Today is my daughter’s 19th birthday. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I will not see her on her birthday. I’m at work and she is out with her school friends. It’s the new world of being an empty nester. We will go out Saturday when she is home for spring break.
I thought I would write a little post about her and then do the same for my son on his birthday in June(I’m not playing favorites!).
My daughter had a difficult start. She broke her leg when she was a toddler(actually I broke it. It’s a story for another post). She fell out of a toy jeep and knocked a tooth out long before she should be losing teeth, She had a speech issue and had to go to hours of speech therapy to learn to talk. The speech issue meant she started school as a special ed kid and had to work harder on the language parts of school. She was fortunate to be redistricted to a new school after 2nd grade where she started fresh and didn’t have teachers and administrators who would expect less of her because of the special ed/speech therapy thing. I know that most teachers wouldn’t treat her differently, but all it takes is one bad one to make life difficult. The new start was good for her and she did well. She’s always been good academically and then was fortunate to find a good group of friends in middle and high school that helped her in the social part of life. The part I failed at in high school. She’s found a god group of college friends as well and did very well academically her first semester in college. I’m very proud of her.
She was the weird kid who always told me things, even when she had a bad grade in a class. She has the same weird sense of humor as me. She’s probably the only person on the family who actually thinks I’m funny. So far, she seems to still enjoy spending time with me. I’m hoping that won’t change.
It’s been a little sad not spending her birthday with her, but I’m happy about who she has become and the she is enjoying time in the city with her friends.
Today is the day. For the first time since 1996 we will have no kids living at home. We are loading the car this morning and moving our daughter in to her dorm. I’m not sure I’m ready for that drive back in an empty car. I’m hoping I can hold off on the crying until I am safely in the car so I don’t embarrass the rest of the family.
I’ve written a lot about the coming empty nest, so there’s not a whole lot left to say about the empty nest thing. It is time for m to figure out who I am in this phase of life. It’s time for my wife and I to figure out who we are as a couple in this phase of life. It’s time for me to figure out how to fill all of the empty hours that used to be time with my daughter.
I will miss having her at home to tolerate me being weird. I will miss having her at home to watch the dumb comedies with me. I will miss our Survivor nights on Wednesday nights. I will probably even miss the mess she leaves behind in every room she inhabits.
I’m sure it won’t take long for me to get used to the empty nest, but the next few weeks will not be easy.
This challenge comes on the morning that my son is heading back to school and my daughter is in the middle of high school midterms so what I miss is easy. I miss when my kid were little and not moved out and close to leaving. I miss the simpler times when school wasn’t stressful and I spent most of my time off outside with the kids. I miss playing catch in the backyard, playing basketball in the driveway, taking them to the playground and just spending so much time with them. I miss the early days of coaching baseball before other adults sucked the joy out of the game. I miss winters at the gym watching and coaching basketball. I miss the drive to gymnastics with Jessica and waving at her when she walked past during class. I miss the dance studio and being a part of the recitals in the dad’s dance(or I will miss dad’s dance when it happens this year). I miss snow days when we couldn’t wait to go out and play in the snow. I miss Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. I miss my little kids, but I love my young adults. Now I need to stop typing so I can go somewhere to cry.