Empty Nest, I Don’t Think So…

By Cheryl E Beckles

I just read a quote ‘I’m still here, so please don’t call my nest emp­ty. My wal­let is cer­tain­ly emp­ty, but not my house!’. After read­ing that, my mind began to rem­i­nisce over my life as a par­ent. I would go fur­ther and say that my nest is not emp­ty, but my nest and heart FULL.

I’m not ashamed to say that the tears came to my eyes as I began to think of my life as a Mom. These were not tears of sad­ness-not at all! They were actu­al­ly tears of grat­i­tude and joy, as I thought about the years of par­ent­ing that I have had. When the chil­dren were younger, and the house was full of kids, it was a time that was busy, bustling, bois­ter­ous, and yes-beau­ti­ful! Lest you think I seek to paint a pic­ture of per­fec­tion, I want to also let you know that it was also a time of noise, wor­ry, trou­ble, ques­tions, , sleep­less­ness, and yes-some argu­ments.

Laughter filled the house, and so did slammed doors, along with peri­ods of pun­ish­ment. Grief so strong and deep that you won­der if you’ll ever laugh again. Then laugh­ter to the point that you think you may have to seek med­ical atten­tion! You know: LIFE WITH CHILDREN. And then life with young adults. And then life with young adults who think they are adults rent­ing space in your house, mak­ing up their own rules to fit their lifestyles. Numerous phas­es and stages. I say all of that to say that I am so grate­ful for the priv­i­lege to have had a ‘full nest’. And that it is still full; full of the life I have had as a MOM, WIFE, and CAREGIVER. It’s just me, hub­by, and Bud (our 7 year old lab mix who thinks he runs our lives, so I guess we have one last child at home:). a strange feel­ing.

We miss the ‘boys’ as we call them. We espe­cial­ly miss Kodi, the oth­er child, who will nev­er walk through the doors of our home again (at least not on this side of life). We miss and con­tin­ue to grieve his phys­i­cal pres­ence. We miss their dai­ly com­ings and goings, involve­ment in their extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties, and our dai­ly din­ners togeth­er, when we would spend so much time talk­ing, laugh­ing and shar­ing. You lis­ten to a sound and think-oh, that must be one of the boys then you real­ize it was just the wind, or the house adapt­ing to its ‘nor­mal’ of less bod­ies.
Mike and I look at each oth­er with that know­ing look of ‘it’s just you and me now, baby’. Then we laugh, and say some­thing like-‘let the games begin!’.

This change rein­forces the fact that our chil­dren are tru­ly not ours. They are lent to us for a sea­son; we are mere stew­ards of them for a time. They are a gar­den to be tend­ed, fer­til­ized, watered, pruned, and then cut to be giv­en back to the Father for their pur­pose to be ful­filled. Each step of the way and every day, we must remind our­selves of our pur­pose as par­ents. We pray to God for a beau­ti­ful har­vest. We do the work, with His help and grace, and then sit back and wait for Him to reveal HIS best work through them. We may nev­er even see it in our life­time. We just thank Him for the priv­i­lege of trust­ing us as par­ents, and pray that our chil­dren walk in the pur­pose and call­ing that He has for them.
So I am not an emp­ty nester. Call me ‘full’. For I am joyFUL, peaceFUL, grateFUL, and yes, hope­ful. For short you can just call me ‘full’!