I miss my kids. I really, truly do. I miss those little feet running up and down the hall. I miss the pancake breakfasts and the sweet maple kisses of thanks that came with them.
I miss snow days with my little ones; watching TV in our pajamas, baking cookies, sledding in the backyard. I miss those days.
On the other hand.
Snow days in the empty nest are actually pretty sweet in their own way. As part of my effort to come to terms with my life after mothering, I have been learning to embrace the little things in life.
I have learned that empty nesting snow days can be one of life’s unexpected little pleasures. But you have to be careful to make them all that they can be. There are certain rules that absolutely must be followed in order to experience the full pleasure of the day.
Rule number one: No matter what time you wake up, you must give a big sigh, pull the nice soft blankets back up over your shoulders and drift back to sleep. This is an indulgence that cannot be missed. (Note: this may require a preemptive run to the bathroom around 4 AM, but its worth it.)
Rule number two: After you lie around for a while and enjoy the realization that the sun is up and you aren’t, you have to get up and make a cup of your favorite coffee. Then you must sit someplace very comfortable (for example, your nice leather sofa) and drink the coffee very, very slowly. You have to taste each sip and appreciate its warmth as it slips down your throat. Every once in a while, you must say, “mmmmmmm” and mean it.
Rule number three: After you have thoroughly enjoyed your coffee, you have to choose your next activity. These choices should include at least three pleasures that you can’t usually enjoy on a work day. In my case, I had to decide between making a nice fluffy omelette, soaking in the hot tub or lying on the bed with a trashy novel. If you know me, you won’t be surprised to hear that I chose option A. And it was GOOOOOOD.
In the empty nest, your snow day stretches out in front of you with no interruptions. You can take a nap. You can bake a cake, or spend some time on your elliptical machine or clean out that closet in what used to be your son’s room.
You can make a fire, and pull out your knitting, and you can sit there for hours working on a blanket while you watch “Houston Animal Cops” on TV. No one will ask you to make them a sandwich. You can write letters to old friends without worrying that somebody will belt somebody and make you act as referee.
As the day begins to wind down, and darkness falls, you can mix up some delicious tropical drinks (I keep coconut rum on hand for emergencies just like these…you can’t be too careful, you know!) and set out some snacks and you and your spouse can enjoy a lovely happy hour together as dinner cooks. As an empty nester, you know that you won’t have to get up with a crying kid tonight. You won’t have to drive anywhere for at least 24 hours and if the power goes out, you’ll just snuggle under those blankets and wait for it to come back on.
I do miss my kids and those lovely Mommy days, really.
But you know what I’m thinking right now? Bring it on, Nemo!