So together my wife and I have seven children. Yes seven. The oldest is turning 29 with the youngest being eighteen. With all of the “children” out of the house, you would think we would be celebrating the milestone of becoming Empty Nesters by going on vacations, late nights out, having extra money, doing things for myself like joining the awesome 610 Stompers and all the other benefits of now just caring for two. Well, as we get closer to this Father’s Day, I can say THAT IS NOT THE CASE. I got to experience the enjoyment of having the TV whenever I wanted, the ability to have hot water when I went to take a shower (on demand by the way), and the joys of not having to run around town dropping off or picking up someone like I had a third job as an Uber or Lyft employee for all of about five months.
Then THEY came back like a swarm of locust on a hot summer’s day. The next thing I knew our pantry was once again empty, my body had to get use to the Antarctic like temperature of the shower water, and I again found myself without the benefits of pay or tips as I drove around town picking up and dropping off these people – I mean our children. The most negative part of being a parent of older children is the long nights waiting up as the children (I mean semi-adults) in our life run the streets doing God knows what to all hours of the night. If I hear one more time, “Dad I am 19 years old. I can go fight in a war. I shouldn’t have a curfew,” I might go insane like the Joker in any Batman flick. Well to answer that I wrote a nice little poem:
Dear children of ours, oh how I love you so.
But staying out this late has simply got to go.
You might be older and think you’re all that…
But next time you don’t call, your possessions will be taken back.
Remember I am old and need hours of sleep…
If I wake up cranky because of you, your trouble will be deep.
Consider this poem a little warning you might say…
And make sure to take hold of my stern words on this day.
The next time you go out late and don’t keep track of the time…
Don’t blame me if my actions are considered a crime.
So with that said, get on your knees and pray…
And hope that the daylight brings for you a better day.
But back to the topic of becoming parents now known as the Parents Formerly Known As Empty Nesters. Honestly, I would have it no other way. Having no hot water when I want it or food in the pantry because it has all been eaten or having to drive all over town is worth every bit of the so-called frustration we experience – if it gives me the opportunity to see their faces on a daily basis. The joys of knowing your older children still want to be around us or part of our home brings an emotion that is simply hard to describe. Our son, who is 19, will still come home and jump in the bed with us and just “chill.” Our daughter, who is 18, will sit down and tell us every detail about her day over dinner or even just a snack.
Now, of course, they are not all home. Some have moved on to adult life and responsibilities. Luckily there is FaceTime. One day soon, we will go back to the concept of being Empty Nesters, and when that day comes, it won’t be a celebration. Knowing we raised them and gave them the tools to succeed will be yes, but the thought of missing them is hard to digest as it is with the ones who have already left.
But, luckily, that day has not arrived as of yet. Therefore, until it does, I will take every minute I have with them and enjoy the craziness of life and realize that this Father’s Day I am truly blessed! But simply, it is ok if the pantry is empty!
About Eric Ferry
Eric and his wife Heidi have seven beautiful children that range in ages from 18 to 29. They live in Metairie and feel they are in their forever home. As a high school teacher for 20 years, Eric is well versed in the minds of teenagers from all walks of life. Eric graduated from the University of New Orleans and obtained his B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Management. However, his true passion for teaching wasn’t realized until a few years after his college graduation. Becoming certified through the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1998, Eric currently works at Holy Cross School as the Coordinator of Student Activities and teacher of Theology. He has been at Holy Cross for ten years. Eric lives his life by the philosophy of trying to make people smile daily through his wacky social media post, videos, YouTube channel (Eric Ferry the Dancing Dad) and being a member of the popular dance crew – The 610 Stompers.