Opinion: Grateful for my empty nest

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Oh, lord. I’ve just come from a quick trip to Louisville, where I was forcibly reminded about the challenges of parenting little kids. Yikes. I went to pseudo-celebrate my birthday and left with the gift of gratitude. Thank goodness those times are behind me!

My nephews, who live around the corner from my mom, are 9, 7 and 3. They showed up for dinner in all their childlike glory, the oldest launching immediately into a pitch for a movie he and his younger brothers are producing called “Mario and Godzilla,” and the middle, coatless yelling about organizing a fast-food restaurant game. The baby, who happens to have brighter red hair than mine, was content running around in his winter apparel, making Duo Block Happy Meals for everyone. Lots of noise, lots of movement, lots of energy. Not surprisingly, my sister poured herself a goblet of chardonnay.

And actually, we were able to eat in relative peace, although the pot roast did not sit well with Mini Ginger. But as we were transitioning to dessert, all hell broke loose. From the porch room, youngest brother suddenly started crying hysterically, and middle brother began apologizing profusely. We all stared in horror at the 3-year-old as a perfectly shaped, bluish-purple goose egg emerged on his pasty white forehead. My sister downed her wine, picked up the screamer, and calmly announced, “We’re leaving.”

Although they missed cake and ice cream, they had unknowingly given me a wonderful gift. A moment to be grateful for having survived the rugrat stage of parenting and to reflect on the joys of an empty nest. Happy birthday to me, indeed.

Peace out!

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