Missing You – