I’m not sure if it’s a thing or not but this summer there has been a notable shift in our nest. With the youngest off to high school this year and his older brother due to finish at the of the year, a different kind of future is taking shape.
The eldest has his drivers licence so is often out and about while the youngest is often at friends’ places/sports practices. This is all totally normal of course – teenagers don’t tend to want to hang out with their parents.
There have been times this summer where the house has felt oddly empty. When the chores are done, tea sorted and the calendar bare. Initially, I decided to throw this new found freedom into writing but found it hard to buckle down after a busy year teaching – plus some problematic character arcs have me stumped for now.
Suddenly, I can do whatever I want for entire afternoons. And while it’s been somewhat of a revelation, at times I’m desperate to wind back the clock to when summer meant doing stuff with the kids. Making boats in the creek, surfing and boogie boarding, picnics in the park, water fights and bear hunts.
It’s a real period of adjustment and I know my husband is feeling it too. There are 20 years between my eldest stepdaughter and our youngest son. That’s a lot of years putting other people first. And although we wouldn’t change it for the world, I’m acutely aware that it’s up to us how to fill this next chapter.
Slowly we adjust to the new rhythms of our household. It still feels weird to head to the beach with my friends for a swim or board without the kids, or to practise yoga uninterrupted.
It’s all a bit surreal at the moment. I can see life getting simpler in some ways – less juggling, less rushing, less noise. So for now, we make the most of the moments they still need our help, family meals and early morning sports drop offs. Laugh as music erupts on the street outside announcing the impending arrival of the eldest in his wee car or the basketball thwacking loudly against the kitchen window as the youngest channels LeBron James in the driveway.
We’ll fill the spaces over time. The big thing is they know wherever they live, and whatever they do in the future, we’ll always be available for them – even if it is from a beach in Bali!