Annette and I were never naive enough to imagine that being a parent stopped when the fledglings left home. But, since the nest emptied a few years ago, we have become rather accustomed to 'home' being a somewhat tranquil refuge to which we can both retreat at the end of a busy day or week.
That tranquility was interrupted at the beginning of this year when our son needed a roof over his head while he finished his nursing degree. Next weekend our youngest daughter joins him as the tenancy on her flat has come to an end and a replacement is not available. And so we find ourselves having to squeeze up our 'spread-outedness' as we loose our last 'spare' room. (Please don't ask to come and stay for a while - unless the floor will do.)
No, being a parent doesn't end when they leave home and, being a parent still comes with responsibilities. So, we squeeze up and make room, not only in a physical sense but in a relational sense too; for these returning children are not the same as those that left a few years back. They return with a maturity that they didn't possess before (and some lingering immaturity that we wish they had lost). They return with new habits and traits born of their recent freedom. Their expectations are different and have a validity that often challenges our own. There is a lot of making room to be done.
So, the cars are out of the garage. The garage is now 'storage' and the oldies must remember not to walk about the house in their underwear in the mornings. So much for 'retirement' :-)