I just talked to my daughter. Ashley has five — count them — five boys! They are all 10 and under. She was telling me today how tired she is. Bless her. I listened and tried to encourage her. I remember so well how she feels, and I told her so. It doesn’t take away her fatigue, but hopefully it does make her feel understood. She knows it will end someday, but today that seems like an eternity away with little ones who have been sick a lot this winter and who are constantly hanging on her like ornaments on a Christmas tree.

But it does end.

They do grow up and leave. And it’s not all sad.

After I hung up the phone, I realized what a gift it was to be in the empty nest. I am so free compared to Ashley, who feels as though she is in prison many days. It is a gorgeous spring day today, and I can choose to go outside and dig in the yard, or I can continue to do email if I want. I can get out my paints and create, or get in the car, run errands, and not have to be home before the kids get home from school! Hooray!!! What freedom.

I cleaned the kitchen thoroughly on Wednesday afternoon before we had friends over for dinner, and it’s still looking clean. No horde of teens rampage through with cokes, chips, cookies, nachos, and cheese dip that drips everywhere and turns to concrete overnight.

Dennis will be home soon, and we are planning a special dinner for the two of us. We have something to celebrate, and after being sick all week, I’m ready to party! Can’t do that with a house full of kids!

So, today I’m rejoicing over the positives. Next week, I may unexpectedly feel sad again over the time that once was. But it is not next week yet, so I will do as Paul exhorted us and, “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).