When my daughter went off the college in a town two hours from home, I identified this time as having an empty nest. The first time I saw my aunt and cousin, they rushed to ask me how I liked having an empty nest. I said, “I like it.” To which came the reply of, “I thought you would.”
I was afraid I would be distraught; however, I enjoyed some aspects of the situation. Why? Even now at 21, my daughter sticks to me like glue. I don’t mind spending a lot of time together since the visits are not extensive, save for Christmas Break. In the summer of her freshman year, she landed an internship with the mental health services in her college town, which left her only 2 weeks until heading off for sophomore year. The summer of her sophomore year she worked a part-time job, so she wasn’t here 24/7 and she spent some time with her friends from high school.
The rest of the time she was with me. If I was resting, she was with me; if I was working on the computer, she was with me and right up until I was ready to turn out the light and go to sleep, she was with me. I am a person who needs a little quality time alone. I enjoy some solitude. Hey, Jesus did it and we know we should emulate Him! And, as a mom, no matter how old the child, you are always “on.” You are on duty, cooking, answering questions, etc. You run the household even when you don’t want to. I want to spend quality time with her, but sometimes I feel the weight of the house on me when I just want to take a nap!
So, empty nest–cool. Praise the Lord, she found, in a Bible Study group, a young man that she later began to date and has been with now for nearly four years. He is her first real boyfriend, now her fiancé, and soon she will be his wife. He is a great guy and we are thrilled to add him to our family. This year he will come and be with us for Christmas. It will be the first time in many years that the three of us (dad, mom, and child) will not be alone on Christmas. It’s a new custom which will unfold into alternating Thanksgivings and Christmases between the families. Next year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it will be just Dad and me. Naturally they will come soon after, but it will be different.
Her dad keeps saying, “She doesn’t live here anymore.” I do not want to hear that, but of course, he is right. She will not be living here anymore; she will visit but “home” will be somewhere else. She currently lives with two roommates. In August, she will move into her own apartment where she will live alone until they are married in November; then he will move in with her. And she also has a great job at a hospital. It’s a miraculous gift from God.
That will be her new home with her husband. So now comes, for me, the real empty nest. No more holing up in the bedroom just the two of us watching movies (my favorite thing). I understand that our relationship will evolve into something else; it’s strange to think of it, though. Now I am sad and glad at the same time. Naturally, I want her to get married (and start making some grand babies eventually) and make her own life because that is the proper order of things. Just like hosts of others, I don’t like change. It is necessarily, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Not at first anyway!
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:15-24(NIV)
Do you have an empty nest? How did you feel when your child first left home?