As homeschooling parents, you might think my husband and I would have a particularly hard time adjusting to a quiet house. But truth is, as our youngest graduates to legal manhood next week, we are enjoying stepping into this phase of life.
We’re turning off the TV. Especially in the winter when the days are dark and the wind howling, the path of least resistance is to put our feet up and grab the remote. When we realized we were getting into a rut, “no TV Tuesday” was born. The first go at it was not a total success. We sort of stared at each other, read a little bit, then stared at each other some more. By 10 pm we decided to watch the news as a reward for our evening of self-control. No telling how this will go when the Olympics are on.
We gave up on dance lessons. As our older friends settled into empty nests, many of them became enthusiastic dance class attendees. In anticipation of our daughter’s wedding, we gave it a shot. Turns out, the reason we haven’t been dancing for the past 30 years is because we are no good at it. We scratched that off the bucket list and are moving on.
We’re changing how we cook. It took me a while to catch on to this one. Then one day I realized there were gobs of spoiled leftovers in the fridge and expired cans in the pantry. We had gone from feeding five or more people (and as homeschoolers this means three meals a day), to two of us. Sometimes our high school senior sticks around for the evening meal, but not often. One thing we embraced with glee is that we can afford better quality food. Sorry kids, but now that you’re not here we have more fresh fruits and veggies, and fewer five dollar pizzas.
We’re re-learning intentional conversation. When the kids were young, we were not too proud to follow a script for family dinner discussions: What did you learn today? What was the best part of your day? What do you want to do next summer? Table talk for two requires even more effort. How was your day? is not usually enough to keep two people engaged for more than a minute or two. Tell me about your day, is sometimes adequate; but questions like, What was the best part of your day? create quality interaction with two as well they did with a passel of kids around the table.
We’re also discussing hobbies, but first need to clean out the basement.