Empty Nests and This Whole Thankfulness Bizness…

(photo credit to Kylee Baumle)

I’m sitting here in my nice house, with the heat on, Janie by my side (duh). Honestly, if you asked, I might whine a little bit. Because it’s quiet.

Really quiet.

#1, being first and all, left a long time ago. We are so blessed with every moment we spend with her, but it’s never enough. Unlike the hubby, at least I’m on social media so I get to see what she’s up to. I “see” her so-fun weekends with her friends or the sweet things her guy does for her. And I’m so grateful. I love seeing where she is now with her life. Work is kicking her scrawny butt, but she is keeping it all in perspective.  I’m lucky that work affords me more than the occasional chance to be in her city. Bonus time, I’d call it.

Then there’s #2, who barely looked back after leaving for college, even though we’re in the same town. She’s found her niche, doing such great things. I’m SO! CRAZY!! PROUD!!! of who she’s become. Such amazing spunk. Such a humongous heart. What she does for the people she serves moves me to tears. We should all seek to serve like she does. When I think of the depths she’s plumbed in her life and then I look at her now, I think, wow, that girl is amazing. And she is.

The biggest reason it’s quiet in my house is because my last kid is off at college. Yes, #3 has flown the coop, and so I’m doing that empty nest thing. Gotta say, I hate the empty nest thing. Maybe some people would call it tranquil. I remember the mornings when I’d hear her tumble down the stairs and those flat baby feet would come running down the hallway until she burst into our room, diving onto our bed so we could hug and laugh and tickle and cuddle. I remember playing patty-cake with her and she would never smile (in fact she’d look at me like I was nuts). No hint of the fun-loving, belly-laughing one she’d become not-much-later in life. What a joy. How sad I am that I don’t get to see that every day. Not anymore.

I sit here feeling a little bit sorry for myself. Because my perfectly healthy children grew up and did what they’re supposed to do.

They flew.

Then, I think about my friend. The one whose son was in #3’s class. My friend whose younger son, just two years younger than #3, was killed in an ATV accident in August. And I think…

THAT’S silence.

THAT’S an empty nest.

THAT’S a child leaving.

THAT’S something to whine about.

My friend doesn’t whine. She’s that kind of person. Strong as an ox. Me, I’d be a mess, hiding under a rock somewhere, pulling out my hair.

But not her.

She misses her boy. Of course she does. She posts about it. She mourns for him. It’s a wound that will never, ever heal. But, she keeps putting one foot in front of the other.

She’s the strongest person I know.

So, I’m thankful for the silence in my house. I’m grateful my children are happy and healthy, even though I don’t see them as much as I might like.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my empty nest, on behalf of my friend who got hers much too soon.

Love you, G.

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