I recently became an empty nester. It has been twenty-seven plus years since there was just me and the wife in the house. It has been an interesting adjustment with not a few new lessons for both of us.
One of the first things we noticed was a distinctly smaller amount of dishes to wash. Well, the wife got the idea to hand wash the dishes when she saw that it took a day or two to amass enough dishes to warrant running the dishwasher. She presented the idea to me as a way to save on our water bill. My first reaction was to question the legality of such a move. “Surely”, I said, “there is a law against such an unhealthy scheme.” She looked at me like I was clueless and then told me that I would wash and she would dry. I decided to humor her. Since that beginning, we have hand washed the dishes several times a week. Guess what happened? I discovered that all the time we spent side by side, washing and drying dishes, we were talking. We talked about our day and the plans for the next few days, we joked with one another, fussed about the kids that no longer lived with us, and generally had a real fun time catching up. The few short minutes we were actually working in the kitchen together turned into a fun time talking and laughing about our day. We don’t run the dishwasher a lot anymore. Note to guys: DO try this at home for a couple of reasons. For one, this counts as “talk time” with your wife and she will be less likely to pester you to talk during a game or movie. Secondly, you might actually wind up having fun. Hmmm….
The other thing I have noticed about being an empty nester is we can go out for ice cream whenever we want and I don’t have to spend a bunch of dough getting five (or more) sundaes or load the mini-van with a bunch of sugar enhanced kiddies who will not hold still or sleep anytime soon. That has been a huge plus.
The negative about being an empty nester is I no longer have anybody to blame stuff on. If I leave a glass out or some article of my clothes mysteriously finds it way onto the floor, I can’t hide behind the kids anymore. Even worse, I am the one stuck cleaning the cat box out, doing all the yard work, and getting trash detail. I spent twenty seven years dumping all the work and blame on my three kids and now, I am stuck with all their work and I get all the blame to boot. Life is not fair.