Mentor's Moments

My Second Empty Nest

I am facing my second Empty Nest. Eight years ago we sent our youngest off to college. We had five, so we were parenting for a long time. I must confess Joe and I enjoyed the privacy after years of having children around the house. I wondered what I would do with myself since I had given up the Career track and had been a Mommie for so many years. Many Moms today can combine work and mothering with the new generation of helpful fathers, but I had decided with Joe, an orthopedic surgeon, working the long hours he always has, that the children would not have enough parenting if I tried to work.  

I did not have long to wonder what I would do with my time, however, because the next spring, both my daughters were separated. Beth's husband asked us to come get her and son, and they’ve been with us ever since.  Beth wanted KJ to experience a marriage that worked, because she did not want him to think divorce is God's plan, and she did not want him in daycare.

At two years old, KJ had serious abandonment issues, and he was used to a full-time Mom. Beth went to work, then to graduate school, and, as most of you know, she finished Law School in May. She is clerking for a judge in Webster Springs, and they will move on October 11. I have been helping take him to school and pick him up for many years now--I even worked in his preschool classroom to help him begin to separate. He was so clingy, if Mommy wasn't there, Grammy had to be. Now he is a popular, happy, and confident young man, well able to tolerate a new community and a new school, even if it will be a bit tough.

Now the house will be quiet again, and how thankful I am that I invested in my marriage. Too often mommies forget that one day the children will be gone, and they find they do not know/like their husbands. Right now you cannot imagine life without kids, but the day will come all too soon. With a mixture of pride and longing, you send them off. I find the mothers who are the most content, the most ready for Empty Nest, are the ones who have invested themselves in their children's lives, done it all and done it well, while loving their husbands.    

I have no regrets as I move into a different stage of life--Joe and I are going to ride on the Potomac Eagle scenic train this month—we’ve wanted to do that since we moved to West Virginia in 1984, and that is just the beginning.