translated from the Spanish post at Petalos de Maria
The silence in the house is deafening. I actually hear the hum of the lights when I enter a room, and find myself turning on the TV or the radio for ambient noise.
I am experiencing the beginnings of the empty nest, a new time in my life that has replaced the yelling and bickering, the shouts of joy, and sometimes cries of defeat.
My children are almost grown. One is definitely out of the house, embarking on a career in the military; one is being frugal and staying at home while attending college, but still testing her young adult wings (that means, essentially, that we never see her), and the third, a rising senior in high school away at a college summer program just informed my husband and me that if it is all the same to us, he’s not going to bother to come home for the long weekend because he’s “having a blast.”
They used to have a blast with me.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I am embracing this new experience with a little joy, a little “oy”, and a great sense of calm. I am rediscovering my relationship with my husband, and also learning that adult children are really just as fun, only in a different way. For starters, whether or not they clean their room is no longer my problem.
It was my problem for many, many years, only, I prefer not to call it a problem. It is a challenge, certainly. A responsibility. A duty. A loving vocation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:
The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society. (CCC 2207)
I sure do hope and pray I got it right. I look at them and wonder if there isn’t one more thing I can say, one more thing I can teach them, perhaps one more piece of advice that they can turn a deaf ear to until they need it. Maybe not.
The “empty nest” is a misnomer. It’s not empty—it’s full of memories. And the best part of all is that there’s room to welcome them home.