31 Days: The Almost Empty Nest

Yesterday, I picked the very last of the bell peppers. They have been patient, holding on until their faces reddened, sweetened by the kiss of time. I’ve been waiting for the perfect evening, and last night was it—the cool of fall whispering around the edges of the day. It was just right for peppers stuffed with sweet sausage mixed with beef, just a hint of heat and smothered in cheese.

Dinner is tricky now that Teddy is off to college. His little brother is so busy with the marching band he’s rarely home in the evenings. Most nights it’s just me and my husband, trying to remember how to move around together in all this space.

My friends who are full-blown empty nesters seem to have it all figured out. They go on date nights in the middle of the week or take up camping. They have season tickets to all the concerts that move through our little town, discover every new restaurant and bar. But Jeff and I are still here, waiting on pins and needles on a Friday night until our sixteen-year-old rolls in from the ball game, waiting anxiously by the phone for a Sunday call from the college freshman. We’re still in this strange in-between place of parenting and letting go. Some days my heart swells with pride as I give thanks for the men my sons are becoming. Others, I can’t move through the house without bursting into tears at the echoing hallways. My heart is so tender for the babes I once cradled in my arms. I miss the days of snuggled in stories and bedtime prayers, of all the questions they had when the lights went down.

Who will answer the questions now?

This is a time of beauty and a time of surrender. My heart breaks a little every day but it also is growing a greater vision. I am one of a bazillion mamas down through the ages who has wrestled with this open-handed love. It’s a story as old as these sloping hills that surround our little valley, all their sharp edges worn smooth by the many years they have stood—tall and proud, battered and caressed. I feel softer around the edges too.

Before Teddy left for school I started a new journal. I wanted a clean space—wide pages to record all these new feelings. I don’t know why it always takes me by surprise: how new seasons can be so terrible and wonderful all at once. God is always, always teaching me about his love for me through my seasons of parenting my boys. I’m listening close for the lessons during this almost-empty-nest time.

Jeff and I will get used to eating leftovers. Or maybe, just maybe … we’ll go out.

Almost Empty

I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. 

The posts:

Dizzy
The Not-Alone Alone
World Communion
The Night Between Two Days
Every Little Thing
I Go Alone
Full
Disappointment
Secret Ingredient
Anniversary Giveaway!
Dinner for Two
The Letter
Two Natures
A Table the Reaches Across the Miles
Growing Season
Horsepen Mountain
 Unlocking Time
Writing as Prayer
When Obama Came to Town
Falling Star
 Memoir
New Friends
In Praise of Happiness
Book Bequest
Touch the Sky
Halloween Ghosts

Comments

  1. says

    i was so excited to see you also joining the challenge. And what a great topic, Laura! Like you, I found that I grew up while growing up my children. I LOVED the teen years – the marching band, basketball, dinner conversations. We have been blessed that my children & their spouses are close with us. And I now get to enjoy learning through my 2 granddaughters. I look forward to reading these posts & how God speaks to your heart. And share pictures of your 1st dinner out 🙂 Blessings! XO

    • says

      Thank you, Joanne, for sharing this encouragement. Being in a house of boys, I sometimes think they might roll their eyes behind my back :). It is an exciting time, time just goes so fast :). Linking arms with you through 31 days!

  2. says

    Looking forward to following this series. My oldest turned 18 last month and it hit me how little time I have left with the three of them at home. I will glean from your wisdom as I prepare.

  3. says

    You write so beautifully that I can see and smell the bell peppers and feel fall. 🙂

    I am so far from becoming an empty nester as I haven’t even started my own nest yet but I feel for those who are going through “empty nesting” so to speak. I know it’s hard to lose someone at least temporarily. I get sepanx. I guess that’s part of being a parent.

    Have you seen The Odd Life of Timothy Green? Oh, empty nesters in a different level.

  4. says

    Oh sweet friend… I am so glad that you are ‘playing’ along with #Write31Days and of course, I love your topic! Well – you know… love/hate… but from this side of adjusting to an Empty Nest, let me tell you… there are some really great things to look forward to!

  5. says

    My parents are just about at the halfway point–4 of us are grown and gone, and 3 are still at home. I think my mom believes she’ll never truly be an empty nester, though–she’ll always find somebody to mother–that’s probably why she takes care of my friend’s toddlers 5 days a week, haha!

  6. says

    I love this topic for your 31 Day series – Our nest is only half emptied, but so many things you mention already apply. Funny how these little birds of ours have such a clenching grasp on our hearts, isn’t it? But how exciting we have new adventures and possibilities ahead!

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  1. […] I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here.  […]

  2. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here.  […]

  3. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here.  […]

  4. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here.  […]

  5. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here.  […]

  6. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here.  […]

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  8. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. My Wednesday book club series is a part of the journey—a way of exploring creativity during this season. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. […]

  9. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. […]

  10. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. […]

  11. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. […]

  12. […] This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. […]

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