Is Your Nest Emptying?

If you have a child who was married this summer, or you’ve just taken one to college, or even sent your last one out the door for his senior year, you are probably a bit of an emotional mess. The empty nest hits us in different ways at different times and often when we least expect it!

How well I remember dropping our last child, Susy, off at college and beginning the long drive home.  The week before we had left her twin sister, Libby, at another college. So not only was I sending off my last two at once, but it also was the first time the girls–who are very close–were separated.

My husband, John, thought this would be a celebration of sorts for us. All those years of daily parenting five children would be finished and now we could focus a bit more on us. So he planned an overnight stay on the drive home at a romantic lodge in the mountains.

As we pulled away from the college campus my tears started to flow. I felt like my life was over. My main job of parenting was done. What was my purpose to be now? I ached because of the sadness the girls were experiencing in being separated. It had been their idea to go to different colleges, but none of us anticipated the pain this would cause.

In the midst of my tears I tried to explain my feelings to my husband. Feelings I couldn’t even understand. I felt lonely in my misery. I felt guilty. After all it was a good thing! And I had a great husband who was trying to please me. Yet I was miserable. Needless to say our romantic getaway wasn’t very romantic!

You may not experience sadness at having just sent a child off. In fact, you may be thrilled. Everyone is different and you never know when the emotions of the empty nest will hit you.  It may not be until your last child is married. Or you may grieve when they begin high school.

This season is not neat. It’s messy. And there’s not much written about it to guide us through it.  But God does have a new plan for each of us as we approach the empty nest. And it is exciting.

Because Barbara Rainey and I couldn’t find much to help us as we navigated this season, we decided to write a book together; we needed some help ourselves!  Interviewing women across the country who were in various stages of the empty nest was a comfort to both of us. We learned so much from them.  We hope you’ll be encouraged by what we discovered.  Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest is available at familylife.com and other venues as well.

You Might Also Like:

:: Mixed Feelings Stirred Up by the Empty Nest (via FamilyLife Today)
:: Changing Relationships (via FamilyLife Today)
:: Overcoming the Challenges of an Empty Nest
:: Overcoming Loneliness when Your Children Leave the Nest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

One thought on “Is Your Nest Emptying?

  1. Thank you. I came to this article through spying another article. Yes…this seems to be the year. My life as a homeschooling mom ended this spring. My 2 older girls have already left the home; the youngest daughter is heading back for her senior year, then to go for her Master’s; our youngest – our only son starts community college this Fall, and the heartbreak if all is my 3rd daughter leaving the home to pursue dreams. Feelings of failure, guilt, etc., have clouded my vision and hopes for her. I will plan on reading your book about the empty nester. I’m not alone. God bless!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Adult Sons

A recent comment on our blog came from Elaine, who wrote to say: Right now the “when-then” in my life is “when our oldest son decides to include us in his life again, then I will be happy.” She wrote with an obvious sense of loss and pain over this changed relationship. I am so grateful Continue »

You’ll Always Be His Mama!

By Deb DeArmond That beautiful bundle I’m holding is my new grandson, Kohen. He is 16 weeks old and already making himself heard in this world. Just ask his parents about the sanctity of sleep. They have a whole new appreciation for it these days. We celebrated his mama, my daughter-in-law, Heather, at a baby Continue »

An Empty Nest Christmas

“This Christmas is going to be so hard, really hard. I’m already dreading it.” I vividly remember this heartache of a few years ago. It was to be our first Christmas without any kids. Our twin daughters had both married the summer before, and now that all five of our kids were married, it meant we Continue »

Always a Mom

Summer is forest fire season in Arizona, and right now the fires are raging in full force. They’re front-page copy in many newspapers and first lead reports on hourly newscasts as we watch the drama of evacuations, lost homes, and grueling firefighting. What used to be a bystander’s curiosity has now turned into a personal Continue »

A Springtime Tradition

I watch with excitement as our crepe myrtle trees bloom among the azaleas and as the cherry blossoms flutter like snow in the wind. The trees, bushes, and flowers “dress up” in spring. The smell of spring flowers and mowed grass is inviting, and even washing down the yellow pollen dust on my driveway is Continue »