Menopause Mondays: Living Naked and Free as Empty Nesters
The kids are gone! It’s time to get naked!
I know, it’s been awhile, right? You spent the last couple of decades staying respectably covered in front of your kids, having ridiculously silent sex, and making sure you had a bra on before any of your kids’ friends came over. If you forgot, you would never hear the end of their embarrassment.
We never stop being parents (so that doesn’t go away), but when our kids spring forth from the nest, we have our own chance to spring forth—from whatever is containing us! You can add anything you want to your life (or wardrobe). And walking around with a naked face or naked body is more than acceptable. If it feels good, do it! Plus, I doubt your significant other would mind!
My husband, David, and I have two children who are two years apart in age. So when our oldest, Sarah, left the nest, we still had our son, Jack, at home to keep us busy. But very soon, it was about time for him to leave, too. I spent his whole senior year of high school mourning his impending move out. I kept reminding David of all of the “lasts” in our lives: Our last time having Jack and all his buddies over for enormous quantities of homemade cookies, our last time wishing he would take a shower after shooting hoops for two hours, and our last time going to one of his band’s gigs in a Phoenix coffee house.
Soon no more kids (and their chatter!) would fill our house. And I was accustomed to a lot of both. On almost every Friday night during Jack’s high school years, it seemed he and his friends were at our house: eating, listening to music, and making plans for later in the night. The funny thing was that they never seemed to leave—unless it was to get even more food to bring back to our house. Teenage boys eat enormous amounts of food! What we saved on clothing (our daughter loves clothes just like her Mom) we way outspent on food for our son and his friends. I loved baking for them, though. My specialty was chocolate chip cookies.
The thought of that all being gone seemed lonely—and quiet!
But the date still came. It was time to take Jack to New York University where he would join his sister in building their own lives as adults. We moved him into his freshman dorm and, then, with tears dripping down my face, I kissed him goodbye. I sobbed most of the way back to Phoenix.
Then, it happened: We got home and realized our schedule didn’t need to revolve around anybody but us! Suddenly, it was as if David and I were dating again. We had the most amazing time during that first week as empty nesters. We could be naked when and where we wanted and make love in any room in the house without worrying about someone walking in on us.
By the end of the week, Jack called. “Mom, are you doing OK,” he asked. “Jack, Dad and I are having the time of our lives!,” I immediately chirped back. I sensed his shock. He figured I was sitting in a pool of tears that I started back in his dorm room. But soon he got over that (teenage boys don’t hold grudges for long!) and was so happy that David and I were going to be more than OK without him. We were both starting a new chapter of our lives. And they would be beautiful.
Whether it’s our kids moving out, our husbands losing their hair, or our fertility shutting down, it’s easy to see ends as final. But if we make an effort to look over, under, and around them, we can catch a glimpse of the beginnings that follow in their wake. So when a so-called ending comes your way, remember it’s really just the start of something new… or better yet, naked!
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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