View from the Empty Nest
I wrote this article a year ago, when our last child moved away from home. Anyone else out there feel this way?
The old timers said it would happen; they called it the empty nest syndrome. Coming home to a quiet house. Talking to the dog out of boredom. Turning on the radio for some noise.
Anyone who has raised a large family knows what I'm talking about. One day you're elbow-deep in cooking and laundry, the next you're wandering about the house, wondering what to do with your time. And that's only the first week.
Of course, we're glad to see our fledglings circle above the nest, test their wings, and take off. We groomed them for independence for a long time. But no one can prepare a person for the sudden stillness. It's like driving 80 miles per hour, then stopping suddenly. It takes a while to overcome the trauma.
Fortunately, God cushioned the shock as much as possible before it happened. The week our last child moved out, we were busy preparing for a speaking engagement.. Our minds were focused on fine-tuning details for the meetings we were going to attend. There was no time for withdrawal symptoms.
Then, it hit. Arriving home after the trip, we unlocked the door and felt like we were tiptoeing into a quiet church sanctuary. No shoes by the door, no books flung on the kitchen table, nothing to wash in the laundry basket. All signs of no occupancy. And now I'm challenged with cooking for two. We've been eating a lot of leftovers.
Oh, don't pity me. Like a baby suddenly thrust into the world, I'm re-discovering new things every day. The value of a bathroom uncluttered by wet towels. Time for reading those books gathering dust on the shelves. Having room to back the car out of the drive without maneuvering around other vehicles. I think I may survive.
During World War II they called it shell shock. Just give me a little time; I'm like a soldier climbing out of the trenches. V-day has arrived. So, why am I sniffling?