Darrah’s absence has brought something else into bold relief — our attachment to certain routines. Without her youthful energy buzzing through the house, some of our longtime habits have deepened — calcified? — into codgerlike rituals. The one that most amazes and amuses Dan and me takes place after dinner, when we…amble into the living room…put on a CD and pick up our respective books (these days, usually from the library). We then commence what we call "parallel reading."
…Once in a while, one of us will notice the rutlike quality of this activity and say something to the effect of, "What have we come to?" Then we’ll chuckle, sip some tea, and go back to our books.
That is from Karen Stabiner’s The Empty Nest: 31 Parents Tell the Truth About Relationships, Love, and Freedom After the Kids Fly the Coop. For one thing, I don’t drink much tea.