My husband and I officially became emptynesterers in August of 2016 when our youngest left for college. We have two sons and they are only 18 months apart and have always been just a grade apart in school. Which, yes, means exactly what you are thinking . . . they both left our home within a year of each other. It wasn’t easy on us, but we not only survived, we are learning to embrace this new chapter. Thankfully, we were and still are in a very good (healthy) place in our marriage and have our priorities in the right order (this takes a lot of hard work), and have a strong relationship with our Lord and Savior. And those two things were very important factors in us making this life transition.
Something very important that we learned (and we are still learning, for we are only 2 years into this process) is we had to be INTENTIONAL about not only our relationship with the Lord and each other, but with friendships. You see we found when our boys graduated, all of the events they participated in (baseball tournaments, football games, power-lifting meets, choir concerts, theater and orchestra performances, concerts, band competitions, piano recitals, etc), the events that filled our weeknights and weekends, came to a screeching halt . . . and so did our social life, because we were no longer spending week after week in the bleachers, auditoriums and gyms with our baseball parent friends, and theater parent friends and . . . , well, you get the point. We were suddenly “social loners”. On top of this, we had also made the decision to move to a community where my sister’s family lived, which was 25 minutes north of the school district where our boys attended grades K-12 in school after they graduated. The move brought us to a wonderful community, but we knew only a few families. So the need to be connected became stronger and much more obvious. We knew we had to be intentional so we would have friendships as we grow older and retire one day. Five months into our move we decided to start looking for a new church near our new neighborhood. Within a few weeks, God brought us to our current church home where we were immediately welcomed and felt instantly at home. What a blessing it was to be connected to people again and not just because of a sport or activity our boys were involved in, but because we chose to be intentional. We have formed several new relationships and have found a place to serve and minister together, arm-in-arm with some wonderful people of God. If a church home is something you are lacking in your life, or if you aren’t tied in closely with your current church, we strongly recommend getting plugged in. But you have to be willing and intentional.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
I will close with I note I posted to social media right before our 2nd son moved out (we were also intentional with our parenting, as tiring and hard as that job is, it is worth doing right, doing INTENTIONALLY):
August 12, 2016
My “soon to be empty-nester” reflections:
As I was doing dishes this morning, it dawned on me that there won’t be as many full dishwasher loads around here in a few days, and I won’t be making too many more sandwiches, the laundry will be caught up, our 2nd bathroom will stay clean, the entry way will be free and clear of backpacks and sports equipment, etc, the trash cans won’t be in a constant state of overflow, grocery bills will be a dream, (as well as the water bill) ….the list goes on and on of all those household chores that will barely exist anymore, of all the things I have been looking forward to happening around here…
BUT it will also be a reminder of how much you two will be missed. We just want you boys to know that EVERYTHING your dad and I have done or sacrificed with you and for you, including: the getting up early, staying up late, the driving all night, the moves, the trials, the tears, the heartbreaks, the working multiple jobs, the celebrations, the victories, etc, etc etc. has been MORE than worth it! We would do it 1000 times more, because we love providing for you! God gifted us with AMAZING children, children we’re not sure we deserved. I’m still in awe that I was selected to be your mom. I still don’t comprehend why I was chosen, but I went with it and did the best I knew how, looking to God to guide me. I’m sure made a MILLION mistakes, but I hope I was able to make right on those mistakes.
Now, as we let you BOTH go into this next chapter, we are at Peace with how we have raised you and know that the Lord will continue to care for you far better than we are able. We are always here for you, but God is nearer. I thank the Lord for entrusting us to get you two this far. Our parenting job isn’t over, it’s just a little different. We promise to make the most of this empty-nester chapter God is ushering us into, for we have BIG, BIG plans! We also look forward to supporting you and watching you both continue to develop into the men God intends! Thankful for the baseball and music performances that are still in our future (we just have to drive a bit further).
We let you go, for it is not our place to hold you back anymore.
Go for your dreams, study hard, love, lead and encourage others, and NEVER stop building your relationship with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You are loved beyond measure! And you will be prayed for, that will never cease.
Bursting with more Love than I ever imagined,
P.S. (I don’t care what anyone says, you CAN experience two emotions at the same time, pure joy/excitement for them and sadness – only because we will miss their daily physical presence in our lives. It’s my definition of bittersweet.)
I want to add that while both our boys attend college 10 hours away, we are blessed to make a few trips each semester to visit them and watch them perform. And yes, there are school holidays and breaks, so we have the blessing of them coming home a few times during the year as well.
May you be encouraged today, no matter the season you find yourself in, to be INTENTIONAL and do it in His name, so His Glory can shine through you.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Colossians 3:23
Much encouragement and love,