Sunday, August 25, 2013

Empty nest



Yesterday, Cheryl and I returned to an empty home.  For the first time in 21 years, we had no children living underneath our roof.  Actually, we’ve had kids for 21 years and 2 weeks … but who’s counting?

I remember talking to a guy, many years ago, after a Wednesday night church service.  He had just dropped off his youngest daughter at college, and he and his wife were planning a road trip up to New England to see the fall foliage.  He sounded almost giddy.

I also remember hearing another guy—a minister—say how much he enjoyed the empty-nest years, because he and his wife could now be “romantic” any time of the day or night.

I have to say, I’m not feeling those things right now …

Yesterday, Cheryl and I returned to an empty home after saying goodbye to Kate at Hope College.  A week earlier, we said farewell to Cal at Liberty University.  Hope is 676 miles from home.  Liberty is 169 miles away.  But who’s counting?

We returned to a house that was as quiet as a church on a Saturday morning.  After unpacking our bags, we settled in for a couple of hours of uninterrupted television.  2 hours without a phone call or text.  2 hours without music playing in the background or video game explosions or showers running or toilets flushing or people in the kitchen popping open the fridge to look for a snack.

Absolute quiet.

Not even the sound of crickets.  Not even a peep from our cat who was asleep on the family room floor. 

And I’m beginning to realize that this empty-nest stuff is a mix of emotions.  Some are happy and some are sad, but right now the scales seem to be tipping a little bit toward the sad side.

I understand it’s a necessary transition.  I know it’s for the best.  I believe it will get better with time.  But I do miss our kids.  I do.

And so today, I go online to check out campus calendars, and I see that fall breaks are just around the corner.  It’s 39 days until Liberty’s break, and 47 days until Hope lets out.

But, then again, who’s counting?


8 comments:

  1. Mike, I still have two at home (and will have for quite some time), but we delivered our oldest child to college two weeks ago. She's only an hour away and I've got my Google calendar filled up with lots of opportunities to visit!

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    1. Nice! We're planning some visits as well. Is every other weekend too much? :-)

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  2. We took our oldest daughter to College yesterday. Even though there are still two "birds in the nest" the nest is smaller. I fight texting constantly to know what she is doing. Not because I don't trust her or I am being nosy....I just miss her. It has been a total of 30 hours. But who's counting.

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  3. We'll be praying for you all. I dread the day when our three sons leave. I plan on anesthetizing my pain by getting a few dogs.

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    1. Thanks, Bryan. 3 sons ... I figure 6 dogs should do the trick. :)

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  4. Mike, reading this reminded me of something another friend wrote recently that you may relate to. God bless you, all four.

    http://www.jeffmarx.blogspot.com/2013/08/on-telling-your-daughter-good-bye.html

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    1. Very good, Sheila ... thank you for sharing.

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