As parents, we all know this day will eventually come. For me, it never really left the back of my mind, even as I was a young mother doing my best to raise our son and daughter. I remember thinking about how important it is to always date my husband so that once our kids were on their own it would be an easier transition once they were grown. We would fully embrace the idea of being back to the beginning of where we started before having our children. The transition is a lot easier said than done! However, my husband and I did a pretty good job of dating each other over the years. We would make it a priority to go out on dates at least twice a month. There were of course some exceptions to this over the years but all in all we both knew we needed and wanted our time together to connect and to just be a couple.
As a mom, being the main caretaker and nurturer of our children, it was much harder for me to adjust to each one of them as they left home. As you mold your life with theirs for 18 years, and as they then move on to begin a life of their own, we should feel a profound sense of accomplishment in raising them. That’s all good until you’re then dealing with such a significant change from being there and taking care of them daily, that the adjustment can be very difficult and leaves you feeling lonely or sad. Just the newfound peace and quiet can be awkward and unsettling and like I mentioned, the transition is a lot easier said than done!
It was during those times that I would remember the importance of our date nights and how they allowed us to continue to grow together and reconnect. I knew this next phase of life would allow us opportunities for more personal growth, freedom to do those things we had always wanted to do, deepening of our marriage, travel to explore new places together, and much more!
Here is a short list of some things we’ve been able to do and enjoy together as we take time to reconnect with one another and with ourselves as well. It’s no longer about making the time to do the things we want to do it, instead it’s about exploring the things that interest us without having any disruptions. I hope this list of ideas, from our own experiences will help ease the transition for you.
We went to a glamping resort (I’m not a “camper” but at a resort it is AMAZING and so much fun!
Redecorated our home
We’ve had more time to read a lot of books
I began to journal
Together we’ve binge watched Netflix series
We’ve de-cluttered and reorganized documents
We date each other more by dining out & trying new restaurants alone and with friends.
We have more time to keep in touch with extended family
We created and are tackling our travel bucket list
We spend a lot of time at our second home in the mountains
Began to get serious with our diets and exercise
Started practicing Yoga. If you missed my blog on that, you can read it here!
We take spur of the moment road trips
We spend as much time as possible with our beautiful grandchildren.
What I’ve also realized is that the strong family foundation we laid with our children as they were growing up, was really such a huge part of who they had become as adults. Our son and daughter always found their way back home to us almost every Sunday so that we could enjoy a family dinner around the table together! For some empty nesters that may just mean re-inventing the way you communicate by using FaceTime or Skype and maintaining those conversations as funny, real, and poignant as they ever were. For more tips and ideas on things to do as an empty nester, be sure to visit this site.
Over time, a girlfriend or boyfriend turned fiancé would join us for our Sunday dinners and whether we were laughing, crying, supporting one another or planning a wedding, I was again at peace, full of joy and love, as we would catch up with one another. In time, perfect little grand babies came along and we no longer felt like empty nesters! Our home is full of life and love with family that’s always coming and going and that is one thing we pray never changes. We’ve learned to adjust to our new normal and above all else, how blessed we are to have all the things we prayed for.
Rather than an end, this time in our lives should be a wonderful new beginning to reconnect with yourself, your husband, as well as others.
Cheers to all that is yet to come!