Empty Nesters. People keep asking us how it’s going as new “empty nesters,” I say “great”, but inside my head I am thinking how much I don’t like the term “empty nesters.” It implies that our home is empty….”containing nothing; not filled or occupied; lacking meaning or sincerity.”
It’s so…sad….and quiet. For 30 years our home was filled with a lot of noise, a lot of laughter, a lot of activity, a lot of messiness, a lot of love. There was school, sports, concerts, shopping, trips to the doctor or ER, broken bones, proms, college hunting, more shopping, camps, friends, wedding planning, the list goes on and on. Then it was over. We’ve raised three strong-willed, beautiful, and active girls, who are now women, married to sweet young men, with families of their own. Thirty years, people. That’s half our lives keeping our people alive. Providing. Nurturing. Making things happen for them. Thinking of them 24/7. Never ceasing to look out for their needs or their safety. Seeing and being with them most every day. Then it was over. It ceased. It stopped. And yes, it is empty. You out there reading this understand. Suddenly, you find yourself in new territory. You can’t be all up in their business anymore. You can’t be included in every aspect of their lives…..that would just be weird. As much as I want to still be included in every aspect, I know that is not how things go in life. And I don’t want to appear pathetic, so I try to stand back and not annoy them to death! But it’s hard.
Empty has such a negative connotation. I realize people are simply referring to the fact that we are back down to just the two of us. But it sounds so sad when you look at the meanings of the word empty, for example, “lacking meaning”….”containing nothing”. Yes. The house stays cleaner than it has in 30 years. I have redone two of the extra bedrooms and now have a guest room and a play room for the grandchildren. But they are also spotless. I’ve started a few “hobby” projects, but haven’t finished. That writing I always wanted to do hasn’t happened. I find myself going to Target or some other store, walking around, seeing things that they might like, or the grands might love. You just can’t break the habits of 30 years and go cold turkey “empty nester.”
So today, I decided to change that title that seems to be hanging around too much.
Instead of calling ourselves “empty nesters”…I think I will call it “Season 2.” Season 1 was filled with being newlyweds, becoming parents, raising babies, exhaustion, parenting, pinching every penny, praying for wisdom, investing and pouring into the daughters God gave us. Season 2 is now just my husband and I, trying to figure out what we want to do, taking a deep breath and doing it without necessarily thinking about the girls first. (like that will actually happen!) It won’t be easy, but I’m willing to give it a try.
So, here’s to Season 2 for The Armstrongs!