Today I’m so pleased to introduce Gina of At Home My Way, who is guest posting for me today. I almost titled this post, “Ding Dong The Kids Are Gone,” but that’s just my warped sense of humor and isn’t in keeping with the beautiful post Gina wrote about how she has been able to overcome the heartbreak of an empty nest and find joy in it, along with everything else that is happening in this chapter of her life. This is something that I might never know, which is another reason I was so glad to have her fill in for me, because most of the population will go or has gone through this at some point, and I can’t address it from my own experience. Thank you Gina for helping a sister out! :)
To say I was shocked when Veronica asked me to guest post on her blog is a huge UNDERSTATEMENT! Wow! I was so honored…. ALMOST rendered me speechless (note I said “almost”)… Those who know me know that I am rarely speechless. LOL. I tried to think of something very specific that I am thankful for at this very moment. Of course, I am always thankful for God and my family. But, specifically something that I am particularly thankful for at this very moment is … that I am where I am! Sounds like the beginning of a Dr. Seuss book, huh? But, I AM thankful that I have made it to this point in my life; that I AM WHERE I AM. Let me explain…
At this season of my life (I’m 45), my children are almost grown (well… one is, technically). My husband and I both have good jobs with normal hours. With that comes regular paychecks (need I say more?). In this season of my life, I have all of my immediate family in the same state. I have been blessed with wonderful in-laws. There are just so many things that make me thankful for being who I am at this very moment, living with a mostly empty nest.
That’s not to say I was super happy about seeing these days arrive. Oh no! Upon dropping our younger daughter off at the University two hours from home, I cried like a baby all the way home. Not just weepy – oh no! I mean sobbing, hiccuping, crying like a big baby! I sat in the dark for two days until my husband came in, opened the blinds, and coaxed me out.
The kicker is that I never saw it coming. I have always worked full-time (plus commute time) so my daughters are fairly independent. What I mean is that I had lots of life outside being a mom (or so I THOUGHT! LOL!). But, when THEY LEFT? Both of them? Ickk – it was like a punch to the stomach. In one of my crying jags when I went to start supper one night I told my husband, “bbbb-but, I don’t have anyone to cook for anymore.” He chuckled (trying to calm me down) and said “Hey! Don’t think this means the kitchen is closed. The kitchen is NOT CLOSED!”
After only about five months, I am really warming to this idea of having grown children. My days start out pretty quiet. Days of rushing little ones out of bed, trying to get loads of laundry started or folded (before leaving the house at 7:15AM), finding uniforms, checking backpacks, delivering kids to school or babysitters, checking sports schedules, are gone. My husband and I have only ourselves to get ready. Wow! Yes, I do miss those little ones. I miss making bowls of Fruit Loops and packing Lisa Frank lunch boxes. But man, it was quite chaotic at times and I’ll have to say I enjoy a reprieve from all that it took to be a working Mom.
*I am thankful for calm mornings.
The next thing I am thankful for is my husband’s new job. My husband was always a self-employed contractor/carpenter. He now is a building inspector in the city where I work, which means I no longer have to trek icy roads alone. We ride together each morning (I tell him, he’s “driving Miss Daisy”). There was a time when we hardly had five minutes alone with each other. Now we not only get the commute to and from work, but we get to come home together.
* I am thankful for time alone with the man I still love to hang out with.
My parents always lived 1200 miles from me. I prayed but knew there would never be a solution to how they would come home to me. But, they did! They retired in Missouri. Not long after that, my brother and his wife made the journey back home.
*I am thankful for the time to spend with ALL of my family.
The final thing that I am most grateful for in this season of my life is that I have two bright, beautiful, and GOOD daughters! So many kids are lost these days. They have addictions and motivation problems. There are families I know whose children are just so lost – and I am so very grateful that my girls are motivated, hard working, healthy, and happy!
* I am thankful that my daughters are terrific young women.
When the day comes that you find your own nest empty. Try not to focus on the unwanted change that is thrown upon you, but look around at all that you have accomplished and remember what it is like to be YOU. And if you’re like me, its not long before the texts are chiming and the phones ringing and its one of your children saying, “Mom????? I know its 9PM and you are in your PJ’s, but I don’t want to go grocery shopping alone. Will you go with me?” (Sigh)… a mother’s work is never done.
Blessed is what I am – I have much to be thankful for!