I am looking for a new word, something positive for the emotional state parents feel when a child moves out. I know that some parents speak of a kind of post-partum depression when their child leaves home, but that wasn’t our experience. Or, as Martha Stewart might say, “and that’s a good thing.”
But there really isn’t a word in English to describe it. Latin looked like a good place to start. Google Translate recommends I consider egressus filius, which sounds like something they’d teach during the first year at Hogwarts. Point to the door, say egressus filius and your child leaves. Just like that. Amazing. For now, I kind of like wunder-phoria which combines wunderkind, which she is, with euphoria.
In an old joke, a seeker of wisdom asks a sage, “I have a question that has troubled me all of my life. How do I know when life begins?” “That’s easy,” the sage answers. “It begins when the kids move out and the dog dies.” Well, we are on our third cat and she is in superb health. Besides, cats require far less care than dogs. There is something inherently independent in their nature that suits her and us just fine. Likewise, kids, when they reach a certain age, are inherently independent. And that is a good thing too.
So now, we have a guest room. Sarah moved out. Not too far. She is within laundry-walking distance. But all of a sudden we have a spare room. It took time to actually realize this. Part of me was saying, well, she might need to spend the night here. I mean she is almost a whole metro stop away and our weather is iffy… but that hasn’t happened. So after two months of stalling, the wunder-phoria kicked in. We moved inessentials out of her room and shopped around for a double-bed-sized futon. I let her know that we had made the transition. I hoped she wouldn’t take it too hard. “Oh,” she said, “how come it took you so long?”
Our first houseguests visited us for a long weekend recently. Although bitterly cold weather forced us to spend more time indoors than we had expected, to my surprise, we still had a great time.
On Sunday morning I made waffles for all of us. This recipe is based on one from an old Reader’s Digest book, Creative Cooking.
It makes a waffle that is both crusty and tender and is a great excuse for getting a waffle iron if you don’t have one. The secret to these waffles is to let the batter sit overnight.
In a large bowl, mix together a 1/2-cup of warm water (110F or 43C), a tablespoon of dry yeast (1 package), 2 cups of warm milk, a 1/2-cup of melted butter, a teaspoon each of salt and sugar, and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat in 2 cups of flour. Mix well. Cover and let this sit overnight at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
When you are ready to cook the waffles, mix in two eggs and a dash of baking soda. Pour the batter onto a hot waffle iron and cook until steam stops escaping or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Recipe serves four but if there is too much batter, make them all anyway. Extra waffles freeze nicely and heat up quickly in a toaster oven.
In fact, we served these the next time we had houseguests too.