View from the Empty Nest
I wrote this article after our youngest child left home a few years ago.
The old timers said it would happen. They call 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 children 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 were glad to see our fledglings circle above the nest, test their wings, and take off. We’ve been grooming 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 for us. The week our last child moved out we were busy preparing for a trip out east. Our minds were focused on fine-tuning details for the meetings we were going to attend. There was no time for early withdrawal symptoms.
Then it hit. Arriving home after the trip, we unlocked our 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 child suddenly thrust into the world, I’m 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?
How about you? Any experience in coping with Empty Nest Syndrome? We'd like to see your comments below.