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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: Empty Nest
By Darleen Coon


After we watched him drive away, we turned to hug each other close as the tears we had been trying so hard to not let fall, began to stream down our cheeks in earnest.

“We may never see him again.” I sobbed against Rob’s shoulder.

“Oh, Sweetie, sure we will.” He smoothed his hand over my hair. “He’ll be home for Christmas, and maybe we can meet him halfway sometime for a long weekend.”

Rob turned and stomped across the room. “I hate that because we are self-employed, we can’t take a vacation to go out and see him. Why couldn’t he be happy working for me? No, he had to join the staff of the Snappers!”

I followed him into the kitchen and grabbed his hand. “Honey, it had nothing to do with you. You know he’s always been interested in sports and when this opportunity came up, he had to follow his dream.”

“But why couldn’t ‘his dream’ be to follow in his dad’s footsteps?” He pulled his hand away from mine and clenched it into a fist.

In an effort at being optimistic, I shrugged. “You never know. He might hate it and decide that working with his old man is a whole lot easier.”

Rob snorted. “Yeah, like that is going to happen.”

“Let’s not sit around the house all day, bawling. Let’s go to the mall; go for lunch--anything to get our minds off of the fact that he’s not coming home tonight.” I hooked my purse and headed for the door.

“Alright, he did say he would call when he got to his friend’s house tonight.” Rob grabbed his jacket and followed me out the door.

While on my computer a week later, I felt my heart flutter and I ran into the next room to find Rob. “Honey, hurry, Dalton is on Skype and wants to talk with us both!”

Rob rushed into the living room, where we could both sit on the couch and see Dalton. “Hey, son, how’s the Director on this fine day?”

“Hey Dad, Mom, I’m doing just fine.” He grinned. “Miss me yet?”

Rob laughed and elbowed me. “Nah. We’re too busy having a second honeymoon to even notice that you’re not here.”

Dalton put his hands over his ears. “TMI, Dad. That’s way too much information.”

“Seriously, Honey, how’s your job going? How’s the rest of the staff to work with? Do you like your apartment? How’s the weather? How’s the traffic?” I drilled question after question without pausing for a breath.

When he didn’t respond right away, I impatiently looked into the camera like I was looking directly into his eyes and raised my eyebrows. “Well?”

Dalton held up his hand. “I just wanted to make sure you were done. The job’s fine. The rest of the staff are really nice. My apartment is teeny-tiny, but I’m not there much. The weather is typical for Wisconsin, cold and snowy. The traffic is a lot more congested than home, but I’ll get used to it. The main reason I wanted to talk to you, though, was to tell you thank you.”

Rob and I looked at each other. “Thank you?”

“Yeah, thank you. You guys taught me to pray about my decisions and then follow the Lord’s leading. That’s what I did and so far everything is going great. I miss you guys and it means a lot to me that I have parents who are storming the doors of Heaven on my behalf every day.”

After ending our Skype session with Dalton, we continued to sit silently together on the couch.

“I don’t know about you, but I feel guilty.” I said without turning to look at Rob.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. We’ve been complaining about his decision and not thinking that maybe this is what God wants him to do.” Rob’s shoulders slumped as he nodded.

“That and we’ve been praying for God to bring him home; not for God’s will to be done.”

Rob grabbed my hand and together we bowed our heads. “Let’s do that now. Dear God, thank you for entrusting us with the tough but rewarding job of raising Dalton. With you as our Boss, steering us in the right direction, we overcame the challenges. Now, Lord, employ him to do your will.”

I squeezed Rob’s hand and winked. “You know, I think we deserve a raise.”

Author’s Note: Based on a true events.

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This article has been read 232 times
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/08/13
I love this story.You did a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life. I had tears in my eyes as I read this. I think as parents, we know we have succeeded in our most important jobs ever, when we are humbled by pour children. There is something wonderful when our babies teach us a lesson. You so nailed that emotion. I shouldn't have been surprised that it was based on a true story because it did feel genuine and real.
Jan Ackerson 02/12/13
As someone who continues to experience an empty nest, I could definitely relate to this story.

The topic seemed a bit forced here. And I was taken aback by the husband's quick change of emotions in the early paragraphs; he's soothing his wife in one sentence and in the next he's stomping and angry. I realize that emotions run high in such circumstances, but I needed a sentence of transition--had to look twice to be sure both actions were by the same man.

Loved the lesson that they learned after the Skype session with their son--that was beautifully done.
C D Swanson 02/13/13
Wonderful read. God bless~