Kids & Parenting
Empty Nest or Empty Nets?
by Tracy Nunes
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The beat of my infant grandson's heart resonated against my chest with life, with hope, and ...at least on my side, with heartache. It was our last bit of time together (for now) and he lay on my chest, fast asleep and unaware of the busy activity of sorting, shipping and packing going on around him. His big brother, Cyrus, my best little buddy, had a heavy heart all day; being old enough to know that the time to say goodbye was at hand.
They were staying with us the last couple of weeks before the big move and Cy slept with us. Typically, he had one hand on my head, playing with my hair and one foot on his Papa. There were many nights that I found myself on the very edge of a king size bed somehow wrapped up in a three year old boy. I’d move him back to the center but it wasn’t long before we were once again a giant four legged burrito on my side of the bed. And during the day was no different...he was my shadow. Always keeping me in sight. Always making sure he knew where I was and what I was doing.
One day, when I was insisting he take a nap that he was not in favor of, he said, “I don’t like Grandma’s house.” Knowing how much he really does love being here, I didn’t take it personally. I said. “You know that’s not true, silly…but you still have to take a nap.”
A couple of weeks later moving day came and I was doing everything I could to not cry in front of him. As I was giving him his last “sit down” bath in Grandma’s tub he said, “Grandma?”
“You know when I said 'I don’t like Grandma’s house?'” His big green eyes shone red with tears he was trying hard not to shed. (Now, here is where I will remind you that this is a 3 year old talking)
I said, “I know, honey…I know you didn’t mean it.”
He wrapped his arms around me and said, “I wuv you Grandma.”
When he pulled away he gestured widely with his hands and said, “I’ll go to Montana and when I’m all done there I’m gonna come back here and live with you.”
How much can a Grandma’s heart swell with love and break at the same time?
Soon it was time to leave and he tried hard not to cry, but as reality really hit him he cried hard and he cried out for me…
“GRANDMA! I want G-R-A-N-D-M-A!” There was no choice but to make him get in his car seat and do the best I could to reassure him that he was going to be alright and so was I. I sensed his worry about me.
I held onto my daughter as we both cried our tears and I had flashes of her as a little girl, crying for me when I left for a weekend women’s retreat. She is a wife and a mother twice over but she is still my little girl and I wanted to haul her back in the house, sit her down and say, “Stay!” But, leave she must because, even with all the crying, my heart says that this is God’s will. This is the path for her little family. They must walk in it.
The goodbyes were said and the truck pulled away…
We came back into the house and sobbed deep, deep guttural cries that felt as if they would last forever. When the crying had subsided we looked around at a home that was now completely void of our kids and grandkids and wondered at the emptiness of it. Wondered at how two people who love being parents and grandparents got here when we know so many who don’t actually relish the job, yet are surrounded by their family.
Mourning had to happen and it still goes on. I’ll see a grandparent at play with their grandchild, I’ll see a mother having coffee with a young woman that looks just like her and it pecks at the wound.
I’ll whisper, “Why? God? Why?”
There are no answers and yet I know there are many answers, all of which He will make right and make known in His time. In the meantime, He has spoken this promise to me….
“Your Nest may be empty, but you Nets are not…cast your Nets on the other side of the boat.”
Only God knows what that means; for now, for time and for eternity. But, for this moment, I can do nothing but trust Him and trust that He who made the nets and the nest can also fill them.
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