Several of our friends have already arrived…Empty Nesters…
It took us awhile, but from all appearances, it actually looks like our Nest really and truly is empty…
It’s crazy. Over the last several years, our kids moved out one-by-one…sort of. Then, they moved back. Then out. Then back…sometimes overlapping each other in the process, including extra borders and students and guests.
Over the last 30+ years, our home has always been filled with constant activity.
And, now…it looks like the cycle has ended. Things have become very quiet around here.
When our kids first started moving on with their lives, I found a serious sense of displacement. The routine of my own life had shifted. We were the family with all those kids, the home-schooling family, the Boy Scout family, the international student host family, the help-dad-in-the-office family, the swim team family…the family that shared meals around the table most evenings.
And, now, it’s just the two of us eating our meals – together – and not always at the table (our son took the kitchen table and chairs when he landed his own place – they were his, afterall). For awhile we were actually eating out much of the time. Cooking and shopping for “just the two of us” required a little practice. Why do you still go to Costco, some ask. We just chuckle – don’t people know it’s date-night?
My daily routine I once knew is gone. Once upon a time, I started each weekday preparing breakfast and lesson plans. Now, I sip on my coffee and am learning a whole new routine to planning my days.
The sounds of others bustling about are mere memories, while the creaks and groans from this old house seem louder. The piano keys are quiet more often than not. I can’t bring myself to play, and my daughter who spent many hours on those keys, has her own piano now in her own home. Recently, I made a comment about what to do with it should we move. The emphatic “You’re not selling it” was heard loud and clear.
Yes, it’s taking time to let go as our kids have left the roost and are now exploring the big world on their own terms.
At the same time, it is with delight to witness their new adventures of travel, relationships, education, new businesses and meaningful work, marriage and beginnings of parenting – they are each growing into their own definition of adulthood. Each are a rich blessing, and there’s no greater joy than to hear my children walking in the truth.
Having a family was my goal and purpose in life. It’s what I always wanted to do and be.
My plan, along with my husband’s, was to be a family. To experience life together, to raise the next generation and to enjoy the fruit of that experience. And we did…we still do…
The interesting thing is, I didn’t realize what was forming in secret all those years.
There’s a little nugget in the Bible that says, “The heart of man plans his way, but it’s the Lord who establishes his steps.”
Beneath my conscious knowledge was the preparation for this season – right now – after the kids – the Empty Nest.
Life experience grows us…hopefully “up.” Maturity, wisdom…grace…God’s plan…establishing my steps for…today.
Empty? Not hardly.