When I fast forward 18 years from now, give or take, of course I will want to cut the apron strings and set my children free. I am striving for my children to be independent. I want them to leave and become good people who make good decisions and who live good lives. But when they are set free, I am home...alone. All by myself.
Now, I fully expect for Steve to be in the picture 18 years from now, so it isn't like I will be totally alone. But, in 18 years from now, Steve will still have a decade left of flying. That means I have a decade in my life where my children will be out of the house...and my husband will still be traveling. Of course when Steve is home it will be all good. But when he is gone, I will be alone...and I hate that.
I had a taste of the empty nesting thing last week. The kids spent about 5 days with grandma and grandpa and Steve had a 3-day trip in the middle of that 5 days. This meant that I had two nights at home...all alone. Yes, I liked it since I just had a "meltdown" not a couple days before. It was nice to get a break from the kids (you parents know what I am talking about.) But, I missed the kids. I missed Steve. It kind of sucked. I like people. I feed off of people. When no 'people' is in my house, I don't like it.
The first day of my empty nesting went like this: I walked into the house, to this:
Ok, so the two dogs greeted me and loved on me, and that was nice. But, it isn't the same.
I didn't like it.
Alright, you got me, I will admit that I did like sitting my ass down on the rocking chair in the family room, fully in control of the remote, eating buffalo chicken dip for dinner, and sipping a beer. But that wore off pretty quick.
Before long, I got up and went shopping. Of course! I rounded out the evening with a chick flick. I am sure Steve is quite satisfied that I didn't drag him into watching this movie.
what did I take from this movie? A son needs a father.
oh, and that Jason Bateman is quite hot...which is a total tease when your pilot is not home
The next evening was spent having a fabulous dinner with a fabulous friend that I love and adore...and don't see enough of. The evening rounded out with having a neighbor friend over for drinks. This was also very nice, as we are starting to become closer friends. It is nice to have quite evenings of just chatting.
I made sure that my evenings were filled when both the kids and Steve were gone. I knew that I had to keep myself busy so that I wouldn't be upset and lonely.
As for the other nights when the kids were gone and Steve was around, I guess we got a taste of what life will be like with no kids. That first night we test drove a car. Steve is slowly but surely warming up to the idea of a new car. And we need one! The car, oh wait - SUV...was the Ford Explorer. The flippin' car is like $40K. No thank you. For that kind of money I need to be WOWed. I wasn't WOWed. It was nice, don't get me wrong. But, it just didn't do anything for me. I think it may be a hard sell for me. We have a history of buying used cars, so it is SO hard for me to see the value in a new car. I don't have a problem spending $40k on a car, if I *LOVE* it. This car, not so much love. We aren't buying until Steve signs a contract at work, so I am sure we have months before we need to make a decision.
As for the other night, we went to the movies. We saw Ted. Aside from the one part that I laughed so hard I cried, it was okay. I think watching 30 minutes of family guy is plenty...and 2 hours of family guy humor is just too much. I was pissed at Steve before we left (a stupid tiff about him wanting to throw away a picture that I wanted to keep) so I wasn't in the best of moods to start off. I eventually warmed up to Steve, despite the fact that the theatre kept the freakin' temp at 55 degrees. There were sides of beef hanging in there, I tell you! I do have to say, it was nice to watch an adult movie in a theater. Sure it had animation, but the animated bear was talking about sex...I don't think Lots-O-Huggin' Bear ever uttered that word. This must be a parent of little ones reflex: every time they said 'fuck' I wanted to turn around to make sure the kids didn't hear. It was safe.
Let me tell you two things I observed when I was empty-nesting, especially for us pilot wives:
#1. Stay true to yourself! When your kids leave the house, and your pilot husband is gone at work, it is all you baby. You! While you are raising your kids, don't lose yourself in them...because they are eventually leaving. And then what?
Keep and build the relationship you have, and work to build new ones. Make sure you take time to do the things that you want to do, and focus on things that make you happy. Why? Because you should never lose sight of yourself. When the kids are out of the house, you need to keep yourself active and busy and engaged. If you build on these activities throughout the years, I am sure it will be that much more rewarding in the end.
#2. Stay true to your marriage. When your kids are out of the house, and your pilot husband is home, it is he that you will be eating dinner with...sleeping next to...running errands with...ect. Make sure that you keep building on your marriage when the kids are growing up. Why? Because when they leave, it is just you and him. I am sure "you and him" will be a hell of a lot happier if you still love each other.
There are instances here-and-there where I see this-or-that when it comes to married couples, and I will say to Steve "I don't want to be like that. I want you to still like me after we are married that long." And that is the truth of it...I want Steve to love me even more 20 years from now than he does today. And the same goes for me...I want to love him even more 20 years from now. I know it can happen...it has happen in the 14 years thus far. But, it takes work. So, work on your marriage. Work to build it and grow it and nourish it...so that you still like him years from now.
I know many people think I am nuts for thinking about this already, but how does the saying go? "The days are long, but the years are short." So, I know the kids will be out of the house before I know it. This means the empty nesting thing will be upon me before I know it. As long as I keep building myself and my relationships, I know I should be fine. I just hate the thought of being alone. I suppose that by that point Steve will be flying some wide-body working 10 days a month and making $300K a year. The ultimate pilot lifestyle, right?! Right. So, I will just tag along for all of his trips. That would make me a Captain groupie. Do they have those? They should! I bet that would keep him loving on me after all the years...