Monday, August 25, 2008

The Empty Nest

When our children are young, we put so much energy into raising them, and having them grow into healthy, independent, and self-sufficient adults, that it's hard to believe one day they will be leaving home to start a life of their own. Even though we all know that day will eventually happen, it's a bittersweet time in a parent's life. We finally have freedom, and the house to ourselves, but when we have it staring us in the face, we're not sure if we want that at all. My son had the same feelings, he said he was looking forward to living on his own, but he wasn't sure if he really wanted to leave and be that responsible yet. Face it, living at home and having some else cooking and clean for you is a pretty cushy proposition. I knew for a year that my son, who was the last one living at home with me, out of three children, was leaving to go to a university. For that year, every time I thought about it, or someone would ask me about it I would become emotional. Because I prepared myself, when the day actually did arrive I was better able to cope with it. It's never easy. I would think back to the milestones I shared with my children...oops there I go...I'm tearing up...their first words, steps, haircuts, the disappointments, joys and accomplishments,even the first time that they told me they hated me (I knew they didn't mean it). I remember when it felt like such work and I thought, "When will they grow up?" It's all a blur to me, and the work doesn't feel like work to me now. What was I thinking back then? Oh...thank God for hindsight. My ex-husband used to complain about their backpacks at the bottom of the stairs, and I would say, "Some day there won't be any backpacks there, and you'll wish there were." That day is finally here, and I miss the backpacks, their dishes in the sink, and yelling at them to hurry in the morning. Yes, I miss it all! Now the mess is all mine, and there is no one to complain about. (Uh oh, my keyboard is getting all wet) Now, I look forward to every precious minute that I'm able to spend with them. I love having them over for dinner and sharing their life with them. It's no work at all, it's a privilege, and a blessing. that I thank God for everyday. My children are all self-sufficient young adults and I am a proud parent. Mission accomplished! These are tears of joy!

This is my advice to young parents, enjoy every moment with your babies, small children, and teenagers because in a blink of an eye, they will be all grown up.

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