It was the first full day in Evanston of our being empty nesters, and, in a strange way, nearly 11 years into our marriage, it feels like Dunreith and I are newlyweds.
We saw the signs of Aidan’s missing presence at various points in the day-in a glance at his now empty bedroom, in thinking about contacting him, and in realizing that he would not be there at the end of the day when we returned home from work.
I thought about how he enjoyed his second day of classes, about if he feels himself settling into any kind of routine, or what he will do during his first full weekend in New Orleans.
In a lot of ways, the day felt like I was wearing a new set of clothes that do not yet fit, the material calling attention to itself as I put it on and afterward.
It’s not that our activities were different from a normal Tuesday after a three-day weekend.
We got up, showered, had breakfast and prepared for the morning ride into work.
We checked in during the day and met afterward, talking about our days and stopping at Whole Foods for a Kombucha before returning home for dinner.
It was our orientation.
At the same time, for the first time since we’ve been together, here in Chicago, Dunreith and I were just thinking about ourselves.
I know that Aidan’s been at camp before for a couple of weeks, but always for a defined amount of time and with the promise of return to our home.
Even though we’ll see Aidan at the end of next month, at Parents’ weekend at the end of October and at Thanksgiving, this feels different.
His time as a child in our home is over.
His orbit is out toward the world.
And he’s not here, but 950 miles away in New Orleans.
The empty nester clothes will feel more comfortable soon, and I’m excited to explore with Dunreith our new life together.
It’s just a little itchy right now.