Pretend we are sitting down with cups of tea for a little chat. I’d like to share a little of what is on my heart. In five more days, I will officially have an empty nest. I don’t really like that term. “Empty” sounds so sad, forlorn and for lack of a better term, empty. My nest will not be empty. Empty of children, yes. Empty of people, no. My husband and I will still reside there.
I knew this day was coming sooner rather than later, so I have been trying to prepare myself. When you literally live half a world away from your children, I think it can hit you pretty hard. Missionary families do everything together. Each activity will be a reminder of the child that is no longer there to do this or that with you. There will be no visits for the holidays, birthdays or “just because.” We do have modern technology, so there will still be the long phone calls.
As I began preparing for this day, I asked some friends who have gone before me what helped them through this stage. One conclusion that we all came to is that this time of life can be trying. We are “losing” our kids, our bodies are changing in a manner that can make us think we are losing our minds and we have aging parents. Some of us have already lost or are facing losing the parents we hold so dear. This reality can surely shake what we thought was a sure foundation. I am finding that the foundation is sure. It is strong, but we will not know this if we do not keep our focus on our God Who.never.changes!
As you approach the empty nest, you will find that men and women approach this very differently. It does not mean that they do not think about it and even go through a time of grief of their own. In case you haven’t noticed, men don’t show their feelings like women do. I also think there is a side to them that is actually looking forward to these days. There are several episodes on the Cosby show where the father is rejoicing and throwing a party every time a child leaves home. It’s just one child closer to having his wife to himself. =) His “wife” didn’t seem to feel the same way.
Whenever I would talk about how lonely it will be and how empty the house will be without the kids, my dear hubby looked a little forlorn. When I shared this with a friend, she told me that when her last child started college, she wanted to get a full-time job. She told her husband all the good that could come from it of which one point would be more income. Her husband’s response was “Why can’t you just take care of me?” As I thought on this, I wondered if this might be what my husband is thinking.
As I prepare to drop off that last child at college on Friday and for my return trip to Japan and my husband, there is much to look forward to. It will be difficult to adjust to the lack of commotion at home. It feels strange not to be preparing for another homeschool year, but there is much to do. I will be available to be more of a help meet for my husband. I have more classes to teach. I will be studying Japanese is an effort to communicate better with the women around me. I will be making a comfortable “nest” for the wonderful man that I married. And who knows…maybe there will be a whole lot more dating going on than we ever had the time for before! 😉