Believe it or not, there are some benefits to being an empty nester, although they do take some time to become apparent.
Parents of small children reading this, whose life is run by a 3ft social hand-grenade who bellows their never-ending list of impossible demands like a demented sergeant major, you may want to look away now, or at least put down anything of value you may be holding.
First up, once your kids have left home you can do what you want, when you want. It’s like being a teenager again but with your own house. Last weekend, while daughter #1 arrived in Ecuador seven weeks into a three-month “gap yah” trip around South America and daughter #2 was visiting a college friend in Wales, me and the boss booked into a five-star spa hotel in York and lived like royalty. It’s not something we do often, we’re not made of money, but we felt like celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary in style so we did. And it was great.
On any trip away, if you’re lucky, there’s a golden moment when you realise just why you shelled out what you did that makes it all worthwhile.
Ours came at around 8.25 last Sunday morning when we had the pool to ourselves and as we sat in the jacuzzi, buffeted by its warm, bubbly water, we caught each other’s eye as we were both smiling in contented silence. Then we laughed our heads off.
The second thing is you can eat what you want without fear of apocalyptic temper tantrums because that special dinner you made from a tasty recipe off Facebook “has got onions in it”.
Lemon Parmesan chicken with baked asparagus and cherry tomatoes would go down like a cup of cold sick to a highly critical teenage audience but when it’s just the two of you and you hear a contented “mmmmm” after the last forkful, you feel pretty good about yourself.
The house is very quiet though, but just like on Rick & Morty, when Morty’s murderous alien son he fathered with a sex robot from the planet Gazorpazorp leaves home and he says: “I promise I’ll call you every day I need money or a place to do laundry.”