Everyone knows what a honeymoon is, of course. And most people have heard of the babymoon, a getaway for soon-to-be parents, offering that last chance to relax (and have loud sex) for the upcoming 18 years.
Then, after two decades have gone by in a heartbeat, it’s time for the nestermoon, a romantic trip your spouse after dropping off your youngest at college….a diversion designed for when you can still walk and before all your money is gone.
Here are some tips for a stress-free Nestermoon planning process –
– If you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, DO see the play Empty Nesters, with performances through February 17. It portrays the nestermoon from hell…a post-drop-off road trip to the highly metaphorical Grand Canyon Skywalk. There, the talented two-person cast (enhanced by some impressive digital sets) deals with the existential dilemma of who they are without kids, what they will do for the rest of their lives, and whether they should they even stay together. Not the most upbeat subject matter, but the stars inject humor and poignancy into this spot-on glimpse of highly relatable communication struggles. Save 25% on tickets with code SAVE25!
– DON’T plan anything too ambitious. My husband and I did not live by these words and we headed to India after our youngest’s convocation….with carry on only. So, while researching mattress toppers and shower caddies for our minimalist son, we also had to think about vaccines, mileage anytime awards and avoiding monsoons.
– DO plan something active (but DON’T plan a golf vacay unless both of you play). If you’re stuck in a room together, you’ll just dwell on the fact that might not have anything in common anymore.
– DON’T check for texts from your Flown One every five minutes. If you do, you won’t hear a word (which is a good thing, trust me). But don’t turn off your phone altogether. You might be getting a call from jail, as happened to friends hours after checking into the Four Seasons in Chicago for their mini-nestermoon. They had just settled into their Jacuzzi-with-a-view when they had to redirect their energies to finding an Open Container attorney in Gambier, Ohio.
– DO bring along floorplans of your home (as well as the phone number of a contractor and a trauma therapist) in case you get the urge to begin arrangements for Kondo-ing your offsprings’ rooms and building a gym.
– DON’T eat kid food. That means no pizza (unless in Naples).
– DO listen to podcasts, because you might not have much to talk about, but avoid the ones about con artists or early-onset dementia.
– DON’T forget your ukulele, your adult coloring book and your pottery wheel. Now is the ideal time for taking up a meaningful, life-changing hobby…something as challenging textured and all-consuming as raising children. In real life the stars of Empty Nesters are married, so they channeled their nestermoon angst into a productive one-act. And you can too, even if it’s not as formidable as a play. Maybe create a quilt of your child’s old tee shirts together. Or launch a start up related to Empty Nesters’ faves: puppies or retirement dreams. The world is your (empty) oyster…and who says the shell isn’t beautiful without the pearl.