Empty Nest – Part 1

To My Children,

Well this season of our lives came along way too quickly. I never quite understood what was fully meant by the phrase empty nesters, but now those years are here and boy it hits like a ton of bricks. After basically 21 years of nightly hugs and love yous, going cold turkey is hard on dear old Dad. When you are going through those child rearing years, the parenting classes, the potching, the nightly prayers for wisdom it isn’t always easy to stop and thoroughly enjoy the moments you have. Now sooner than you can ever imagine those times are over. When we were going through the process we were not for a moment looking for the time to end. We thoroughly enjoyed each of you and love you very much.

So how do we cope with this new stage of our lives. Do we start a empty nester pot luck club at church? I figure monthly all of us old parents could get together, pass a dish and tell stories about when we had things to do in our lives. You know the routine, if your last name starts with A-F bring a casserole containing unusual green things, G-M a salad containing nothing that even remotely looks like food a human should be eating or that even our dog would be anxious to eat, N-R a veggie tray – whooh finally something for me a celery stick, and S-Z a dessert that contains pumpkin or pumpkin and looks like something that could have been a casserole. If that doesn’t work, maybe we could join a couples golf league. It would need to be one where giggling is not only allowed but encouraged. Your Mom has a habit of swinging, missing, spinning, and giggling all in a matter of seconds. It can be funny to watch, but not with a serious foursome waiting behind mumbling something about ready golf. I didn’t have the courage to inform them that we were ready for anything but golf. While golf could cover the summer months, the church choir is always looking for a few good voices and it might be a way for us to spend some time together.during those cold winter months. I suppose the problem here is the few good voices part. While I have always thought I had a little John Denver in me, I am not sure that works very well when you are singing Amazing Grace at a most deliberate pace. I am afraid I might get more than a few choir director glares when I start singing to the beat of Grandma’s Feather Bed.

It’s a little strange hearing how you need to plan for retirement. Make sure you have a hobby or some volunteer opportunities lined up. Make sure you and your spouse have something to talk about other than the weather and the latest Pinterest recipe. Line up those bus tours to Branson and the Christmas show at the Fireside. Why oh why didn’t anyone say something about empty nesting. No one ever said anything about the immediate hole that forms the minute you drop that last child off at the college dorm. No one said anything about all the irrational thoughts that go through your mind. Could we quick try to have another child even though Mom is north of 50 and had a hysterectomy some years ago. Or what about adoption. I know the basic rule is the child’s age plus 40 cannot exceed the oldest parent’s age. So what – we adopt a high school senior. That works. Ok, take a deep breath and abandon thoughts of more children.

Now that I have much time for reflection, I have started to re-think the old have your children close together so they can be good friends and so you are not in diapers for the first 20 years of your married life philosophy. If we would have spaced better, we could have been welcoming our first grandchild at the same time we were dropping off child number 11 at college. With only three children separated by 3 years, oldest to youngest, there is little chance for properly timed grandchildren. Oh well, we will make it through and patiently wait, and I mean patiently wait, for grandchildren to help fill the nest.

Love, Dad

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