<em>Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at wkmorrow@ptialaska.net.</em>

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at wkmorrow@ptialaska.net.

Rolling through changes

I think my kids are going to come home to find it’s their parents who have changed.

  • Saturday, October 12, 2019 10:08pm
  • Life

My wife and I — recent empty-nesters — keep thinking about all the ways our kids are going to be different the next time they’re home.

But to be honest, I think my kids are going to come home to find it’s their parents who have changed.

My son is up at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for his freshman year of college — a time when young adults have the opportunity to redefine who they are and they become who they want to be.

My daughter is spending her junior year of high school as an exchange student to Austria. Certainly, we expect her to grow and change tremendously as she spends a year immersed in another culture.

I remember my first visit home from college. The house definitely had a different vibe, but I think that was mostly because my younger brother had gotten rid of the second bed in what had been our room. My choice was sharing a mattress on the floor with the dog, or a stage-prop coffin that had somehow ended up in his room.

If my parents had changed at all, as far as I could tell, it was that they were letting my younger siblings get away with everything I was never allowed to do.

With our kids both gone, my wife and I have become to focus of our own lives again. The dogs have been a major focus, too, but to be honest, our dogs have always been spoiled. For example, we recently ordered a new camping trailer. While it is laid out for just two people — no bunks for the kids — we did make sure we’d have plenty of room for the dogs.

Another thing that’s changed is our conversations. For example, the dinner conversation used to go something like this:

“What do you think the kids want for dinner?”

“I don’t know, whatever is fine with me.”

Now that conversation goes more like this:

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t know, whatever is fine with me.”

OK, so maybe our conversations haven’t changed that much. But for the first time in more than 18 years, we’re planning trips that involve just the two of us. I’ve been flipping through a guide book for an upcoming vacation, and for the first time in a long time, I don’t need to negotiate to go do the things I want to do. I’m wondering just how much more relaxed I’ll be when I don’t have to pry kids away from the wifi to go for a hike, or argue to get them out of bed before lunch time.

And without kids’ activities taking up so much of our time, my wife and I have found other things to do. Instead of booster club meetings, we now go to volunteer organization board meetings.

I wonder how the kids will react to their new and different parents. Will they notice how most of the piles of their clutter have disappeared from around the house? Will they want to talk about the things we talk about now, when they don’t revolve around what the kids are doing? Will they be a part of the new rhythm of our household, where we get up early and talk over a cup of coffee?

I still remember that awkward feeling from my first visit home, when I realized I no longer had my own bed. While our relationship with our kids will be different, I hope they never feel like visitors.

I do miss the kids, and I am looking forward to having them home.

I wonder what they’ll want for dinner?

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at wkmorrow@ptialaska.net.

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