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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)

TITLE: Life After the Empty Nest
By Donna Howard


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 am busy opening box after box of figurines, music boxes and other gifts they bestowed on me over the years on my birthdays and at Christmas time. I shake my head and ask, “Where have the years gone? How could they possibly have gone so fast?”

With purposefulness, I head for my office, where I open yet another box. It holds 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. As memories flood my mind, I find myself wishing I could turn the clock back to when our children were small, and then have time stand still.

I pick up a picture of our daughter when she was two. 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 when they first 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, there were 4-H clubs, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, projects to complete, and awards to earn.

In high school there was pom pon 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 produces 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 persons. 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 as it should be, as God intended it to be.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/22/06
Very effective use of repetition in the "I remember..." paragraphs. A very touching essay.
Carla Feagans06/24/06
A wonderful description and rememberance of a picture perfect life, something we all hope for our families.

As a mom of two boys and a girl, who are all still pre-school age, it makes me hope and pray that I too will have the same story to tell someday.

You are blessed. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful look at your life and family.
david grant06/26/06
Good story. I'm living it now. A DAVEY FAV.
Jacquelyn Horne03/23/07
Great reflection on the past and the empty nest. I've been there too. It's lonely, but fulfilling.