January 19, 2015
As of today I’m an empty nester. When I first wrote that word “empty” I spelled it wrong, I guess because I’m not use to it. I’ve been mothering boys since the beginning of time, or so it feels like. Thirty nine years total –whew! You would think that would make me an expert, but it didn’t. It just brought me from one level of confused to another. Just trying to understand why they felt the need to be so loud, to wrestle each other to the ground, and hit each other with dirt clods, kept me in a constant state of prayer.
Five boys in all. The last boy boarded a plane this morning and is headed out of the country, by way of Texas. Every parent wants their children to grow up and have a life of their own; it’s the way things are supposed to be. But do they have to go so far away? The last boy leaving wasn’t the last boy born. They get all mixed up like that. One goes and another stays…not in order, but as life takes them or brings them back.
Last time I cleaned the room and moved my sewing machine into it, a boy moved back…then two. I’m wondering if I should just leave the door closed for a while. I’m not silly enough or superstitious to think if I clean it they will come back. Like the saying, “If you build it they will come.” But on the other hand, my sewing machine doesn’t want to go anywhere near it!
Do you know what happens when years of noise are replaced with silence? Ringing in your ears! You can hear yourself swallow, and you can hear the clock ticking on the wall in the other room. But what you can hear even louder than the silence is your heart – beating sadly, missing boys.
No one ever told me they would be my little boys forever. That no matter how big their bodies got, my feelings would never change. That my hopes for them, concerns, and even fears would not go away when they moved away. On the contrary, they increased. It is one thing to be in some kind of control, and quite another to have none at all. This is where my trust in God had to grow as my boys grew up and left, and this is where my knees must meet the carpet every day as I lay those fears down at God’s mercy seat and leave them with Him.
I’m not sure what to do now. I have time. I have choices. It’s funny how your mind thinks, when you’re in the thick of things with your children. You dream of the days when you’ll have time alone, uninterrupted reading, and quiet. You think it will be so awesome. Well, it might be. I’m not sure yet.
I have time to write now. Time to blog. But I can’t think of anything to write about but boys. It’s that clocks fault, the one ticking loudly on the wall in the room next to me. It keeps interrupting me; reminding me that time passes by so very quickly. Children grow up, parents get old, and life is like a vapor. If I had time to be depressed about it, I might be, but the point is, I don’t have time.
If I’ve learned anything on this fast ride with growing boys it would be this – the day in which you are living is the most important day of your life, not tomorrow, and not yesterday. If I could travel back and tell my younger self a few things, I would want to include these: Don’t dream about how your life will be in the future, live the life you dream today. Do the important things today. Say the important words, share your life, your heart – today. There is only time to do the important things in life, so choose well, love well (especially those boys). And never, never ever, say good bye without a hug.
Those are my words of wisdom as I sit here in the quiet, getting used to the stillness of the house without the loud footsteps of testosterone filled bodies moving through the space. It’s different, but it’s good. It’s the way things are supposed to be. I’m a little sad, but I’m ok. And I know they will be back to visit, because I’m their mom… and I have food.