Our youngest kids, once again, have flown the coop.
For several years while our youngest two daughters were in college, my wife and I were the perfect example of empty nesters. We ate when we wanted, and we no longer had to answer to anyone.
Two of our four returned home upon graduation in the spring before taking on the world, and everything changed. When I was a kid, I always thought my parents ran the show. We knew when we had to be home and what we had to do to make the family unit work. If we didn’t know, we found out in a hurry. I questioned authority precisely one time growing up. I didn’t like the answer to that question, but I sure wasn’t going to ask it again.
It doesn’t work like that anymore. After a few carefree years, we were forced into a carefree lifestyle again. While the kids were away, my wife and I would get home and figure out our evening plans. Dinner was whatever we wanted. If we wanted to grab a burger, we’d grab a burger. We had no set schedule.
We were doing everything wrong. You never really know how wrong you are about most things until a pair of 20-somethings move home. They quickly whipped us back into shape. They put us on a schedule. Supper is at 5:30 and needs to include something in addition to meat. In the mornings, my wife would come up with a menu for the day. If we didn’t have something, it required shopping, which means that the product had to be in the kitchen to be prepared by the set time for the evening meal.
And there seemed to be people all over the place in this house. How did we ever do it with six of us? Those were easier times because we were in charge. We made the rules. They knew they needed us. They required transportation and financial support, and we provided that, given they met certain standards of conduct.
Both of our daughters were plotting their departure probably as soon as they arrived home, and that day came Nov. 1 for both. They’re both dutifully employed, and each got a place of their own. This column is meant to be sarcasm. We’re extremely proud of the young adults our children have become.
The McLoone Moving Company made multiple visits to both Chippewa Falls and Madison to set up new apartments. If I play my cards right, it’s the last time I ever move mattresses and couches up flights of steps.
We returned home Sunday night, exhausted from the weekend travels. My wife and I sat in our respective chairs. We decompressed. The realization hit that it’s just the two of us again. We could do anything we want. It was 5:45 p.m., and we hadn’t even thought about supper yet. I finally broke the silence. “You feel like going out for a burger?”
And we did. It was OK. We can do anything we want again.