Getting used to an empty nester lifestyle is still a concept I struggle with especially after holidays, spring and fall breaks, and summer vacations. When the kids come back of course you are thrilled and it’s a rare and exquisite treat to see them, but it becomes evident quickly that the relationship has changed. They are so much more grown up and independent and you have to admit guiltily to yourself, that part of you is equally as happy to see them leave as you are to see them come so that the order and routine around the “new normal” can be re-established.
In addition to being an empty nester, my husband still travels four days a week so when he comes back on Thursday night it’s like a mini version of the same thing with my children, except that it happens weekly. Everything you do all week long by yourself, now switches to you as a couple. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I live a double life, one where there is a husband and children, and another where it is just me. Both are great and fulfilling just different. As part of my mission to find the joy in whatever I am doing, I blog, finishing up my second book, I do contract business projects, I coach a young start-up business, and I babysit. Currently my baby is a 15week old girl named Felicia. Just smelling clean baby and seeing that big toothless grin when I walk-in, or snuggling during a nap, makes me feel as though I have a purpose in impacting this young child’s life. Using my head, my heart, and my hands is the key to keeping me sharp and making me happy.
So with my husband by my side, this weekend included a variety of activities. On Friday we went to a 5:05pm movie to see “The Commuter” with Liam Neeson. There are a couple of things I’d like to say about this experience. First of all, I’m not sure if I want to thank or hurt the young male ticket salesperson. He sold us one senior and one adult ticket. While I’ll take the four dollar discount ever day of the week, I want to know which one of us he considered to be the senior because if it’s me I want to smack him. Second of all if you do not have the movie theaters with the Lazy Boy recliners you are missing out. They are the “Bomb”. I won’t have one in my house but I don’t want to watch another movie without my Lazy Boy recliner. Lastly, at the age of 65 Liam Neeson is still a “Bad Ass”! I want to still be a bad ass at sixty five as well so many years down the road for me……..
On Saturday morning we did a construction walk through with our cabinet builder, trim guy, and friend, too discuss and experience the walkways and mark the floors for width and depth of cabinetry in the kitchen and Master bedrooms. It’s still so hard to fathom that someday, God willing, the project will be done and that Juan and I will be living there. For those of you that have read my book, it’s a long way from where I started so I still can’t imagine it to be true and happening for me.
In the afternoon we prepped our entry and slow cooked our Mississippi pot roast for the 4th Annual Our Lady Star of The Sea Church cooking competition on Sunday. I went and bought a tablecloth, flowers and decorations, so if nothing else we could win the spirit award. A friend convinced us to participate even though we knew we couldn’t win because of who the celebrity judge was going to be, but if someone says competition I’m going to find a way to win.(More on the celebrity in a bit)
Later that evening we celebrated the birthday of a friend at dinner by surprisingly being at the restaurant where she and her fiancé were going to be. Good food, good friends, and good wishes to them both as they embark on their new journey together.
Sunday morning came and it was off to the church to set-up, warm-up the food, and check out what the competition was serving up. There were some ringers in the group but I felt comfortable that we could hold our own.
Before the actual judging occurred there was a cooking demo done by a professional chef and priest, Fr. Leo Patalinghug. To those of you that know me his brother Carlos is married to my sister Alicia. To others he’s the chef that kicked Bobby Flay’s butt in his own Showdown with fajita’s to die for. So I was disqualified because I was “family”, but we still had many people tell us our entry was delicious. Fr. Leo is a dynamic presenter, best-selling author, TV host, an internationally sought out conference speaker and the founder of the international food and faith movement, “Plating Grace”. His message educates, entertains, and feeds audiences of all ages and religions. Check him out at www.FatherLeo Feeds.com. For you other empty nesters he even has a book called Spicing Up Married Life which talks about having “month-aversaries” instead of anniversaries and learning to cook, converse, and become closer together.
Even though our pot roast didn’t win a thing, I feel we won the biggest prize of all because Fr. Leo was gracious enough to come over to our current house of sticks and Bless every room, and pray with our dearest closest friends for a speedy and successful completion, good health, and many more years of sharing our joy and blessings “Plating Grace” along with our pot roast with all who enter. Thank you Fr. Leo and camera crew Nathan and Carlton Colby for filming the experience. Come back when it’s done and enjoy a few days of Florida sunshine.