Our daughter Libby had her first baby early last fall. After being married seven years she was very much looking forward to this incredible gift. Yet at the same time she had those questions many of us experience. “Mom,” she confided before the baby arrived, “Mac and I are so close that it’s a little scary to figure out how this baby will impact our marriage. Will the baby pull us apart? Can we still be as close when it’s not just the two of us?” “Yes,” I responded, “it will be different but even better. But you’ll just have to wait to see. It’s not anything you can imagine before the baby arrives! However I promise it will be wonderful!” And of course, it was.
Recently Libby and Mac left baby Greyson with her mother-in-law to go away for an overnight together—their first time away without her. When I called to ask how their “honeymoon” was she said, “It was wonderful, Mom, but both Mac and I realized that we felt incomplete without her.”
As I reflected on her insight I realized that’s often how we feel as Empty Nesters. There’s just something different without the presence of our children. It is not necessarily bad. There are many very wonderful things about the empty nest, but there is also an underlying sense of incompleteness. I feel most complete with all of my children under my own roof. That’s one reason holidays without our kids are hard. But we have to make peace with this incomplete feeling. It’s normal and it’s just a different season. It helps when we remember the past with thanksgiving while looking for the new blessings in this season!