My kids have made new friends on our block. My neighborhood is a mix of families like mine, elderly people who have lived in their homes since they were constructed in the post-WWII urban sprawl, and college kids renting temporary digs. It’s a nice neighborhood, and our street is limited access, so there’s not a lot of through traffic, so we can usually enjoy the illusion of some peace and quiet, despite living so close to downtown. But even though we’ve seen the occasional other kid or two in the neighborhood, and even on our street, we haven’t befriended any of them really until just recently.
Now my son’s up at the crack of dawn, ready to get on his bike and pedal over to his new friend’s house. Because we don’t let him bike out of our sight (ah, the joys of modern parenting), he zips up and down the street with his new buddies, or they race up and down the sidewalk shooting Nerf guns at each other. You can hear them laughing and shouting from a mile away, I’m sure. And they take turns running into and out of my house, and their house, with a jubilant energy that’s enviable.
And I’m sick of it already.
I’m glad they’ve made friends, don’t get me wrong. But in the time span of 72 hours, I’ve gone from struggling to keep them entertained and warding off the persistent whines of “I’m boooooored!” to now only seeing them in passing as they either zip by on their bikes, or zip through the house for the back yard. Trying to get them to come in for lunch is like pulling teeth. At dinner time, you’d think I was torturing them, the way they complain and gripe. To make matters worse, I can’t corral them into the house for five minutes before their friends show up at my front door, wondering if they can come back outside and play now.
This is a big adjustment for me. I’m used to having my kids around. During the school year, yeah, I’m okay with them being gone, but it’s summertime now, and they’re supposed to be here. We’re supposed to be doing family things. I’m supposed to be whining about no free time, and missing my personal space — not suddenly wondering why in the hell I’ve got it.
I know it’s inevitable – the shifting of the centers of their respective worlds from me and my husband to their friends. But as with the deodorant and talks about puberty, I wasn’t ready for empty nest syndrome to hit quite so soon.