12 August 2019

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: The (semi) Empty Nest

Empty-nesting is a long, arduous process.  I don’t think it ever ends, but it continues to be a learning experience.

I ended up in the position of needing to buy a house, and I was –picky-.  By this time it was just me and my baby (Thing 4 was in high school then, the youngest, the biggest, stubborn enough to match his oldest brother…), but I shopped well – and I hate shopping.  I did my searches online (sorry, Marshall) by price, area, school district…  Then I’d go on Google Earth to check out the neighborhood before driving out to see it.  

This house, now our home, was purchased with a carefully planned empty-nest.  It was big enough for me and Thing 4 to be comfortable without butting heads, in the right school district and small enough that none of the kids’ could move home for an extended time comfortably.

Hind-sight is always 20/20.

Thing 3 lived at home just long enough to turn 18 and be required (a minimal) rent.  So he moved out and my husband and I –finally- moved in full time.  That’s when it finally became “home.”

It took a while to finally move in and get settled, but wouldn’t you know it, another Thing moved in for a while (like, a year while).  Still miss him being here – no fuss, no muss, just happy.  Probably happy because the rent was minimal, the food was good, he had Mama to help with his laundry and leave candy on his pillow the 1 time a week I opened the door to vacuum and dust.  

We’ve had kids come and go on a regular basis.  Each time someone moves our garage and storage building gets full and we become the free family storage unit that we’re –still- trying to sort out.

Therein lies the problem.  Now we WANT them to come home to visit – just a VISIT, but they come with baggage.  My husband and I have 6 kids between us, 6 grandchildren (2 more on the way).  Baggage being friends (with spouses more often than not), children, loads of dirty laundry, good meals provided, hot showers (kind-of – don’t take a shower –after- Thing 3).. I’ve had home packed from wall to wall with bodies.  Marines.  Stack ‘em in like cord-wood and bring it on!  It’s home to many, but some house rules still remain:

Do not fart in my kitchen.  I CAN still spank you, and I don’t care what your rank is.
You can choose your own friends, but I get to choose who is welcome at our home. 
Don’t touch my chocolate.

Last but not least:

 You’ve got a key to the house, or know where one is.  Use it wisely – call first or bang on the door LOUD to give us notice you’re home.  Otherwise you might be subjected to “old folks running around naked.”  You just can’t un-see that.

- Bess Tuggle