So the kids came back. Sort of.
You might recall my story about our empty nest, how our young adults left home to pursue next steps. They’re now in between adventures, and home is the place they’ve temporarily landed.
The Boomerang Nest, I call it. First, two kids came back from college. Then our world traveler flew back safe and sound and I exhaled for what felt like the first time in months. For five days it was the five of us – five for five – which pressed into me the truth that if you’re with the ones your heart loves, you don’t really need to do anything special. It was enough to look at them, gazing in a kind of stupor across the room at them, getting used to the idea that they were really there.
Then the first one started a full-time job and so it’s like she’s gone again. The second one left to corral middle schoolers at summer camp. For the third one, with schooling and jobs on her horizon, home will be just the place to which her mail comes.
So we’ve all gone deeper into learning about early adulthood. For them, it means taking on more and more responsibility. For Rob and me, it’s figuring out how to be parents of adults. We’ve taken in all kinds of advice ranging from charging rent (we don’t plan to do this) to having them call the doctor to set up their own appointments (did this). In fact, we only have two “rules”: take responsibility for yourself and your stuff, and let me know if you’re going to be home for dinner so I know how much food to make (I hate leftovers).
So this is life right now: the give-and-take of people who love each other and are learning new ways to respect each other as individuals. No longer am I responsible for their well-being, happiness, spiritual life, or even meals. They’re living their lives between themselves and God. But I am, and always will be, their advocate, their number-one prayer warrior, the person who intercedes before the Throne daily on their behalf. I’m still the person who believes in them no matter what.
During their teen years, they would often pop into my room late in the evening and sit on my bed and tell me their troubles. We would process things together and I’d give advice; we’d laugh or cry or pray together. Well, since they’ve been home, guess what? On quite a few nights, someone’s popping in, but I’ve found myself advising less and listening more. It’s fabulous, this new phase, because my kids have turned out to be the people I hoped they’d become. I get to be on the sidelines of their lives, while learning to live mine in new ways, and we all get to support each other in a new season of maturity.
Letting go of them has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s not over, this letting go, but there’s also been plenty of receiving. So I say, bring on the Boomerang Nest. Someday we’ll have a permanent Empty Nest, but that’s ok because this will mean we have a Family Visit Nest, full of kids, future in-laws and grandchildren. It’s all good.
Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbowler/4378212179/”>Mike Bowler</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>