These past few days Doug and I have been empty nesters as our son, Darion, is off at Ridgecrest on a church youth retreat.  He left Thursday morning.  Later that day,  Doug and I went to the beach (until it started raining) without a complaining, bored twelve year old, then had dinner at a restaurant where waiters brought us dinner on a real plate!  We were able to actually sit and TALK to each other while enjoying the meal.

We got up for work on Friday morning without having to listen to the “Sponge Bob” marathon on TV and made it out the door without having to yell at anyone to GET OUT OF BED, hurry up, get his stuff together, put on deodorant, or eat his breakfast.  Friday night, we got wild and crazy.  We ate out AGAIN in a real restaurant, played goofy golf all by ourselves, came home and watched an adult movie (NO, NOT THAT KIND OF ADULT MOVIE!),  then – get this – we went out for ice cream at 10:00 PM!  Who knew Dairy Queen and Baskin-Robbins were closed by ten o’clock?  Certainly not the Fannons, who are generally in bed WAY before then.  A little disappointing, but we still managed to get a hot fudge sundae at McDonalds.  And we didn’t even get to bed until eleven!

Saturday, we went to Ponce de Leon Spring State Park.  We hiked two nature trails without a surly preteen proclaiming how stupid and boring it was, complaining about the bugs, whacking things with sticks, and grumping about how much he hated nature.  We could actually hear the birds!  We never knew nature could be so peaceful.

Today we got to church on time without losing any of our religion. I didn’t have to constantly train my maternal “stink eye” upon a youngster who wasn’t being as holy as he should be.  This is especially difficult from the piano, as I tend to lose my place in the music.

All in all, I think this empty nest thing is truly under-rated.  But alas, we only have two days left until the youth come home.  We are thinking of texting the youth leaders to see if they’ll consider staying another week at Ridgecrest.  Unfortunately, I’m afraid that could invoke mutiny and more loss of religion.  So, until Tuesday, we’re going to live it up (as only the Fannons can) until our little birdie flies back to the nest.  Meanwhile, we keep chanting the mantra,  “Only six more years until high school graduation…..only six more…”