Having children is a big decision and certainly not one which should be taken lightly.
It is exhausting because there are so many things we have to teach them (many times over in some cases) and so many dangers that we have to warn them about. Young children tend to look up to their parents as idols who know everything.
Perhaps they should be warned as early as they can possible understand, “listening to and believing what your Dad says can be hazardous to your self-confidence.”
As a matter of fact, I can remember suffering through this myself because no one warned me.
My father had a very ‘Dad’ sense of humor and usually gave very silly answers to our seemingly silly questions.
In one instance I got in trouble at school for repeating my father’s reason for why a traffic light is called a ‘traffic light.’ For some reason, the teacher didn’t believe that it’s because there’s a little elf with a lit lantern running up and down inside lighting up the appropriate colored glass – therefore, it being called a traffic light because there’s so much traffic inside. I was scolded accordingly.
Such was life for us as our father’s children.
This idolization of kids for their parents is quite normal because from a child’s ‘yearning to learn’ perspective, adults can seem like geniuses. Heavens, we can do maths in our heads, and read and write instantaneously.
Of course, those same children grow up to realize that most people are literate and can do basic arithmetic. We miss those days of being idolized by our kids.
When these darling children we have nurtured through numerous illnesses, crises and broken hearts do move out, it’s easy to feel rather lost without them.
It is an interesting and ironic reversal because for so long they were reliant upon us, and then we realized that our lives were so intertwined with theirs that we had no idea what to do with ourselves at first.
As liberating as it is to know we can now do just about anything without having to consider the kids first, there is definitely a void.
We have managed to find our own interests and activities to fill our time. My husband still works full time in aviation, and I’m a blogger with four blogs, and a genealogy researcher.
Here are a few things that you might consider if you’re at a loss for what to do with your new found freedom.
Learning a new language is an ambition for a lot of people, especially if they intend to spend some of their free time traveling. However, many of them never quite manage it, perhaps because they cannot find the time, or because their ambition is greater than their strength of will.
In any case, in the EU in 2013, 81.7% of primary school pupils (generally speaking that means children from the ages of five to twelve) were learning a second language.
If they can do it, you sure can.
There are apps such as Duolingo which can help, but you can also try to find local night school classes which are likely to be effective because to learn a new language, you need to actually speak it and be around others who speak it.
If your child is leaving home to study at university, why shouldn’t you work towards that degree you’ve always wanted to pursue?
There are lots of advantages and one is that you can earn more money if you’re a graduate.
You may be dissuaded because it can be rather expensive but there are cheaper options too, including studying online (check out http://online.maryville.edu/ for instance).
This allows you to do it from the comfort of your now peaceful house too.
Perhaps you could learn to play an instrument? As Nietzsche said ‘without music, life would be a mistake’.
As a genealogist, I see it as a great way to learn something new, fill time with a fun activity, and revisit our family’s historical roots – which in my case included Acadian fiddle music and step dancing. (Considering my advanced age and physical condition though, I think I’d have to skip the step dancing.)
Music helps keep your mind active and then, perhaps you could play an instrument instead of telling ‘Dad’ or ‘Mom’ jokes to torture your grown kids and grandkids.