Emptying the nest

A week from today we will be on I-5, heading to Southern California to get Jennifer Lynn moved into her dorm room at college.

Other parents I talk to tell me that yes, it’s hard when your youngest child leaves home but that you get used to it, and in fact, it doesn’t take all that long to really start enjoying having the house all to yourself.   I’ll have to take their word for it, because if you were to ask me right now if I’m excited about being an empty-nester, the answer would be no.

If it were possible, I would time travel back to when our three kids were 4, 8 and 12 and I knew of their exact whereabouts every minute of the day. It’s not that I wanted to check on them because I was concerned that they were doing something they shouldn’t be; for the most part, our kids followed the rules. But knowing where they were, gave me a sense of security and control.

Now that they are 18, 22, and 26, asking them to wear an ankle bracelet and report in at the end of the day so that I can be assured that they are safe isn’t really an option. There’s no way I can replicate the time we they were little and piled around us on the couch watching “Mr. Bean” on TV on Saturday nights.

I’m finding being a parent of adult children every bit as challenging as when they were little. It’s not as demanding on a day-to-day basis but the stakes are higher for the choices they make. Long gone are the days when I can tell them what to do and when they ask why, the answer is “Because Mom says so.”

Here’s where some faith comes in. Thinking that I was the one in charge of their lives when they were young was really a false sense of security. And now that they are adults, I have to trust that the One who really watched over them as kids, is still watching over them. Amen.

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