I’m lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. But there’s one problem.
It’s too quiet.
My light sleeper ears aren’t picking up laughter, water running or doors shutting. Yet my hearing radar is still working overtime. Remember that old Simon and Garfunkel song, “The Sound of Silence”?
Well, it’s playing now every night in the Crosby home.
In a two-month whirlwind span, our children moved out. We went from a household of four to a household of two (not including the dog). Son number one moved out of state for a job; son number two moved up the state to attend college.
What happened to our happy family? Remember that lyric from Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”:
“You’re riding high in April, shot down in May.” That’s how I feel though April lasted 23 years, 23 years of parenthood.
The last time my wife and I had the house all to ourselves we weren’t even living in this house. We’d have to travel back to our first abode when, except for the final few months, we were just a couple of newlyweds.
For the first three years of our marriage, we were only two until we got a dog who was our surrogate son. Thirteen months later, our first baby was born.
When we were budding parents, we read all the books about child rearing, heard all the advice from friends and family, “It’s going to go fast and then your kids will be gone.”
Now I know how true that is. In the middle of the day-to-day parenting business, shuttling kids to school, taking them to baseball and music practice, going on summer vacations to national parks—you fool yourself that this is the rest of your life. But no.
At some point, the birdies need to leave the nest. Our first son stayed with us for over 23 years; our second almost 19 years.
People tell us that after a while of living alone as a couple, we will enjoy spending time with just one another. Oh, I know we will. It’s just more exhilarating to share your life with your children.
What runs through my mind is the saying “the gift of life.” I am now feeling how deep down true that idea is. My wife and I are so blessed that we were able to bring into the world two people so that they can have a life of their own. Passing that gift down is the greatest inheritance a parent can leave a child. Empty nesters? Naw, more like full family tree.
Right before going to bed on our second night of empty nest-hood, my wife shared a text from her mom who contacted our college son to see how dorm life was treating him. It turns out that he (playing a sax) and his roommate (playing a keyboard) had an impromptu jazz session which attracted a crowd.
That message was my melatonin. I don’t remember trying to fall asleep for I knew that my son was doing just fine.