So my youngest daughter (I have two daughters) had her first baby on March 6th…can I just tell you to say it is surreal is an understatement. This young woman, Allison, is my baby…life has come full circle once again. I know it happens every day and this cycle makes the world go around but honestly it overwhelms me. I sit and watch her hold her baby boy, Collin, and I think in my head, “did you know I held you just that way? Did you know I remember that feeling of what do I do now? I can see you with your thumb in your mouth. I can remember the color of your eyes, your distress cry, and most of all your smile.
I can tell you it is a full-heart yet empty nest feeling when your children have their own families. It is harder than the empty nest of college. This empty nest is for the rest of your life. I know it is a good thing and all is as it should be. They have good men who love them, children who are masterpieces, and they have many family and friends who love them.
I just feel a little lost to be honest.
It is not self pity. It has a mourning/grief component. The reality is distorted sometimes because obviously they are still my daughters and always will be. Their children will always be my grandchildren, yet each are a family unit in and of themselves and I am not part of that intimacy. I am in the next best intimate position however and for that I am eternally grateful. So why the sadness at times? I don’t think there is any other answer but that it is part of life. My life ‘s scope is narrowing and my daughter’s and their families are racing off to catch up with their dreams! My life is slower and the sphere is smaller now. I have more time to remember, think, and ponder life than I did twenty years ago. Those years have flown by as everyone who has ever lived will tell you.
As a true empty nester I find I must stay in the joy when I am able to have my sweet family around me. I cherish each time a grandchild is with me, even if it is for just a couple of hours or a vacation together. I love seeing my daughter’s text on my phone or getting a call to come over or go to lunch.
When it is just my husband and I there is a quietness that honestly makes us sad at times. At other times the kids have worn us out and we are glad for a rest but always looking forward to the next time.
Some may respond to me by saying, “get a life!” My response to that is that I have a life but it is not the same. One thing that younger people don’t know yet is that core friendships had in your twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties can get lost or changed for a myriad of reasons and building new relationships as you age becomes much more difficult. It is not as if we now go to bars and parties to meet new people. Oh yes we can join clubs and churches and hope to find new friends but the cultural climate makes this difficult. We have tried this and continue to try.
It is different and now that I am in my sixties I am searching for what my life will be. So I guess my point is we never stop developing and growing our life. It takes work to persevere and serve and fulfill but I think it is perfectly okay for me to say it feels hard some days and I am okay with that.
This stage in my life also confirms to me even more that there is something innate in us that knows there is something more…there is a unity the can’t be broken but there is a unity that does become more distant, as it must.
I have no complaints. I am grateful to God for all of his gifts and I will journey on to see what lies ahead. Here is to all of you true empty nesters that know what I am attempting to say…journey on! Peace.