Woweeeeeeee. An empty nest! We have finally arrived, I told myself one day. It had been three months. All three kids were on their own. Well, at least they were out of the house. I didn't have stinking tennis shoes laying around, beds unmade, tons of laundry, and dirty dishes everywhere. I recently finished my graduate studies, as far as I decided to go, with my Masters of Arts Degree. And I was waiting employment in a new college prep, private high school that was being built up the road, in Barton Creek Estates. I interviewed first, was hired by the new principal and was able to help lay the ground work and get it organized. It was an exciting time for me.
In my recent studies at U.T. we read about the empty nest syndrome in the Marriage and Family Class. At the time the popular myth was that women often had depressions or nervous breakdowns when their last child left home. Supposedly, women with no children at home to care for felt worthless, lonely, and unneeded for the maternal life they felt they were totally created for. Poof! In our sociology studies we found that the majority of women were quite satisfied, if not downright happy to finally be on their own with only their husbands to seek comfort with. Some found this time to start a new life and career. In our studies we also found that women often were at their peek, for intimacy and affection when this time arrived. So, how could my husband and I celebrate our new discovered time together?
I know, I said one day, "The Green Garden Patio Shop is having a sale on hot tubs. We can cut a hole in our deck and drop it in, right out of our patio door from our bedroom." I pictured the moonlight nights in our quiet time, snuggled up together, whipped around by swirling water in our whirlpool tub.
Husband said, "That will cost several thousands dollars."
"But Honey, think about the sore back you have when you come in from work. You'll get physical therapy from the water and it will help relieve your pain." Finally, I hit a sensitive nerve that he related to.
With a smile on his face he said, "I'll look into getting a remodeling house loan. We need to fix up the house some with paint, new carpet, and our air conditioning needs to be replaced, so we can throw in a hot tub, as well."
"Yea, I said. My bones seem to ache more and I think it will be good for both of us. I've heard some people say you can get your doctor to write a prescription for a hot tub for physical therapy and you won't need to pay taxes on it."
"Well, I don't know about that. But we'll look into it."
Three weeks later the hot tub arrived. The delivery men dropped it in the deck and it sat right outside the bedroom's sliding glass door. Neato. We turned it on, jumped into our swimming suits and slid into the tub.
"Ouchee," I said. "This is too hot."
"Nonsense", my husband replied, "This is perfect". With a smile on his face, he leaned back, closed his eyes and disappeared in a dreaming trance and a look of delight on his face. I knew right away this was his idea of having a good time.
"I can't stand this heat," I shot back at him.
I had to admit to myself that lately I had sudden bursts of heating spells and this didn't feel good at all. And I possibly was having one then. It just wasn't what I imagined. My body temperature had been changing lately. Someone said it could be peri something. But I thought it was stress from the guilt that I felt for not missing all my children in their nest.
Husband said, "You'll get use to it. I'll turn down the thermostat or for that matter, I'll turn off the heat and it will stay hot for awhile and then cool down for you."
"Good, that will work," I answered. We had learned to compromise over the years. And it made for a happier marriage.I began to again visualize romantic evenings with just us.
The telephone rang and it was Dwayne. He told us he had received a new bottle of wine and wanted to bring his wife and come test our hot tub.
"I've heard that people have hot tub parties," I said, after I hung up.
"I'm not up to that kind of partying. But I know Dwayne and his wife are clean and I don't have a problem with them. I don't mind if they join us." hubby answered.
Thirty minutes later our friends joined us in the tub. We laughed and finished the bottle of wine and started in on the second. I turned up the stereo in the living room and opened the door. The phone rang. Junior was in the neighborhood and he wanted to stop by with his new girlfriend and see our new hot tub.
A few minutes later Walter Jr. came in with Caty. She was a well dressed French student who was studying at St. Edwards.
Walter Junior says, "Caty, have you ever been in a hot tub?"
And she answered negatively.
"Oh good," Walter said, "We'll be over tomorrow evening after school and try it out."
As our guests were leaving, the phone rang. It was Susi, our oldest child. She said she lost her job and asked if she and Ashley, her dog could come stay in our extra bedroom until she found another job.
Suddenly, I sobered up after my three glasses of wine and realized that my "empty nest" was not going to stay empty long. I could see days ahead when I would be entertaining visitors more often. And more than likely it would be family, as well as friends.
At the end of the evening my husband said, "I thought I would drain the tub and refill it in the morning, but now I've decided to wait until after the kids use the tub tomorrow night."
"Good idea," I said.
I wondered then and wondered many times later if mothers ever have "empty nests." But I knew for certain that they eventually have hot flashes and if they are lucky they have a hot tub to retreat to and they can always turn off the heater.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? DO WOMEN EVER HAVE EMPTY NESTS? WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE?