Empty Nest Syndrome is hitting me hard, punching well below the belt. The eery silences in the kitchen, the quiet absences in every room, the full fridge, the empty sofa, the list goes on. Our once five-strong family had shrunk to two persons, and average age of household members shot up by 20 years overnight. We buy ready made meals; hardly worth cooking a Sunday roast for two, is there? We sit at opposite ends of our 6ft long kitchen table staring at a line of empty chairs and doing our best to keep the conversation going, but we lack focus. All the drama has been sucked out of dinner time banter. We try to talk about something else rather than the kids. Surely, we can do better, we have lives of our own. Or do we?
After nearly 25 years of putting them first and myself later, and only if there was any time left, I am truly lost without them. The 8 hours or so a day that I tend to devote to paid work, are not that bad, but even that time feels strangely empty now that I do not need to worry about Parentspay, PE kit, summer concert pickup, food tech ingredients for Friday, and a working calculator for maths exam. There is nothing else to think about so I give work my undivided attention. What a weird feeling that is! But it is evenings and weekends when I struggle the most.
My husband seems to be coping much better with our dramatically reduced head count. Being a man really is an enviably simple task. He flicks through 300 channels as if nothing had happened. He scoffs his Dairy Milk that he doesn’t need to hide from anybody any more with ridiculous contentment. He carries on as normal. It’s almost as if I am the only one who has been abandoned and forgotten by our grown-up offspring.
I am telling myself to stay strong and I think positive thoughts. After all, my son really wanted that job in Cornwall and the girls’ school trips end on Thursday.