A term used to describe what it’s like when all your children leave home either to pursue a career in University, or spread their own wings above the winds of their individual talents and dreams.
Empty Nesting.The quiet after the storm.
When couples who have devoted years to their children by working to support them, juggling schedules and games, calming hormones and mending broken hearts, now find themselves alone together, wondering what to say and how to be a couple again.
For many it’s a time for self-reflection. “What have I accomplished for myself all these years?”
For many it’s a time to do what they’ve put off doing in order to be present for their children while they were at home.
For many, far too many, they find themselves drifted apart and falling into awkward silence over the dinner table.
For me, I feel like the time flew by. I call my Kids a lot and tell them I miss them, and though I don’t want them to feel guilted into coming home, I want them to come home at every possible window of their spare time.
But it wasn’t until my Daughter and Son told me that they just want to see me happy and start to do the things that make me happy, that I real-eyes’d that parenting hasn’t stopped just because they are no longer at home. With their eyes wide open they are taking in everything I do! It’s time to parent by example more so now than ever before!
I was so blessed to be able to stay home with my children all their lives. We did not want our Children raised by anyone else, and even when my first husband and I separated, he supported our vow to raise our Children ourselves.
I loved every blessed, fun crazy moment of it! It was an experience in my life that I cannot compare to any other. But it is not the ALL of me.
I eventually remarried. A man who is as devoted a Father as I am a Mom stole my heart with his incredible commitment to family and devotion to his Children.
We blended at a time when our Children were just starting to head out the door. We shared, in angst sometimes, how we raised them, how we missed them, how time seemed fleeting. We shared our favorite memories and our deepest regrets.
We not only discovered how precious every moment of raising our Children were, but also how important it was to be prepared for when they are grown and on their own and we are left on our own. We were already showing the grieving signs of empty nesting before the last one was out the door!
So we promised to Never Stop Dating.
That thing you do when the guy picks up the girl at 7:00 pm on a Friday night, rings the door bell with a token of sentiment in hand and takes her away to be alone together. To explore one another. To share, to captivate, and to caress one another. Remember that time?
So now, we are Empty Nesters. And though some may still consider us newly weds, (a cutting edge to someone married 25 years or more), we feel the pull of the emptiness, individually and together.
We have the “I wish’s” and the “If only’s” along with the “time went too fast’s”, “what do we do now’s” and “where did it all go’s”.
So we take every opportunity we can to date! From a hand-holding walk in the evening, to dinner out with friends. From dressing up to take in a movie, to a hike or bike picnic on a trail we have yet to charter!
We also take time out to be with our own friends, pursue our own goals so that we have individual things to share when we wrap one another up after a bit of time away. We do not want that awkward silence between us at the dinner table!
We made another promise to one another. Never Stop Dreaming!
So here we are in Canmore, Alberta on a bright warm October day, a Monday none the less, ‘dating’ along the bike trails through the town and dedicated pathways in the middle of the day.
We are blessed that our work allows us the flexibility to take advantage of a day such as this. We pull up along the river bank and stop to breathe in the fresh mountain air. The river is gurgling and rushing over rocks and fallen timber. The mountains have carved a jagged edge along the blue skyline. We look at one another and smile.
We are living a dream! Work that is flexible and allows us to reside in the magnificence of Kananaskis Country! I can write my book and sing my songs, and He can devote time to His philanthropy and pursue His goals! Our Children see this! They are not burdened by our grief of missing them, they are inspired to live to their fullest!
We are Full Empty Nesters!
We are free to be wherever the wind calls us! We are free, on a whim, to be by the side of either of our Children at any given notice! We are free to explore Ourselves with a deeper thirst for life and claim our own purpose, goals and ambitions. We will show them that life does not stop when they leave. What a burden to put on our Children?
Life blossoms even richer, brighter blooms in the summer and autumn of our years! We are free to fill up our lives! To give our Children even more to look forward to!
It is NOT a stage of loss, grief and “what now?’s”
Empty nesting is not empty at all!
It is Full and Free and Fabulous!
Remember…Dreams Never Expire…not even when you retire!