WARNING: Children of mine (and you know who you are) should refrain from reading any further as they are guaranteed to find it mind-cringingly embarrassing.
I’m the proud father of two wonderful grown-up kids. And there’s the first amazing thing: they’re grown up. When they’re little you just can’t imagine them ever being adults. But, believe me, it happens. You just have to wait long enough. What’s more, notwithstanding the cultural and economic changes that are conspiring to shift the trends of children staying with, or returning to, parents, ours have, in fact, gone. Left. Departed the parental home. Creating, in the process, the proverbial Empty Nest.
For us it’s been a long transition, beginning with our eldest heading off to university over four years ago and ending in the last three months with our youngest getting married and our already-married eldest moving away after getting a new job. So now we’re delighted that they both have a spouse, their own place and their own lives in another part of the country. We’re proud. We thank God for them. It’s sweet.
It’s also sad.
The pride and the sweetness are tinged with, with…emptiness. That’s the thing about empty nests, I guess.
In no way whatsoever do we wish they were still here, not really. Nor that they were young again; God forbid 🙂 To say we are thrilled by who they’ve grown up to be and the lives they’re building is an understatement. When I think of my achievements in life, having raised those two is right up there with getting married, becoming a Christian and getting Francis Rossi’s autograph. And we know that the job of a parent doesn’t end here; it just evolves.
For some reason the cereal and orange juice last a lot longer. The bath plug hole doesn’t clog with long blonde hairs any more. We don’t have to shut the bedroom door. The nest’s not empty at all; it still has the two of us, living a new season of life. But now and again it hurts. I’m assuming this doesn’t continue indefinitely. If you’ve been there maybe you can let me know.
Now when we visit we’re guests in their homes. But when they visit they’re still coming home. Back to the old nest, where once they were children.