Well, it has happened. Five months ago, I became an “empty-nester”. I must say, it came entirely too quickly and I certainly was not ready, much the way many things seem to come in this life.
I wrote a blog post last fall when I was in the midst of my baby girl moving away. I read that post a couple of weeks ago and realized that I have learned some things that I might need to share.
Truthfully, I didn’t have an acceptance of it in my heart when I wrote the first post. For five months I have battled with the reality of it. I know there are some parents that say, “It was time”, or that they were, “looking forward to it”, and I do not fault them for that feeling at all. I was just not in that emotional place. I was however, excited for both of my daughters when they left home to see what God had in store for them!
So this is where I am now and it seems to be a pretty good emotional place. I want to share it with you in hopes that it might help someone who may be going through the same situation. I still have a long way to go before I am a great parent of adult children. There are many things that I will just have to figure out as I go. But there is one thing that I know – I will continue to live love and I will continue to pray.
My daughters – oh how I love them. They are miracle babies and I will go into that story at another time.
My oldest is married now to a wonderful young man who is a youth minister. She has just started a new job at the local hospital. She serves diligently beside her husband ministering to the youth and children of their community. My youngest – 8 years later – left for college in August. She plans to be a pediatric nurse or nurse practitioner. She loves children and has an amazing passion for missions.
They are both extremely, independent, strong, and loving young women. My husband and I laugh sometimes and say that we definitely succeeded in teaching them to be independent thinkers! But, most important, they are bold in their faith.
I would love to say that I have no regrets in the way I raised my girls. As a young woman, and especially a young mom, that was my lofty goal in life – to live with no regrets. Instead, I have learned that real moms make mistakes and that the most dedicated Christian women still have regrets. It took me a long time to accept that concept in my life. Real moms would like to have a few “do-overs”! I am definitely a real mom.
So here is my plan. I have not been totally successful but I believe it is working and I want to share it with you.
To live love as an empty nester, I will continue to pray for my children. I will pray for them as young adults. I will trust God that He loves them even more than I do….I will pray!
I will give them my unconditional love; knowing that there are some mistakes they are going to have to make and lessons they are going to have to learn on their own. Do I wish they would have just learned from the mistakes I have already made – YES. But instead, I will pray!
I will do my best to be an example of a Godly woman for them. I will work hard, play freely, serve selflessly, show compassion for others, and try my best to see the world through God’s eyes. I will pray!
I will welcome the times when they need me and respect the times when they don’t. I will pray!
I will love their Dad with all my heart and try my best to give them an example of a Godly wife and a Godly marriage. I will pray!
I will work diligently to loosen my grip and allow them to fly on their own. But, I will always have my wings available and open to shelter them in any storm of life no matter how old they are. I will pray!
I will love and care for my own Mom with compassion and deep devotion. I will pray!
I will cherish every moment that I get to spend with them but will remember that they have their own lives to live now. I will pray!
I will thank God daily for His most precious gift of my daughters….my miracle babies. I will pray!
I will remind myself often that I dedicated them to God before they were ever born. They are His children that He gifted to me in this life. His plans for them are perfect and I will trust Him. I will pray!
I praise God for bringing me to this new chapter in my life. It is full of memories and love and hope. It is full of possibilities and joy and family. I will embrace it. You see, my empty nest is actually not empty at all. It is full to overflowing!