181: Love when Kids Begin to Leave Home Behind

by | Feb 25, 2021 | Mama Thursday | 0 comments

Welcome, Mamma Crew, to another chaotic, exciting, but always beautiful day of an older mom like you!

The first thing that I had to come to terms with before I could give my husband any attention was that my children are very independent. That was kind of a hard pill to swallow. It’s not that I don’t want my children to be independent. Of course, I do. But it was hard that they didn’t need me the way they used to. 

The first couple of days that we were in our Caribbean home, I’ve fluctuated between being depressed because the kids didn’t need me as much anymore and being depressed because we have this ginormous home, and it was empty! My husband was in a full social mode because, well, that’s my husband. He’s a social butterfly. And he was excited about spending time with his friends, even if it required social distancing, outdoors and at six feet of distance. I mean, he was excited about that! 

In the meantime, I was being traumatized because my children (how dare they?!) were being self-sufficient. So it was a very emotional conflict. I was proud of them, but at the same time, I was lost, lost without them needing me. And my husband wasn’t really around cause, well, he was being his social butterfly self. Right? 

As I was trying to find my footing, I was once again asking myself the question, “What is love in middle age? Is this what it’s going to be like?” 

I’m an introvert. My husband’s an extrovert. The kids are not home. He’s going to go off and do his social butterflying, and what am I going to do? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to handle love after kids? 

So after that initial, traumatic few days in which I wondered if our marriage was gonna survive because, of course, I was being a drama queen. There’s nothing wrong with our marriage. There isn’t. I was just being melodramatic. I realized that it’s retrospective, and I can make fun of myself. 

But at that point, I was thinking, “Are we gonna get a divorce? What the hell are we gonna do with each other?” 

And then something interesting happened—one of the things that I always hated when I socialized with my husband is that he loves the big groups. Right? But this time, when I said I don’t want to socialize in a big group, he actually listened. He did. He listened. So, the groups got smaller. I think the largest social gathering we had was about fifteen people. Before you say fifteen people is a big group, for my husband, that’s a drop in the bucket. We’ve had parties where we have two-, three-, four hundred people in our home. I don’t even know one-tenth of them, more than to say hello. But my husband does, and he’s delighted in that situation. 

I’m completely stressed out and bored because I just can’t do small talk. I don’t get small talk. To me, small talk is a precursor to getting to actually know the person. But I realized that’s really not accurate. Small talk is just small talk. 

So, we started socializing in small groups. As I said, fifteen was the biggest group, and a group of four, myself and my husband included, was the smallest group that we spent any time with. And we had fun. We had fun because my husband was happy in his social nirvana. I wasn’t stressed out by hundreds of people whose names I can never remember, who I only know in passing.  Struggling to remember their names or figure out what to talk about. I actually got to not be so stressed. 

And I just had recently read a book by Larry King—How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. The Secrets of Good Communication. Man, I can’t believe he died. But he did have some excellent tips in here. It made the small talk a lot easier. And it was also interesting because in using some of the techniques that he suggested, I actually got to know some of these people a little bit better.  So much so to the point where I could become comfortable in the small talk venue.  

One of the Most Memorable Days of My Life!

After being in these gatherings and connecting with these people and actually making… I don’t know… See? I was having a problem saying that I’ve made new friends because I feel like until you’ve had a good fight with somebody and come out the other side, they’re not really your friends. They’re just acquaintances. But I met some really lovely people (how’s that?). I met some really nice people I wouldn’t mind getting to know further.  And I’ve met a couple of people that I’m actually interested in getting to know on a deeper level.

The interesting part was my husband was truly happy about this. He was so happy that I had been relaxed, that I had enjoyed some of his friends’ company, that he just kind of sparkled and shone like a butterfly. It made me happy to see him that happy. No, I don’t think it’s strange that I was happy that he was happy. Still, it was definitely odd for me to be comfortable in a social setting and to feel happy for him in that social setting instead of feeling stressed out and on the verge of hyperventilating. 

And it made me go back to the beginning of our relationship. Not the meeting. You already heard about our meeting and the strange circumstances that led to our meeting. But about that time before the kids. Those moments made us think that we would have a successful marriage after knowing each other less than six months.

