Things Have Changed

 My son has been away at college for nearly 3 weeks now.  We are empty nesters.  It's not something I like (or looked forward to), but it's not something I dislike either.  It's different.  It's strange.  It's life.

There are some things in our household and daily life that are very different now:

  • There is less laundry in the hamper; I do fewer loads.  You wouldn't think one person would make that much of a difference, but...Even though half the time when I would do the laundry he'd leave his dirty clothes in his room (and then I'd end up doing another load), the hamper seemed to be constantly full.  I'm down to two load a week?! I can do towels and sheets as one load instead of two.  I keep looking in the hamper because I think I need to do a load and I don't! (Of course then I wonder if my kid is doing laundry at college.  He'd done laundry right?  It's been almost three weeks and I provided him with laundry sheets because they were lighter and easier than hauling a bottle.)
  • Food doesn't "disappear" any more.  I bought cookies last Friday and there is still most of the pack in the pantry.  I don't have to "hide" (put way in the back behind other items or put on the highest shelf behind a pan) items away that I want to save for later.  (But then I wonder, is he eating right?  I KNOW he's eating, but is he not just junk fooding?)
  • Adding on to that, my shopping cart is a not quite as full.  I'm not saying my grocery bill has gone down...because despite less items it still seems to go up, up and up. (As I said to the cashier, $145 is the new $75.)  It SHOULD take us less time to shop (since we're buying less), but that's not necessarily the case as we take time to browse and try to figure out what the two of us will do for the week. (How much is he spending daily?  Did I set him up with enough money on his meal plan?  Is he using his meal plan?)
  • I don't have to buy the more expensive cans/bottles of soda.  It's much more economical to buy a two liter bottle, but my son would ignore it (after it had been opened).  Those 12 packs of cans or 6 backs of small bottles add up!  There's an expense saved, but...now my husband says he prefers them!  Ugh!  Well at least I don't have to buy as often.
  • I go to sleep earlier.  I don't have to stay awake and wait for him to get home from wherever he's been driving around.  Or, if I had fallen asleep, the noise of him coming in at night isn't waking me up.  (He's LOUD when he comes in, takes off his clothes and takes a shower!)  I didn't say I was getting more sleep because I'm not.  I'm definitely getting old and getting up more often in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom.  (Oh God, that means I'm REALLY old.)
  • I have to plan my commute when I go to the office. If it was cold and I wanted to take the express bus, I could have my son drive me down to the express stop (which is further away than the local).  If it was raining, or if I didn't want to climb the hill at the end of the day, I could ask my son to pick me up.  Just last week I made the decision to take locals (which are crowded and slow) because I didn't think it would be wise to walk a mile (give or take) uphill at the end of the day when it was 95+ outside.  Also, if I'm taking a local, I need to catch an earlier bus in since it stops so frequently and picks up more people.  I miss being able to take the express whenever.
  • My gas costs are down.  While I've been driving less since the spring (since I have to travel to Newark via bus 3 days a week), when my son was home he was driving a lot.  (Young and with a license to drive around the same 10 or so miles over and over.)  Now the car he drove sits in the driveway (and seems to be a favorite place for the birds to poop).  I fill up my tank maybe once a week.  Of course, I SHOULD drive "his" car on occasion and it DOES need new rims (or so he was told the last time his tire pressure was low), so...
  • Do I need to say what the biggest change is?  He's not here.  There are no hugs. (Not that there were many to begin with...they phase out much too quickly).  There's no conversation.  (Not that there was much conversation to begin with.)  There are daily texts, which are always too brief and lacking all the detail that I want, but am not going to ask for.  

It's difficult, but this is life.  He's out there thriving (I hope).  He's doing "his" thing and establishing his world.  While I do poke my nose in (too often I know), I am doing my best not to be too overbearing.  (I stopped texting in the morning; instead letting him text me when he is up and about...then I prod for more information.)

 Life is change.  Things have changed.  And that's the way it should be.


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