By Amy Loos
Three kids, 17 moves and 27 years of marriage and we are almost there. We have one more birdie at home and then we will be empty nesters.
I am so looking forward to a day where the kitchen counters stay clean, the fridge is full for at least a weekend and the Hubs and I can have a discussion without needing to go for a walk to get some privacy. My husband, on the other hand has already started the grieving process. He does not want our kids to move out. And God forbid if they actually move away. In fact he’s so afraid they’ll move out of the area, I swear the man would add on, build up, dig a basement or buy a big shed if it meant keeping our kids close to home.
Seriously folks, we are a conflicted couple.
I want them all out on their own, being the adults God created them to be and my husband keeps reeling them in like a giant bass caught with hook in its mouth. It’s really a funny but sometimes-irritating dilemma.
Just when I think, “Ahh, we have a few hours of just “us’ time, my husband takes that moment to tell me he’s discovered one of the kids will be home in a few hours and they’re spending the night…the weekend…4 days…and oh, by the way they’re bringing a couple of friends with them.
I know he sees me looking at him as if he has lost his mind. “What happened to our plans?” I ask.
“Well, we can still have our plans. The kids won’t mind. They’ll be busy with a hike or out with their friends.”
I shake my head and all I can come up with in response is, “Seriously, babe?”
What is it with The Hubs? I keep tossing the little fishies back into the rivers of life and the Hubs keeps scooping them up in the net and putting them back in the bucket on the boat of life with us.
What am I going to do with that man of mine? I know his heart is in the right place. I know at the root of it all he just wants to be able to see the kids often. (Like daily, if that was in the cards.)
On the other hand, I think a little time and distance gives everyone the space they need to grow and develop. I want to be able to miss my kids. I want the kind of time we had eons ago when we were first dating and didn’t have the responsibilities of kids and a home. I’m looking forward to not fighting for time with my husband.
I know what many of you may be thinking: Be careful of what you ask for otherwise God may give you the empty nest. When that happens, I will be grieving the days when my children were all underfoot.
Honestly, I think our difference in opinions about the empty nest stems from our respective upbringings.
I was raised in a home where children were seen and not heard, which contributed to me leaving home at a young age and never looking back. The Hubs, on the other hand, still has one foot at his parents’ home. They have a very close, tight-knit family. It makes perfect sense that The Hubs who chats, visits and goes to baseball games and movies with his parents wants the same kind of relationships with our kids. I think deep down he’s afraid that our kids will be like me, leaving home at young age and end up not really having a close of relationship with extended family. He knows it can be different.
You know what? The Hubs has a point.
We see things differently, the Hubs and I. I am realizing that this never-quite-an-empty-nest routine isn’t an all-or-nothing situation. As with so many other areas of marriage, it becomes a blending of his ideals and mine.I’m praying for a compromise as it applies to our empty nest. The message I want our kids to hear is: “Fly birdie fly! You are always welcome home. But could you please at least give us a call to let us know you are coming? And would you be so kind to leave your dirty laundry at your home?”
About the author:
My mother has always said, “Amy, you don’t know a stranger” and it’s true. I have found most people will share their lives if only you take the time to ask. Getting to know someone new is a great way to share a part of your own life and to remind us both just how much God designed us for community and fellowship with one another. Join me at www.windowoffaith.com as I share what how I encounter God’s grace as I navigate life as a wife, mom and the responsibilities of being an adult child caught in the middle of 2 sets of aging parents.