We had an… easiness about our relationship. It wasn’t the commonalities that made our relationship strong. It was the differences that made us strong. We have different interests, perspectives and that we enjoyed sharing them with one another. That’s what made us good. That’s what made us happy. 

I’m definitely not the kind of person who could spend 24/7 with their husband, significant other, or whatever. It would drive me bonkers, okay? I’m an introvert, and I need my space, and I need my alone time, and I need to be able to recharge. If I was married to somebody who wanted to be with me 24/7, I would end up in the six o’clock news, either because I killed that person or killed myself. I just couldn’t do it. It’s too draining. It’s too depressing!

And for the first time in a long time, my husband didn’t feel guilty when I said, “Go do your own thing. I want to do my thing.” In this case, I was sewing doggy dresses, but that’s another story for another time. Lately, I’ve gotten weird. I’m turning into that old, weird lady with the little doggies, dresses them up, and soon the pram. But you know, what can I tell you? It makes me happy. 

So, we were happy separately, and we were happy when we’re together. And I realized that’s why I fell in love with him in the first place because he was the first man in my life that could do that. That was comfortable with the fact that I didn’t want him with me all of the time. My two other serious relationships were not like that. They were always trying to change it, to fix it. My husband doesn’t do that. In fact, now when he walks into a room when I’m venting, and he’ll say, “Do you want me to help you solve the problem, or you just wanna vent?” 

And ninety-nine point nine, nine, nine, nine, nine, nine percent of the time, I just want to vent. I like that. I like that we’re independent of each other. Also, I began to realize that we do connect on a different level. There are some things that we really enjoy doing together. 

We do enjoy golfing together. I don’t enjoy golfing as much as my husband does, but I enjoy golfing with him. And to be frank with you, it always makes me laugh my ass off when he complains that I don’t know the golfing rules cause I’ve never had enough time to learn how to golf properly. I get to whack something really hard, and it’s socially acceptable. And at the same time, I get to laugh at my husband, who is going crazy because I’m not doing things the “proper way.” 

And we also really enjoy long drives. We enjoy going to weird restaurants. We enjoy trying different things that we really hadn’t done.  Because, well, when the kids were young, it was hard for them to be in the car long. And now that we have three teenagers, they don’t really want to do that. They want to be with their friends or talking to their friends, or complaining about their friends. So, we reconnected on that level too, and that was really nice. 

And we did something really completely amazing! Unbelievable! That we haven’t done, oh my God, since I got pregnant. We actually sat outside on our lounge chairs before the pool, and we watched the sunset. We were out there for about three hours. And it made me remember when we got to Kauai because we got married in Hawaii. We got married on one of the islands, Kauai. It’s a beautiful island. 

Anyhow, I remember him waking me up very early in the morning and going, “Angie! You have got to see this. There is no more beautiful sunrise than the one in Hawaii.” 

And I was like, “Michael! I don’t give a shit. I don’t wanna get up this early!” This was when we realized I think we are going to be a sunsets couple, not sunrises. 

So, we spent three hours out there, and I drank alcohol-free wine cause I have gastritis. I can’t drink wine anymore. (That’s a little bit depressing, but the alcohol-free wine’s actually really good. You should try it out. It’s called “FRE wine.”) 

So, I loved it, and I just sat out there. And you know what else was amazing? We didn’t talk about the kids. Not for three hours! I can’t remember the last time we did that. We talked about what we are going to do when the kids leave home. 

Now before you say, “You were talking about the kids.” 

No. It was, “Hmmm… What are we gonna do with ourselves?” 

And I was like, well, you know, I’m really enjoying the blogging thing, and I’m really learning about SEO.  My husband was talking about his new projects.  We were actually both sharing. He was listening about the stupid book that I was reading, and I call it stupid because it was one of the lamest books I’ve ever read. I was reading it for a book club, so I needed to finish it because, well, otherwise, I couldn’t talk about it. 

We had that opportunity just to remember what we were like just for a little bit before we had kids. And it made me realize I could be happy with this guy. Even after sixteen years of marriage, where there have been blahs, and there have been “I’m-going-to-kill-you” moments, and there have been “I-never-want-to-see-you” moments, and “Oh my God! Why did we ever have children?” 

