June 17, 2013
journal entry--the handwritten kind
First "ordinary" day as an empty nester. I am coming to loathe that term already as my home is not empty. It is comfortable and adequate, well-stocked, even a living thing with people, pets and plants. Calming classical music plays, a refreshing change from the constant yammer of bad news.
Where young adults once resided are rooms that house a potential guest, a home library, a computer and photography room. Their time here, as all adult life, seemed fleeting, and their time to make a nest of their own has come.
I cautiously predict what is to come, as often the Lord surprises us with His plans just as we have formulated our own, but a season to lavish love and attention undivided on my husband may be here. I know better than to make him my sole focus, but the sweet companionship will be cherished.
The time has come for us to trust our raising and return our attention to us as a couple. The season of prayer warrior and advisor (as needed) is here.
Brave words for barely one week gone by of life without any offspring in residence. It got harder before it got better, and that is said at the five month mark. The younger of my two sons moved out, all the way out to Englewood, Colorado. His girlfriend of five years will graduate from the local university the first week of December, and that occasion will also be the first I've seen my baby boy since he pulled out of our driveway on June 10th.
He began his first post-college job on my 50th birthday, June 24th.
This was taken the day he and my husband began the cross country drive to Colorado. The rocking chair was for me, a la Grannie on a 1960s sitcom, "The Beverly Hillbillies". She moved across the country, too, from southern swampland to Californy, seated in a rocker atop the Clampett family jalopy. Alas, I and the rocker stayed behind to begin a new phase of my life as well, one that deserves another name that doesn't have the word "empty" in it.
Even his former room wasn't left empty. It took me all of two days to transform it into a home library/guest room. As you can see in the picture above, of his worldly goods, only what fit in his Explorer went with him to Colorado. Tip for the moving--if you drive an Explorer, U-Haul will not rent a trailer to you. Their policy meant a bed, dresser and night stand left behind, hence the room's new function.
After this photograph was taken, I even shipped him the comforter seen in the lower left and replaced it with one covered in roses.
I can't express adequately how happy I am he'll be sleeping in the guest room at least one night of his stay for the graduation in December and again during Christmas! I've even ordered a new blanket to go on the bed as I sent all the warm bedding in the linen closet to his new apartment in Englewood.
I can express that there is indeed life, good life, after the children become adults and create homes of their own. As I type this, my belly is still warm with a delicious potato sausage chowder Mr. A and I cooked together. As he stirred and I chopped, he gave thanks "for a woman who cooks for a man." I give thanks that he gives thanks! It is his policy of helping with clean-up which complements mine, cooking for him and me.
Earlier, while we were walking hand-in-hand about the property and through the woods on the adjoining land, in family estate, we spoke of the beautiful sunshine-filled day and pointed out small strips of sunlight on the carpet of leaves and straw near the pond. He had joined me on the last lap of five, each one taking approximately eleven-and-a-half minutes at my heart-strengthening brisk pace, but together we strolled a leisurely twenty, interrupted by a smooch in the woods.
He asked if I'd ever been kissed in the woods before and I said, "Yes, by you!" He didn't forget. He was just checking my memory.
We haven't forgotten us. The memories of our lives together and with our children are rich and tangible--we live in the same home we started in over 27 years ago. We had a child shortly after our first wedding anniversary, but we'd had nearly four sweet years together as a couple prior to his birth. As we walked, we planned a Christmas celebration for two, visiting nearby Thomasville, Georgia for their Victorian Christmas festivities, a tradition the town began, interestingly, 27 years ago.
We're also planning a family Christmas here at The Ponderosa, and I look forward with great joy to that as well. I've already begun purchasing stocking stuffers, a big fat hairy deal of a tradition for us and now including a daughter-in-love from my older son and a daughter-in-heart by my youngest.
In the meantime, my life and my home is not empty. It is an adjustment, to be sure, but Mr. A and I are up for it.