Dec 17, 2013 |
Inside Out 20: Empty Nest
It’s no secret I was not looking forward to Empty Nest. My husband and I delight in the time we get to spend with our daughter and son. Conversations in the car, hot chai at the bookstore, debates over the dinner table, hiking excursions in the national parks---just thinking about our times together energizes me. These two characters---so much alike but so different---are deep and caring, independent, incredibly odd and invariably hilarious. With them I relax and sometimes see life from a different perspective. With them I believe I am more myself.
That said, I’ve known all along that our job as parents has been to teach the children how to leave. Learning to pedal a bike, pump gas, decipher a recipe, comparison shop at the mall, and navigate the internet---the subtext of every lesson was that this little girl and little boy were drawing one step closer to the day we would move them into cinderblock dorm rooms somewhere---and then drive away.
And so it happened: first with my daughter and then with my son. Both times, the day of loading and unloading boxes ended with my husband and me driving away, without a part of our family---without a part of our hearts. This last time, as we turned the car onto the highway, I remembered a vivid e-mail my friend Elizabeth Cody Newenhuyse sent years ago when she watched her daughter Amanda wave goodbye and walk away across the Calvin College campus. I knew then that I needed to talk to her about this stage of life I was entering: the Empty Nest. Listen in on what this author on the topics of marriage and women (and much more) has to say.