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A tale of two toothbrushes

For columnist and his wife, life as empty nesters has just begun

Published: Saturday, June 1, 2013 6:59 a.m. CDT

We are officially empty nesters since the recent nuptials.

At first, it seemed like nothing had changed. Laura is 21 so she’s been coming and going as she pleases for awhile. The idea of having the house to ourselves was even pleasing at times.

We already did not see her much. Just the trail of laundry, mail and other debris she’d leave in her wake. Then, Sunday morning, I got up to shower and brush my teeth. It hit me when I stood at the sink and there were only two toothbrushes in the holder. The house suddenly seemed very quiet. More quiet than usual.

It’s a different kind of quiet.

Since she’s been working, she leaves the house about the time I’m getting up. I let the dog out and gather my clothes while she finishes up her routine. As she walks out the door, she shouts out, “Bye, Dad. Love you “

And I shout back, “Love you, too.”

Then she shouts out to the dog, “Bye, Wyatt, love you.”

He can’t talk; he’s a dog. So I respond for him: “Arf.” And out the door he goes.

Her mother has been at work for a couple of hours by then, so it’s just me and Laura.

On her days off, she’s upstairs sleeping in so there’s no verbal exchange but there’s a subtle reassurance that everything is OK. I brush my teeth and dress for work. When I leave, her car is there, parked in the yard or on the street.

That spot is empty now like a hole in my heart. It will take some getting used to.

Her mother took some vacation time to recover from the wedding. Today, she met me for lunch. She sat down and browsed the menu.

She looked up and quietly said, “There are only two toothbrushes in the bathroom.”

It’s funny, the little things you miss that you don’t think about beforehand. We thought we were prepared for this change in our lives; even looking forward to this new chapter. But we weren’t prepared for the little realities.

Well, at least we know Laura is taking care of her teeth in her new home. As for the quiet, we’ll just have to make some noise.

One of these days, I’m going to go upstairs and clean out Laura’s room and remodel it for some other use. But it won’t be today.


© Copyright 2013 by David Porter who can be reached at david@ramblinman.us. ... I have a feeling it won’t be tomorrow, either.

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