About a year ago, I was waving my daughters goodbye as one headed to college and one headed to a year-long internship. Our sons were already out on their own, one married and living in Cincinnati, the other in the Army stationed in North Carolina. I blogged about our empty nest here in our little house by the river. I soaked in the quiet and took a season of rest. I watched Netflix, went to the gym, slept, read, and took care of myself for about two and a half months. Then the nest started filling up again.
I won’t tell their stories, but I will say that each of the girls were home with us for about six months, with about three of those months overlapping. I don’t think any of us would say they were easy months, but they were good months. Those months gave us a chance to say some things that needed saying, to shout some things that needed shouting, to sit together, to cry together, and to laugh together. I am very thankful for those months with our girls.
So thankful, in fact, that this past weekend after we had the privilege of helping them set up their first apartment together in Boston, I wept as we drove away. I love those girls. They know me and care for me more deeply than anyone else, with the possible exception of my husband. They somehow see into me and sense things that I do not say out loud. They are attentive and caring. They are tender. They are loving.
It does my heart so much good to know that they are starting their next chapters together — that they will have the support and love that only sisters can give. And at the same time, I am feeling just a little bit lonely today.
Yes, I am in my empty nest in my house by the river. It is truly beautiful and peaceful. My doggy is sleeping by my feet. I am finishing my tea as I type. I am back where I started one year ago. It is a good season, this one that I am re-entering. But, it is bittersweet.
The girls must sense, even from twelve hours away, that I am a little melancholy this morning. Both of them have already texted me and asked how I am doing. In fact, since we pulled away from their new digs on Saturday, I have talked to each of them each day. They are settling in to their next chapter while I am reacquainting myself with mine.
I hear us encouraging each other over and over, “You’re doing great!” “I’m proud of you!” “You’ve got this!” “I love you!” “I miss you!” They are teaching me that these things need to be said out loud over and over again. They have been teaching me their whole lives.
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!