Two years ago during covid Christmas, we acquired a regulation sized ping pong table. It was a deal we couldn’t pass up because it was free and in excellent condition. Much to my youngest son’s dismay, it turned out to be too big for our kids’ / family room, so we had to put it in our basement. Up until that day, our basement had been used for storage. There were a few times when my two older kids went down there to “clean it up” to make it a place they could hang out with friends, but my youngest son would never go down there because he was afraid of the crawl space that was dark, dreary, and dirty – pretty much your typical unfinished basement. That all changed on that cold December day in 2020! Not only did he help carry down the Ping Pong table, he helped set it up and he and his brother were down there playing for hours. We had to force them to go to bed sometime after midnight that night! Bright and early the next day, they were up and ready to play again, but before doing so, they decided to clean up their new found fun space. They organized everything, moved carpet pieces around to make it warm and cozy. They even hung some extra Christmas lights all around the table. My husband and I did our part by going out and purchasing some lattice to cover up the scary, dark, dreary crawl space, and storage areas.
For the next couple of months our boys were down there pretty much every day blaring music and playing ping pong. After such a long time of feeling cooped up, bored with each other and being stuck at home, it was so good to hear them laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
Once quarantine ended, the Ping Pong table basically collected dust, and became a storage table. My husband and I always joked with each other and our kids that we were going to start to play, but we never did. Until a few weeks ago. It was that rainy Sunday after Thanksgiving, and even though we were both bored out of our minds, we were so tired from hosting back-to-back holiday dinners, that we didn’t feel like going out or doing anything at all. I asked my husband to go down to our basement to get a few of the Christmas decoration containers for me and when he didn’t come right back up, I went down to see if he needed help. When I got down there, I didn’t find the decorations, but instead I found that he had cleared off the ping pong table and he handed me a paddle and said “let’s play”!
We played for over an hour. We were laughing and hitting the balls everywhere in our basement and it was soooo much fun. It had been a really long time since we laughed that much and it felt really good!
Apparently, our son who was doing homework in his room, heard us laughing so loud through the vents that he came to see what was going on. At first, he couldn’t find us, but then he realized we were in the basement. He came down the stairs expecting to see that our dog escaped to the basement for an adventure (our basement is not dog friendly), but instead he found us playing Ping Pong! He couldn’t believe that’s what we were doing, and when we told him we had been playing for a while he said “WOW! is this what empty nesting looks like for you guys?” I said no of course not – empty nesting ping pong tournaments in the middle of the day will include loud 80’s music and an adult cocktail😍.
My husband and I were long overdue for some quality us time, and even though it was only a little more than hour, it felt so good to laugh with each other instead of feeling stressed or worried. Instead of taking care of someone else, we were taking care of each other like we used to do pre-kids. After we finished playing, we made a pact to try to play ping pong more and watch tv less!
2022 was very challenging for our family, and although we had each other’s back every single day of it, we didn’t make enough fun time for just US. In fact, I spent much of this past year wishing we could go back to easier and fun days; but that hour of ping pong helped me realize I need to spend less time looking back and more time looking forward to all of the fun we are going to have as we enter the next chapter of our story as empty nesters.
Speaking of looking forward and having fun, if ping pong isn’t your thing but getting out and about is, be sure to check out our Holiday Fun Guide. It has tons of fun and festive things to do from now until the end of 2022!
Neighbor, my wish for you is good health in the New Year and I hope that you are surrounded by love, happiness, and laughter during this holiday season and everyday thereafter.