My Nest Felt Full
My nest felt so full back then.
When my daughters were little, were underneath my feet all day, asking for goldfish crackers or fighting for their turn at games on our single desktop computer, it seemed this stage of life would last forever.
It was bittersweet as they aged out of it. First, my oldest, Morgan, moved out and left for college. I was sad. Her empty room mirrored my empty heart.
In no time, the baby, Jenna, also graduated from school. And from home.
It was only Jeff and I left.
Empty Nest Syndrome
How did we arrive at this station so soon?
Wasn’t it supposed to take eons before we had an empty nest?
Studies say that almost 25% of empty nesters develop Empty Nest Syndrome. It’s a season of mourning the loss of no children in the house, of changing roles from parent to…whatever comes next.
Nine years have passed since my nest emptied out. Another blink of an eye. While I was fortunate not to suffer long from Empty Nest Syndrome, I know many who have. It can be a difficult transition.
What are we to do with ourselves when the kids are gone, when our nest gets empty?
What we did next wasn’t what I expected . . .
When our kids left home, Jeff and I left home, too.
We hit the road.
- We drove back and forth to visit our daughters (although we tried not doing it TOO much, for their sake).
- I traveled with Jeff on his business trips.
- I took short trips with girlfriends.
Yet we always returned home. Happily.
Even though the nest contained less people in it, it was still our nest. Still our homebase. Still our refuge.
Is “Empty” the Right Word?
Much, much, much has happened between the beginning days of our empty nest and now. Some hard, but mostly good.
I’ve discovered “empty nest” may be a misnomer.
Yes, most of the time it is just Jeff and I in it.
But in actuality, just because less people live here full time doesn’t mean the nest is empty.
Even an empty nest can be full.
It’s full of memories, yes. And still full of love.
But occasionally, it’s even full of people. Even more people than in the past. A weekend ago every bed was taken, including the toddler bed and the crib.
Because our daughters flew the coop years ago, they fly back in now with company. They bring husbands with them. They bring children. They bring friends.
We’ve survived the empty nest by taking on new roles of mother-in-law and father-in-law, of Granna and Gramps.
We’ve moved into new ministries, traveled to new spaces, explored new aspects of our own relationship with each other, with ourselves, and with God.
Has it been easy transitions? Definitely not. Change is hard for me, even when it’s a good change. And harder when it’s a bad change.
There are still days when I look back and wonder: Where has that young mother gone? How did I turn into this middle-aged woman living with a middle-aged man, just two of us in this house?
But no nest is meant to last forever, unchanged, whether full or empty.
New nests are built, fill up, then empty out.
And life with its purpose moves on.
I want to stay flexible to move with it, empty of regrets but full of hope, for wherever God takes me next.
Our featured post this week is by Michele Morin. She is a new empty nester. Read her wise post to see how she is holding on and letting go in this season.
“While the steps are unfamiliar to me at this point, I’m discovering a certain excitement as I look around me at this empty-ing nest and see the wide open spaces of God’s good plans for the future.”
Read all of Michele’s post here, then link up your own blog posts below.
1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.
2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.
3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).
We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.
Now Let’s Link Up!
Do you have an empty nest? How does it feel? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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