Often times people associate an empty nest with an empty home when the last child leaves for college or gets married. When I first considered the idea of a blog, written for the sole purpose of connecting to people my age, I had this very thought. In fact, I was actually going to name my blog something to that effect. However, my daughter’s husband, who is witty and brilliant and so endearing, replied with a chuckle, “It’s never an empty nest,” and from that point forward I knew that had to be the name of my blog. Now that I am approaching retirement and reviewing my life experiences, I can see this statement is actually truer than I first realized.
I don’t know your circumstances, but for me, when my kids left the nest I thought the world had ended. My son left home and decided he wanted to try a new life in North Carolina. I thought my world had ended and I would never see him again. I thought his leaving was a direct reflection on my poor parenting skills, lack of love or something worse. My daughter and youngest child left the nest for college in Chicago at a tender age of 18. I cried, tried to console myself, my husband tried to console me, co-workers comforted me and assured me this despair would end. I finally realized in all reality the kids did not leave for good, they just started living their own life. I was still their mother, they were still my children and I was, in fact, going to be alright. Our daughter returned home, lived on her own (repeat, repeat) and then started traveling across the globe to end up living in India. Now that move was even harder to get through because it was completely different than I had ever expected and I could not fathom how on earth she could do that to me. I was sure at that point my parenting skills were to blame.
However, I have to tell you, after time I recognized it was a direct result of my husband and I’s parenting skills that they were brave enough, skilled enough and had the desire to find out what life had in store for them. What a blessing! We had raised confident, strong children and in time they both returned to the home in which they were raised, sometimes to stay for a few weeks, other times just for a night.
Both children are now married with homes and lives of their own, but our nest is always open, ready to accommodate weary travelers or provide a warm meal. Most importantly, our family has once again grown after our son and his wife blessed us earlier this year with our first grandson.
Thankfully, my son-in-law was right, and what I once thought would be our empty nest has become a full nest once again, and I couldn’t be happier.
Until we meet again, why don’t you think about some small and meaningful ways you can start to feather your nest, you never know who may need a place to perch.