Cause let’s face it. No matter how much you love your children, there will be those moments, after sixteen years of moments like that—ups and downs and valleys.  I looked at him, and I thought I could really be happy with this man for the rest of my life. And it made me think about our wedding day.

So, he was not the first man to ever proposed to me. He was not the first man that I was supposed to get married to. I could just never make it past that hurdle. I couldn’t. And here we went to Kauai, which is one of the smaller islands in the Hawaii chain. And the day of the wedding, I started to panic. Literally, I was hyperventilating. 

I was thinking, “What makes me think that I can be married to someone for the rest of my life? I’m really independent. I don’t really like anybody telling me what to do and how to do it.  And I hate compromise.  And marriage is a compromise! What makes me think that I want to do this? I don’t want to do this! Okay, so it’s the day of my wedding!  It wouldn’t be the first time I backed out.  I have other wedding dresses.  I’m not obligated to go through with this.”

And, of course, my mother was there telling me, “You really shouldn’t go through with this.” That was my mother, always, “You don’t really need to be married. Don’t get married.”

So, here we are, and he realizes I’m panicking. I’m getting ready to run. And he took me for ice cream—to the other side of the island. And it was nice. It was nice to know that for the first time ever, a man knew what to do when I was panicking.  It was not to try to solve my problem, not to try to talk me into something, but to give me space to breathe, allow me to relax. 

So, here I am, eating this huge ice cream cone, calming down, thinking, “Okay. I can do this. I do love him. Look at those beautiful blue eyes. Yeah, those are the best eyes I’ve ever looked into.” Thinking it was going to be okay. 

So we go, and we get married, with my mother complaining that it wasn’t a real wedding because we were getting married on Shipwreck Beach.  Frankly, I was wondering, “Is it a good idea to get married on a beach that’s called a ‘Shipwreck’?” 

It was just surreal.  The pastor blessed my womb.  He talked about us having children.  I had been told I was never able to have children by two separate fertility experts! 

And my husband talked me into running, literally running! Leaping over a stone wall in my wedding gown so that he could take pictures of me when the sun was coming down.  Of course, he did ruin them the following day cause he did something to the chip, and ugh! Thank God for my mother and my cousin who went to my wedding and took lots of pictures. Otherwise, I would only have one or two pictures of my wedding.  

I’m So Excited to Spend the Rest of My Life with This Marvelous Man!

So, in those three hours, when I was sitting in those lounge chairs overlooking the beautiful Caribbean sunset, I thought about our wedding day.  It was kind of like the setup for our marriage. You know, it was good. It was a good beginning. And love in middle age is also good. And love, when we’re elderly, will also be good. Because even though we don’t always realize it, we are connected and not just by our children. And I think that’s easy to forget when you have four kids. Sometimes when you have one kid, it’s easy to forget there’s so much going on in our everyday lives.

So, do Ehamorny marriages work? Well, mine has! Sixteen years and counting! 

So, what are we going to do when the kids leave home? Well, we’re going to find out what empty-nesters do for fun. Frankly, I’m probably going to be making dresses for my stupid dog that I love, who looks ridiculous in them, and I will make fun of my dog and myself. I’m going to be writing and reading, and I’m going to be dangling in this entrepreneur world cause I really find it fascinating, especially the SEO component. I’m really getting into that. And what else do I want to do? Golf more. I want to find out if pickleball is something I want to do. 

As for what I want to do with my husband? I wanted to do more cruises, more drives, more golfing, more making fun of him, more being mad when he makes fun of me. Life is not fair, neither am I. More reconnecting, more getting-to-know-each-other, more spending time with each other.  I’m even looking forward more to socializing with him. It’s been fun. Those three weeks were a lot of fun. Just like it was fun to come back to my four kiddos.

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Remember, if you share an imperfect journey to motherhood, welcome to our crew! Till next time! Enjoy and embrace the joy of imperfection. Toodles!

 

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Dr B.

I began my journey into motherhood at the age of 40 when I became a mother of twins! Today I am a mother of 4! Being an older mom might be a growing trend, but we are still a minority with our own unique blessings and challenges. Join me in this journey! To contact me directly, email me at oldermoms@entrepreneurialdreamers.com