with the "empty nest syndrome"? I'm sure there are a ton of websites, books and even YouTube videos with advice, but I've decided to stay with the basics.
1) Pray. That's the first and foremost priority. Pray for your spouse. Pray for your kids. Pray for your extended family, your friends, the Church, the World. You can do this at home, at Mass, at Adoration. Just be sure you're doing it. 'Nuff said.
2) Love on your spouse. My husband has been doing an amazing job this last week showing this as I've been down with a viral thing causing me vertigo. I've actually been home from work for over a week. He's been making sure I'm keeping up on my meds, getting me tea and food, not to mention going to the salle today to be the "office guy" and doing my spot at Adoration tonight. Last night we talked about planning some specific things to do together, and the smile on his face when I suggested making homemade pasta was worth more than I could have imagined!
3) Fellowship with others. Plan a meal with another couple or family. Go to coffee with a friend. Join a Bible study or other group at church. Also be sure that you're serving in some capacity somewhere- church, a food bank, pregnancy center, etc. There are a lot of people out there needing a bit of help!
I guess I wrote this as a reminder for myself as much as sharing it with others. Let me know what other ideas you may have for getting ready and dealing with being an empty nester!