For the second straight September, we have no one going back to school. Our three kids, living on opposite coasts, are successfully building their lives. One is in school in the evenings to get her Master’s degree, but no one is going to school full time. None of them have lived at home for the last five years. This is not an empty nest, it’s a ghost town.
We are busy with work, consulting, and volunteering. We travel a bit and have plenty of friends – many parties. Life is uncluttered, even if the rooms are a bit unkempt. We call these the second golden years, like before we had any children and life became all about them. We go out when we want; we read and eat whatever and whenever we want. Life is pretty satisfying with responsibilities and pleasures.
Yet, we are having some trouble adjusting to the new rhythms of our family life. Our kids rarely call. They are busy, they say. We wonder why they can’t make a simple phone call for a few minutes a week, but maybe they need those very minutes to breathe deeply and just relax. They are 20-somethings and building a life is a full-time job.
I am trying to feel pride and satisfaction that they are each surviving and living independently, with jobs and friends and interests. Really, shouldn’t we be happier? Perhaps it really is just a matter of new rhythms. When they have time, or need something, they will call. In the meantime, I can pray and try to send things they might like, savoring their text messages and facebook posts as if they were really directed to me.
We are thankful they are independent. We love them. We launched them. They’re doing fine.
Lord, help me remember this and be satisfied.