Here we are, just past the half-year mark without any referees, wardens, or ADHD pushers, a.k.a., children, underfoot. For 13 years we all lived under the same roof, and that was plenty, I mean, perfect. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. No more questions, please.
The important thing is that we’re here. Alone. We’re alive and able to tell the story of how this 2/3 of a Brady Bunch beat the odds. See, odds are that over 70% of second marriages end in divorce. That’s a fact. And the divorce rate for third marriages is even higher than second marriages, so we’re gonna let our hand ride, right here. We’re intact, living the dream, and all the blood, sweat and tears have been worth it. The Brady Bunch doesn’t quite do our experience justice, but it’s close enough. All told, we’re probably a little more aligned with Modern Family, and maybe even M.A.S.H., considering our fair share of triage centers in virtually every room of our house at one time or another.
Leading up to our empty nesticular status, I often wondered what it would be like. What would bring me the greatest pleasure? Would it be lounging with a book by the pool, able to get through an entire paragraph without interruption? Or would I most enjoy cooking dinner without fear of a swarm of miniature Washington Post reporters hollering probing questions that I had no answers for, such as “When!?” “What!?” “WHY!?”
I’m happy to report that both of those scenarios have come true. But it’s the things I didn’t see coming that I’ve most enjoyed. For example, I’ve enjoyed no longer feeling like Perry Mason in fuzzy pink slippers, sniffing for clues and riding that thin line between solving mysteries and tricking siblings to rat each other out (Do you know how hard it is to invent reasons why you might have a piece of information that was heretofore only known by one, maybe two of a child’s siblings? Let’s just say it is rocket science.)
The main reason I’m no longer solving mysteries is because there are none! For example, “The Case of the Orange Juice Carton with One Drop Left” isn’t a case at all. Not even I need a process of elimination for that.
Other cases I won’t need to solve include:
“The Case of Who Ate All the Cookies?”
“The Case of Who Left the Toilet Seat Up?”
“The Case of Who Drank all the Beer?”
To be fair, it works both ways. I’m sure if my husband had a voice in this blog, which he doesn’t, he’d probably be able to provide a list of cases that wouldn’t exactly require a forensics team to figure out, such as:
“The Case of Who Left the Bathroom Light on?”
“The Case of Who Left the Bathroom Light on Again?”
“The Case of Who Left the Goddamn Bathroom Light on for Chrissakes?”
The beauty of living without children is that all the time saved not solving mysteries can be applied to other activities. What’s left for us now is plenty of time to do a few things we had only been able to sneak in when conditions were right and everyone was perfectly situated, like day drinking.
We’re also actively trying to resume our exercise regimens. I’m trying to do more yoga. My husband is trying to run more often. We’ve also come up with a list of nifty challenges, like the ones choking our Facebook feed. But ours aren’t exactly like the “30-day Booty Reset Challenge” or “30-day Juice Cleanse.” We invent our own, and they dovetail perfectly with having no kids around. Here are some examples:
- “30-Minute Cussing Challenge” (No cussing for 30 minutes. It’s harder than it fucking sounds.)
- “3-Day No Cooking Challenge” (How far can leftovers be stretched? Find out this weekend!)
- “24-hour Drinking Challenge” (Is that drinking FOR 24 hours, or NOT drinking for 24 hours? It’s up to us!)
In the words of some wise person whose kids had all moved out, so much time, and so many things to do.