TITLE: Life After the Empty Nest
By Donna Howard
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Life After the Empty Nest
My husband and I moved into a smaller house recently. Our three children – a girl and two boys – are all married with children of their own now, so we no longer need a big house.
I open box after box of figurines, music boxes and other gifts they bestowed on me over the years on my birthday and at Christmas. I shake my head and ask, “Where have the years gone? How could they possibly have gone so fast?”
I head for my office, where I open yet another box. It holds albums of photographs of our children, taken during their growing-up years. I flip through them, stopping from time-to-time to re-live the happy events preserved in them. I let my mind wander back to those days. Memories flood my mind, and I find myself wishing I could turn back the clock to the days when our children were small, and then have time stand still.
I pick up a picture of our daughter when she was two. She looked so cute in her frilly little dress and Easter bonnet. She was always a happy child. In my mind, I relive each child’s first beautiful smile, and their first wobbly steps.
I remember, as toddlers, how their little arms around my neck almost crushed me at times when they shared their love with me.
I remember how each one seemed so tiny the first time they climbed those two giant steps up into the big yellow school bus on their first day of school. What a scramble of mixed emotions that was for me.
I remember their shining eyes and glowing faces when they received their first puppy or kitten, and when they picked out their own clothes for the first time.
I remember summer vacations when we traveled all over our beautiful country, visiting interesting historical places; and Christmases when we laughed together, and sang together, and prayed together.
I remember the day each one accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. What a thrill that was for their dad and me.
In their teen years - 4-H clubs, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts with projects to complete, and awards to earn.
In high school there was sports – pom-pom girls, wrestling, football and track - their first date; first prom, first job, which required their first car; graduation from high school and then from college; falling in love, and then – their wedding day and the establishing of happy homes of their own, which have produced five beautiful grandchildren for us
I’ve come full circle and I’ve changed my mind. I no longer wish to go back and have time stand still. It would mean my children would not experience these many things that have brought them, and us, so much joy and happiness. It would mean my husband and I would never experience the pleasure of watching them grow and laugh and learn. We would not have the privilege of teaching them to become independent and responsible adults. We would miss the joy of sharing all the things that have been, and are, a part of their lives.
No, I could never wish for that. It is the way it should be, as God intended it to be.
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