Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Life Lessons Along the Way Part 1: Go with the flow

Once upon a time, I had an agenda every single day.  Without fail.  A lovely, strict schedule of what to do when.  It served me quite well and I enjoyed it.  I worked within its structured time slots with peace of mind and completed need-to-dos BECAUSE doing this left me with plenty of time for all those want-to-dos!  Every day of this self-imposed, agenda-run life served me quite well all the way through grad school.   And it continued serving me well until the day the first child arrived-a fact to which many new moms (and dads) can bear witness.  Indeed, January, 1985, was the beginning of the end of mine AND Hub’s personal agendas as well as our ‘couples’ agenda.  We found ourselves thrown under the bus under new management.  You would think that, coupled with this realization, would come easy readjustment.  You would be wrong.  We were just arrogant stupid na├»ve enough to think we could outwit our new little blessing.  We weren’t going to succumb blindly to this new set of circumstances. It was a hard lesson for us to learn.  However, 3 more daughters and years later- when they were all involved in their various activities outside the house, we threw up our hands and surrendered completely to GOING WITH THE FLOW (yes, we fought it that long).

First of all, from the moment we had the first child, it did become all about her.  It was time to put ourselves on hold for about 18 years (which we realized would be stretched into Godknowshowmanyyears with the arrival of each additional blessing) and focus on our precious little one.  And it really was about her…and then her sister…and then her other sister…and then one more sister.  We became so involved in their agendas we almost forgot that we ever HAD agendas of our own.  Nothing the darling four were ever involved in started on time.  NEVER.  Nothing ever ended on time either—especially BAND (thank you McGrew).  AND switching days was so commonplace that sticking with an original plan could have been easily seen as the exception rather than the rule.  But, things got done.  Games were played.  Performances were presented.  Practices were held.  Lessons were taught.  And we all learned to GO WITH THE FLOW.

I’m not talking about the kind of go with the flow that results in a negative—becoming lackadaisical, lazy, or disrespectful.  I mean the lessons learned that proved to be helpful on several fronts.  For example, we learned that spending time with others and making new friendships was worth the time.  We learned patience with one another and with others.  We learned that our way was our way and their way was their way and that that was ok.  We learned to slow down and smell those proverbial roses.  We learned to dance in the rain.  Together.  As a family.

And, now that the nest is empty, going with the flow is still active when there is something going on with the girls.  But it’s quickly losing its appeal.  We no longer  have to take anyone anywhere or be at very many events and Hubs and I are beginning to develop our own agendas again.  Interesting thing though— whether the focus is on home improvement, places to go, or sitting around watching television-- our individual agendas now are geared more towards a couple agenda.  At least up until the point where Hubs does something annoying (you know like talk during a movie and then ask, “What did he say?” Really?) at which point my personal agenda comes alive.  Seriously, I don’t recall him being that annoying before the nest emptied…or was I just too busy to notice?  Nevertheless, it is rather enjoyable just knowing that we CAN have personal AND couple agendas once again.

At least until grandchildren arrive. 


  1. You're in a beautiful time of life when you can enjoy each other without distractions. :)

  2. I can relate to this very well. When we were first married, it was him and me. Then it became all about the new baby - and poor hubby was sort of relegated to the background for a while. Fortunately, we live and grow and learn. The relationship that young couples form is so important, so worth nurturing, for some day it's going to be just you and him again...

  3. I've always found it amazing that some couples who couldn't get enough of each other when they were younger feel very different years later when the kids are finally gone and they don't have a job to go to everyday.

    Then it's like "Oh shit, it's just us. Now what?"

  4. As a new empty nester, I know exactly what you mean. Although I miss my kids and all the hubbub surrounding them, I'm also enjoying having free time & my husband all for myself again.

  5. As a new empty nester, I know exactly what you mean. I really miss the kids and all the hubbub surrounding them, but it's real nice having free time and my husband all to myself again.

  6. You've described parenthood very well! I'm a few steps ahead of you....going to grandkids soccer games, basketball games, cub scout suppers, etc.

  7. EG- yes, well...for the most part. LOL

    Cranberry- and it comes fast too!

    Michele- I was definitely the latter at first! LOL

    Kara- Once we get used to the quiet, it's kind of nice, isn't it?

    Eva- I don't think we'll be seeing any grands anytime soon. But when they come, I'm ready!

  8. I left an "award" for you on my blog!


    Have a wonderful Tuesday!

  9. Heartwarming, funny, witty, loving, and above all, ONE FANTASTIC read. I know, I went through this myself, only with two kids instead of four. But I do understand the empty nest, and I must 'fess up, I'm loving this part of our lives as I know you are...without the guilt of thinking your daughters come first. Of course they do if the need arises, but you two now have an agenda which is called life!! [oh and the talking in the movies? Dang, can I empathize with THAT statement.]

    I think I'm gonna have a familial post tomorrow now that I read yours. It was so good, and inspiring me.

  10. Make the most of all this precious time that you both have, before the grandchildren do come along!

  11. Michelle- Thank you for thinking of me!

    Anni- I'm so glad I helped to inspire you! Cannot wait to read your post! You are much too generous with your kind, encouraging comments. I love them! LOL Thanks!

  12. I think that time management is one thing that many people don't do well. They see all of those things as stuff to "get through" and they don't enjoy them. Until it is over and the kids are gone and they sit back wonder why they didn't enjoy it while they had it. Balance is tough. Carving out time for everything is really hard, but it sounds like you did it. And that thing about talking during a movie and then asking you what was said.... horribly annoying. What is wrong with men????

  13. This- we're trying...it's been interesting trying to figure it out!

    Robin- time management is not easy-but, once we relaxed and learned to go with the flow, life was much easier and fun! I don't know what's wrong with them...maybe they need a shot of estrogen? LOL

  14. I miss our children, but it is so nice when we get together! I love the quiet time now. We watch TV, he works on crossword puzzles and I am on the laptop.

  15. What a lovely post. I marvel at all the stages we pass through during this beautiful life.
    I am in the grandchild stage...no longer babies..growing up into teenagers. Our youngest is five but most are in the teen or preteen years. Games, concerts, dance competitions, swim meets..are all included in this stage. Next will be High school, College and marriages...the cycle continues!

  16. Love this post. I know exactly what you are talking about except we only had two children, you were definately busy with four! I remember when my sister told me how annoying her husband became after the nest was empty. We adjust to it again and I like the empty nest. Well our isn't empty for almost a year now but we still have our time which is wonderful.

  17. Tote- We have gotten to the point where we enjoy the quiet now too! It was a long time coming though.

    Shawn- I know what you mean about the stages--but they pass by so quickly!

    Debby- We are in our second year of empty nest and have really just started to appreciate it this year. However, DoodleBug might move back home for a month or two this summer to save money for rent in the fall!

  18. Since the nest emptied we have become much more tolerant of each other...oh no, I mean I've become much more tolerant of Hubby!
    Seriously it has become more tranquil in our house since the 'stinking one' left and Hubby doesn't feel threatened by a testosterone fuelled six foot son.

  19. The quiet seems hard to give up. Then the grandkids come and the peace is shattered. I love it but I'm happy they have a home to go to at the end of the day.

    Loved the talking in the movie part - happens around here all the time. Too funny!

  20. Carol- a friend and I have often wondered what it would be like to have three houses on a lake...one that she and I share, one for the hubbys to share, and one for the kids to stay in when they visit! LOL

    Stephanie-it's almost not worth watching a movie around here sometimes!

  21. Go with the flow has been my moto for years. Sometimes you just can't do anything else but go with it. Between 3 different daycare families, my own, my different sister, aging parents and my not empty nest the only way to go is with the flow.
    I love your post. Thank you for sharing.
    Take care my friend and have a blessed afternoon.

  22. You're so right about the moving toward coupledom once the kids leave home. My husband and I now do more of our "own thing" than ever, but our things are closer in line. One of the perks of making it through childrearing and not giving up on marriage along the way. One of the sweetest parts of that coupledom is grandparenting. You'll love it ... when your time comes, of course!


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