The text chain went something like this …

Me: I just bought cold medicine and now it’s gone! Who removed it from this house??

Family: (crickets)

Me: I know one of you took it! This house is not a grocery store. You are all adults now — stop taking my things!

Family: (crickets)

Husband: One of you better respond to your mother or we are cutting off the credit card.

Child No. 2: I took the DayQuil. I thought I was getting sick. I didn’t realize it was only for you.

Me: Also … the Amazon account is not a family account. Stop using it to buy things for your homes!

Child No. 2: I’m still in college. How do you expect me to buy anything if I don’t have a credit card or Amazon??

Husband: Get a job!

As some of you know, our last child flew the coop in August when he started college. And so, for the last several months, my husband and I have been adjusting to an empty nest. At first, it was a little tough, but once we got the hang of it, we really got the hang of it.

We now do what we want, when we want, without three little munchkins giving us any input.

And just as exciting ... the house is pristine.

Unlike the last 20 years, I’m no longer constantly picking up cups, shoes and wrappers as I walk through the house. Nor am I moving piles of washed clothes from one room to another or coming home to dishes in the sink or beating on bedroom doors (like a crazy woman) looking for all my lost (stolen) stuff.

Instead, Norah Jones is my background music at all times. The house smells like a mix of lavender and rosemary, and there is nothing on the counters. It’s as if no one even lives here, and that’s how we like it.

But the best thing about empty-nesting that no one tells you about is ... if you put something down, the next day it’s still there. That’s shocking ... I know.

There’s no hiding my chocolate, my tweezers or my new shoes. We finally experienced true freedom … until, that is, the three amigos came home for the holidays.

Child No. 1 has her own home, but the two others are nomads who return for the holidays to sleep, eat our food, and take our things before they return to school. Child No. 1 returned to the homestead though to be with No. 2 and No. 3, and just like that, it’s been three against two once again.

And so for the last several weeks, clothes, shoes and blankets are everywhere. The house smells like chicken wings, rotel and chocolate chip cookies, and all our stuff is missing. And while we’ve had a great visit filled with lots of hugs and many laughs, with each passing day, the text stream is getting uglier.

Thankfully, all good things do come to an end, and No. 1 has returned to her home and job. No. 2 went back to her school last week, and No. 3 leaves this week for his.

And while I’ll miss them desperately once they’re gone, I’m counting down the minutes to when I can clear the counters of all their clutter, replenish my cupboards and closets of what’s been pilfered and finally bring back some Norah Jones, prop up my feet and break out my hidden chocolates.

Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Angel Kane and Becky Andrews.

Telling Tales is written by Wilson County's Angel Kane and Becky Andrews.

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