Monday, April 03, 2006

Of Empty Nests

A new online friend of mine asked me last night about this empty nest thing. I thought I'd answer her here instead of in an email.

The empty nest, for me, has been incredible. Fun. A starting-over place. A time-to-make-my-dreams-come-true place.

But oh my... The hard, awful, painful parts were the prior years to the empty nest. The letting-go of Naomi. The Really Letting Go, not the saying (lying) that I had and yet still aching inside at just the thought she'd someday be gone... and my major days of motherhood would be no more.

The Really, Truly Letting Go was the tough part.

But because God is so good, He walked me through those years, letting me take baby steps and, like a good father, not laughing at me when I fell at first and then over and over after that. No, He'd just pull me back up and remind me and remind me that motherhood, mostly, is His transient gift.... those I'm-your-mother-let-me-help-you years are here for just a season and then, alas! Afterward, there really does exist amazing seasons after children fly away.

That has been the biggest surprise.

After one year of an empty nest, that is where I am now--Amazing Season #1. And boy, does this feel good--this life on the other side of a child at home. On this side, I glimpse delights I never saw over in that other, earlier place.

I see the possibility of doing what I have always wanted to do. Of making old dreams come true and creating new ones and helping people along the way. Of playing and puttering and dancing and making something only I could dream-up. Of even cutting out paper dolls if I want to, realizing you don't need a child in the house as an excuse.

Of acting as young as I feel, instead of too often acting like somebody's mother.

Oh my... lately I've felt more like the teenager I used to be, well, the one I was on my non-moody happiest days. I've become reaquainted with the girl who peered into the future, saw possibilities of the dreamy, endless variety and believed she'd be able to conquer anything which got in her way.

But now, it's even better than that (for one thing, I have this really cool, steady boyfriend who is lots of fun. So okay...we've been married forever, but hey, we still have fun together). And too, now I have some wisdom and experience which, hopefully, will keep me from being blown over when there's no applause... and from wasting a lot of time, energy and money. Instead, wisdom will, I hope, guide me to the places God means for me to be. And I know those places will be good and right because He is good and right. And so is the life for the ones He leads, even those on this side of an empty nest.

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