Last week I wrote about my experience with “The Empty Nest.” How much fun I’m having and how much Big Jon and I are enjoying it. I was discussing my thoughts with Big K and was reminded that not everyone’s experience is the same. In fact, her experience is quite different as she is alone in an empty nest.
Please welcome a special guest post author, my little sis – Big K. Here to share with you the other side of the empty nest…
It’s not often that Big Sister and I see things from a different perspective. Oh, wait! That’s most of the time! She’s a first child – an achiever, a little type A, and a joyful rule-follower, and I’m a second child – still driven, but a harmonizer and encourager known to break a few rules!.
We do have one really beautiful thing in common, however, and that’s motherhood. We both wanted to be mothers and we were blessed to be granted that gift. It’s no surprise that we both navigated motherhood differently – her teaching her children and me playing with mine. 🙂
But when our kids were young, we talked many times a day and often met at the McDonalds Playland for Diet Cokes and a little bit of sanity. We shared our lives and raised our kids together, and I’m so thankful that she was right by my side. Love you, sis!
Even though Big Sister started her family before me, my nest was actually empty before hers. And unlike Big Sister who in her recent blog said, “I am loving this empty nest thing!”, for me, having an empty next just feels… well, empty....for me, having an empty next just feels… well, empty. Click To Tweet
Maybe it’s because I have more experience here. My kids were 13 and 15 when their dad and I got divorced, which meant they had to deal with two separate homes and I had to deal with a prematurely empty nest.
This included an every Monday “pack up and go” ritual that was only celebrated by the parent who’s nest was soon to be full. Certainly, the transition was hardest on my kids, but it was also hard on their dad and me. I really missed them when it was my turn to be alone in the nest!
The one arguably positive: every other week my home was clean and tidy and organized.
Sure, kids are messy. They drop their backpacks by the door, throw their jackets on the railing (what, did you miss the 12 hooks in the mudroom?), toss their dance or hockey bags in the entryway.
They leave their guitar on the table, their granola wrapper on the couch and their milk glass on the tray. And yep, they shed ponytail holders and bobby pins all over the counter and leave their makeup and flat irons and hairbrushes by their bathroom sink.
And let’s be honest, they never do dishes.
But these little leave-behinds represent life.
Every Monday after my kids returned to my nest, I walked in the door after work and said a prayer of thanks for the backpack by the door, the jacket on the railing and the dance and hockey bags in the entryway.
Life was back in my home!
When I came into the kitchen and saw the laptop on the counter and my daughter doing homework, and heard my son playing guitar downstairs, my heart was restored. Every dirty dish, every pair of shoes in the middle of the floor, every discarded sweatshirt and empty pop can was a gentle (albeit messy!) reminder that life is present.
So while I’m proud of my Big Sister for finally focusing on herself (Believe me, well deserved after raising the Warriors) and taking time to pursue all of the things her heart desires (as she should!), I don’t find myself sharing her new-found joy in empty nesting.
I will instead look forward to this weekend when my Favorite Daughter’s backpack and jacket will be carelessly plopped on my floor (she’s coming home from college for a visit!). The beautiful signs of life and fullness coming back into my fold. Amen, and amen!