Your kids are grown up and have moved out. You're an empty nester. That four-bedroom, three-bath home suddenly seems very large. Should you move? Change how you use some rooms? What can empty nesters do with their homes when the kids move out?
How did I not know that my best years will always be when you were running through the grass to tell me about your day?
Get out of the nagging business. In college, it's up to the student to manage homework, to talk to the teacher and to keep their room. Let them know that you are available if they have questions, but that you will no longer be responsible.
I remember the house my mother died in at age 96. She had lived there for over 60 years, and it was a confusion of stuff -- wonderful souvenirs mixed in with tax returns from over 50 years ago and children's letters mixed with old receipts
Each time I think I've got a handle on this evolution of parenting, this transition in my role within my children's lives, and my new place in the world, I find another stumbling block; I catch myself swatting at imaginary boogie monsters.
Facing a major illness when my children barely know me suspends me in time. The prospect of a future freezes me in terror, for fear of the unknown. But an illness with so many question marks also makes me terrified to stay stationary, desperate to move on to a safer place.
About five years ago, I abruptly ended a 10 year relationship with a man I loved and trusted. Being 54 at the time made it that much harder as the prospect of finding someone else I was so compatible with at my age seemed grim at best.
I knew the honeymoon had to end sometime. But I was still shocked the day I realized my wife had become a sort of business partner in the enterprise that was our family. Careers, kids and endless logistics had squeezed out our passion.
One would think I'd be used to goodbyes by now. Or that I've somehow figured out how to prepare for the letdown. After all, The Spawn are all finished with college and it's been over six years since we've had a full time, live-in offspring.
To begin the parenting journey again at 45 and 49 was quite another matter. The paperwork was tedious and the waiting was agony but none of that compares to actually adjusting to having a new child in your family, when you're a couple that's a little set in their ways.
If only I'd known how little time I'd have with them. If only I'd known that it would be over even faster than it started. Just slow it down.
Our kids have grown into full-sized Homo Sapiens fully capable of feeding themselves. The time has come to let them do their own hunting and gathering.
How does one even begin to sum up 30 years in a 90-minute lunch? We began by catching each other up on the parents we had lost, husbands we had matured with, children we had launched and iterations of the career paths taken. The conversation then shifted and we began to reminisce.
I knew a lot would change when my youngest went off to college. I have enough friends older than me who have been through it, so I thought I was prepared.
What makes the fifties be so damn grievously discombobulating? Here are just a few possible discombobulating factors: