The Empty Nesters

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life32 Comments


We have had a vision of the future.

The future where children do not live at your home. Where they are out in the world, supporting themselves, living life to the fullest, and technically not on your dime.

We have seen a vision where the television is only on for a reason. Where the music and wine flow. Where lunches are not packed and dinners can consist of simply one entree, and not three to accommodate picky eaters and vegetarians.

We have had a glimpse into the empty nest, and it might not be as awful as we'd initially imagined.

Okay, so the kids are only away for a week on school trips—Aidan just four days—but we figured that this is the first time since 1996 where he and I have been in the house for more than one night without one or the other child here with us.

There have been moments during the past few years where I could not remotely fathom the idea of not living with my children. I like them an awful lot, you see. But the past few days have shown me that thanks to working on my marriage, I remember how much I enjoy just hanging with Dan Zielske and I realize that one day, if we are fortunate to live long and prosper, it will just be the two of us here together again.

As it was back in the day. And apparently it won't totally suck.

I've got no interest, however, in wishing away the time. Let me very clear on that.

But it's nice to know that with four days to ourselves, we realize that two people in this equation still work pretty dang well.




Cathy ZielskeThe Empty Nesters

32 Comments on “The Empty Nesters”

  1. #1
    Karen d

    Yes, empty nesting has a lot of good moments. I love hanging out with my hubby. Yes, you will always miss your kids. But, they do visit! Have a wonderful day.

  2. #2

    Our nest emptied out about 8 years ago (from August to May when they returned from college) and I can still remember that day when my husband and I were out for a walk and I though, “Oh my, it is just us now. I hope we still like each other!” I am happy to say that we have had a great time over the last 8 years, figuring out how to be us as two instead of us as four. We love when they come around to visit but we like it when they go home too 🙂

  3. #3
    Peggy M

    empty nesting is when you get to do the things that brought you together again & enjoy each other’s company again…

  4. #4

    My nest is not full yet so I can’t totally fathom it, nor do I want to yet. LOL But so glad that you are enjoying the view of the future. 🙂

  5. #5
    Janet White

    Don’t you just LOVE it when you realize that you honestly enjoy hanging out with your hubby? That you married someone you just enjoy?

    It never grows old for me.

  6. #6

    You have to go through the “revolving door era” first! That is when they leave for awhile and then return. It is actually a good way to get used to them gone. Enjoy your time!!

  7. #7

    my hubby and I are starting our second year of empty nesting. having him, my best friend, has made this sometimes difficult for me transition bearable. it’s every bit a blessing. cheers to you and your husband.

  8. #10

    I miss and love my kids, but when they left the nest and we watched them begin successful lives it was almost like the love and pride experienced when they were born. My hubby and I began what we call our 2nd honeymoon and its still going strong. Pure awesomeness!

  9. #12
    Mary Jo

    This made me smile.
    I mean my youngest is in Kindergarten and my oldest is only ten, so I have a ways to go.
    But man it’s going fast!
    Last year dh and I took a little anniversary trip and let’s just say I did not feel one bit guilty about having that time to reconnect 🙂

  10. #13

    with a hubs that cute, who wouldn’t be happy about the prospect of a little time alone! Yay, CZ!

  11. #14
    Lindsay Moreno

    good for you! Myself, I have 2 3-year-olds and a 1-year-old. I can’t even see the light at the end of our tunnel. I hope my hubs and I will be looking forward to some time alone and still love each other enough to want to do it together when the time comes. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

  12. #15

    My hubby and i have been married 24 years, and we are having a taste of the empty nester syndrome, what with the son travelling 2.5 hrs every second week to visit his girlfriend and the daughter at work.

    There are lots of Saturday nights we sat and looked at each other wondering what on earth we would do with ourselves!

    Im happy to say we have begun to reconnect. We spend time at the gym together. We go to two classes a week and leave the kids home (they re 19 and nearly 17). Giving them a taste of their own medicine:)

    Truly i think im going to like it….especially when they come to visit:)

    Thanks for the post.

    Well done you twoxxx Its worth working it out we found:)

  13. #17
    Liz, Melb, Australia

    Amen to that! We get glimpses of the empty nest and it’s exciting but, like you, I’m not quite ready. I think of the glimpses as prompts, hints that change is a’coming! Love it!

  14. #18

    That is my reality now! Our youngest and last child left the nest two weeks ago to go to a different country to study. What I feel? I don’t know yet. I love my husband and we have had 35 great years together this far, but… Let’s see what happens.

    Thanks for sharing! I so enjoy reading your blog and your style of getting real! 🙂

  15. #19
    Karyn S

    Thanks Cathy for all the candid honesty you’ve shown through this whole process of working on your marriage. I’m thrilled for you that you can see a life without your kids – just the two of you again – that’s happy & something to look forward to.

  16. #21

    Icall it the Sweet Spot – kids off the family payroll, our mothers are healthy, we’re healthy. My husband calls it “clothing optional.” 😉 Lots of fun to just be! It does go too fast, enjoy!

  17. #22

    Hello. I really enjoy reading your blog. I have one daughter who is 24 years old. She just moved to Spain to be with her boyfriend and study to get a Master degree (we live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada). When people ask me if this is difficult, I tell them that I choose to be happy for her and for me. I know that she is happy and living a wonderful life. And I also have a wonderful life with my husband (her father). I know that she loves me and I love her so all is well.
    I will go and visit in November. That will be great.

  18. #24

    Yep, it is pretty wonderful! Love when the daughters visit, and love getting my life back when they leave. Also love that my husband and I are best friends too, and have reconnected in ways we never expected. Sweet spot indeed :).

  19. #25
    Chris H

    I’m a firm believer in embracing the stages rather than fighting them…many parents long for the days of the totally dependent infant, or the chaotic toddlerhood…ever preserving their kids as wee ones, not wanting to let go when they reach some milestone (isn’t EVERY stone, a milestone???) I know parents who really think “oh, my, what WILL I do when he/she is gone?” (Um, my list is super long!!! lol)

    I love and embrace each stage for what it is, the natural progression of life. My daughter started middle school this year and I am so excited to watch her welcome the challenges, the changes, the new-ness of it. Like when I dropped her at Kindergarten just 6 short falls ago…I sent her off last month, ON THE BUS!!! with a smile on her face and not the first tear in my eye. She was ready. I was ready.

    Every so often we get the glimpse of what empty nesting will be, and I’m not afraid to admit….I am looking forward to it knowing I’ve been present in everything to the best of my ability leading up to it. We’ve worked as hard at being a family as we have at remaining a couple as well and each stage is something to be welcomed, enjoyed, and preserved in words or photos. I can’t wait for the next step, whatever that is.

  20. #26

    Empty nesting is kind of a bonus I hadn’t expected. Our children are grown and have been on their own for several years. We love their visits, love visiting them, having the grandchildren here for weekends and even a week here and there in the summer. But we love and treasure our time by ourselves. Sounds like you will also.

  21. #28
    Tag für Tag

    I’m glad to read this. I’m glad, although i dont now you IRL, that things are going great in the zielske house. sending you my best wishes all the way over the ocean.
    Marit from Germany.

  22. #30

    we are SO far from being empty nesters (kids 5, 4, 2, & 1 yr old), but we definitely try to keep it in mind as time passes so we aren’t too surprised about the ‘just the two of us’
    some days, i can’t wait. most days, i’m just glad for the gift of kiddos.

  23. #32

    hi Cathy

    me and my wife were empty nesters as well and althogh my wife is a licensed marriage therapist we took it pretty hard. We decided to work hard and rekindle our relationship and reconnect by going on several adventures ranging from Tuscany, Jerusalem and even going on a Safari.

    While seeing the world we discovered we could live with less and invest more in our relationship. That’s when we had the great idea to offer this kind of experience to other couples as well

    So we created our website
    Basically couples who struggle to rekindle their passion can go on a vacation, relax and at the same time confront head-on the core issues that have taken them in different directions.

    kind regards,

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