Inside Out 20: Empty Nest

11.17.10 | Martha Manikas-Foster

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.

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Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 11.17.10 Debra commented

Your post and video will be helpful to people entering this phase~
God is such an awesome provider of JUST what we need...to enjoy and have joy in our lives. It's about choice...and people with kids still at home need to make the choice to cherish and enjoy these gifts God has trusted us with.
I have a 28 yr old that left home to move to Florida in 2002 when he was just a 'baby' of 20!!
~ I still had a 5 yr old at home, but I was in shock for a few months as I could feel the LACK of my older son in my home.
These feelings gave me to know, to embrace and ENJOY the years in front of me, even doing the whole school and teen thing again~ to EMBRACE the days rather that sit around waiting for LIFE TO START~
to jump in and participate more. To play MORE, read more to him~ jump on the trampoline and to GET silly, help at plays, be a sports mom. I am so GRATEFUL that I get to do it all again~
Praising God that both of my sons know and trust Him~

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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