Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Approaching the empty nest

With a name like "robbin" I guess this is appropriate talking about an empty nest. I've been watching my friends go through it and, lo and behold, on the Today Show, there was a segment called "Flying Solo - Coping When Kids Fly the Coop." There are three stages of feelings when parents become emptynesters: Stage 1 - Grief; Stage 2 - Relief; Stage 3 - Joy. I think I have all three stages of feelings rolled up in one - and she isn't even gone yet. On the one hand, I'm feeling sad because I see all my days of parenting flash before my eyes: toddlers, elementary school, junior high/high school, the open houses at the schools, birthday parties, all their friends and overnighters, going to the volleyball/basketball/softball games - here and away (All-Stars), wedding - one daughter launched.

And now our other daughter is heading to OR to go to school. My husband went up with her once to find a place to live - she came back. We drove up there with a van full of stuff - she came back again. We are taking one more trip to take her cat, her bike and the rest of her stuff - this time she won't be coming back with us. I know that's when it will hit me the most (although I feel tears right now as I'm writing). So...on the other hand, I'm happy and relieved. I'm happy for her and relieved (proud) that she has been heading towards this goal for a long time and is achieving her dream of living on her own, finishing college and just plain old growing up. She is excited and a little scared because she knows no one up there but, knowing her, she'll have friends pretty quickly.

I am looking forward to using another room for myself. I'm looking forward to not wondering if she is coming home at night (she would let me know most of the time). I'm looking forward to having a fur-free home. And as one mom on the show said, "I'm looking forward in September...we're going to be like newlyweds." But most of all, I'm looking forward to see where God is going to want me to serve Him as I'm feeling like I need change in my life right now as we head towards this empty nest...along with my husband, of course.

Although the full-time parenting here at home is done, we will never quit parenting our kids. They know we love them unconditionally and that we are there for them no matter what. Just as God is here with us and guiding us along life's way.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." Psalm 143:8

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