When the cats are away do the mice really play?

One of the benefits of empty nest living is the actual empty nest. No kids or friends of kids hanging out. In my case it’s just me and my hubby. And boy have we talked about all the fun we are going to have now that the kids are out of the house. Now that sports and high school activities don’t dictate our schedules, especially on the weekends, we are going to live it up like the “before kids” days. After all, it’s been 20 years of family time and now it’s time for just the two of us…

After one of these pep talk discussions about the benefits of a kid-free household, hubby comes home and proudly lands a big bag on the kitchen counter with a resounding “THWUMP”. With a grin that would put the Cheshire cat to shame, he explains he has made a purchase that will reignite the fire, shall we say, and pulls a big bottle out of the bag.

With hopes that it is my favorite wine in a magnum size bottle I am a bit deflated when I see the actual contents of the bag. It is what appears to be a Costco size clear bottle of refill hand soap. “No, no” hubby shakes his head dismayed, “it’s massage oil” then cracks a huge grin and nods his head up and down.

I exclaim I am pretty sure we have something like that already in our bathroom cabinet and proceed to prove my claim. And yes, there in the way, way back in a crumpled brown paper bag is a bottle of scented peach massage oil (albeit a bit discolored looking with a clotted layer of dust). Under the bottle is some weird dead thing that is stuck. It appears to be what was once a group of little feathers bound by a handle. This tickler was now quite lifeless, squished beyond recognition. And unfortunately the years in hibernation had not been kind to the massage oil either. Upon opening the bottle there was not the expected peach scent but rather a malodorous aroma of old fruit that was surely already calling out to those pesky little gnats that appear out of nowhere once your fruit has gone bad.

“O.K.” I concede to hubby. “Good purchase and we will plan a little massage fun for the weekend.”

“What’s there to plan?” says hubby. “Let’s get this massage going now.” These thoughts are surely formed by his typical male brain that puts forth a never ending message of “It’s free, feels good, let’s do it now”.

I on the other hand need to be “ in the mood” – which really means that I need to not feel tired, or grumpy or bad about various body parts that have changed over the years and it may be of help to have just watched a “Magic Mike” movie.

“I want to plan some things.” I say. And with that I am off to my closet in search of some items of wardrobes past – during those good ole days before kids. And yes, there in the way, way back in a crumpled brown paper bag are pieces of lingerie (yikes, some are actually 20 + years old) like old trophies I can’t manage to throw away. As if I need them as a reminder that I too was once able to fit in a sexy, slinky, silky, lacey, camisole top and “tap” pants from Victoria Secret circa 1990. And under this pile of what will never ever be worn again in my lifetime frilly under garments, I spy a book.

Holy moly. I have hit the motherlode -a book we got as a wedding shower gift- that promises 192 pages of a guide to fulfillment, complete with photos! I had no doubt hidden this gem from my children in a place I knew they would never look. And I in turn had forgotten all about it. But upon scanning the pages, I was dismayed to see almost every suggestion leading to the road to bliss involved having good knees, a flexible back and a strong athletic prowess. Sigh, those things were long gone…

Well what’s a woman to do? I realized then “to hell with the stuff of my youth.” I was never going to be that young woman again. I was now a product of 20 years of motherhood and 23 years of marriage. I am what I am. And really what’s the use in lamenting the years gone by?

Not that I don’t ever wish for pain-free joints and the ability to look good in my birthday suit. I just want to embrace my life for what it is now. This whole empty nest thing affords me the ability to spend quality time with my hubby and get reacquainted. And what I need in order to do this is not found in a crumpled paper bag filled with youthful goodies. Instead it is found within me, and it is the plain simple fact that I know we are oh so lucky to be in this position – to be alive and well and to have each other through the empty nest years.

So Carpe Diem empty-nesters!

Cue music Marvin… “Let’s get it on”….

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