Lessons From a 4-Year-Old

Empty nester at 27.

blue bird perched on branch

Emily moved in with her mom Monday, so we’re empty nesters at 27. I was sad Sunday night, but it never hit me hard. As Monday wore on and I spent the day keeping her out of the way while moving her stuff, the feeling wore off. Like a slow-release capsule, the sadness slowly trickling into my bloodstream. Laura worked from home yesterday, so today is my first full day alone in months. I miss Emily, but I feel refreshed and energized. Laura’s come down with a case of the feels. Before Emily joined us, Laura thought boarding school would be good for our future child. Now she’s in favor of home school.

Living with a 4-year-old taught me a few lessons and reminded me of others:

  1. Spontaneity – When Emily was with us I had no excuse not to go shopping after dinner. What was I going to do at home? Try watching basketball while she performs a musical in front of the TV? I get anxious after being away from home for so long, even if there isn’t a reason for me being there. Emily chipped away at the comfort and safety I found at home, nudging me to go with the flow.
  2. Live in the moment – I’ve noticed a blue bird on my past two runs. Emily shouted every time she saw a bird. No matter how many she saw, the next one would be the most amazing creature she’d seen. Same for the hundreds of lady bugs sneaking into the house; constantly pulling me away from my adulting to gawk at the spotted insects.
  3. It’s a new day (Yes it is!) – The sunrise brings possibilities to help leave yesterday where it belongs. Emily never woke in a bad mood after being upset about having to go to bed.
  4. Not everything has a purpose – Emily has tons of dolls, animals, Shopkins & Squinkies to play with, but sometimes she’d play house with two of her doll’s boots. Everything I write doesn’t have to be a novel. Poems that go nowhere are fine.
  5. Feel your emotions – She literally cried, smiled, laughed, cringed and scowled every day. It’s okay to feel, just don’t throw a fit.
  6. Ask for help – It’s not cool for me to ask Laura to help with my socks because I just really don’t feel like putting them on, but I shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for assistance in other areas.

Author: Arsenio Franklin

Writer & depressed house husband.

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