Monday, August 22, 2011

Empty-Nest Anticipation and Other Musings of the Middle-Aged

Not too many years ago, our family seemed large: teenagers everywhere, someone always coming or going, and a menagerie of animals that needed attention. 

Later this week, three kids are headed back to college, and we'll have only one child left at home.  I knew this would be a change, but it's going to be quieter than I expected.  This has not been a good summer for our pets.  In June, Oreos, our cat, died suddenly one night in her sleep.  Earlier this month, as I have already posted, our basset hound Lucy got sick and didn't make it.  And just this morning, I am sad to report that even Superman, the guinea pig, succumbed. He lived a good long guinea pig life--6 years or so, I think. 

I'm beginning to realize how much noise comes with having a houseful of people and animals.  I'm reminded of the children's book, Too Much Noise.  Except I find myself expecting the doggie door to flap open, and Lucy to come running, whenever I am in the backyard.  I expect to hear the soft patter of Crystal's feet, as she walks across the carpet.  I expect to hear the cute chirps and giggles of Superman when I walk into the room.  Fortunately, I still hear the happy, contented sounds of the hens, and though Reepicheep the rat is quiet, he makes his presence known as a permanent fixture on the shoulder of youngest daughter.  (As a side note, I'm so impressed with what a great pet a rat makes!)

I've always envisioned myself handling an empty nest fairly well.  I love my children and I delight in watching them mature into responsible adults. That joy for their successes exceeds the selfish desire to keep them as children.  I think the last time I was bored I was about 7 years old.  I don't anticipate running out of things to do.  I'm not generally energized by crowds of people, but rather enjoy quiet times.  And yet, I'm thinking this fall might seem a bit too quiet.  If this fall is quiet, just how quiet will the future be, when even the youngest is out on her own? 

Like Peter in  Too Much Noise, I suppose I could get a donkey, etc., but that would just mask the real question:  What am I going to be, when my children are all grown up?  :-)

1 comment:

  1. Wow...you've lost too many pets this summer! I'm so sorry!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!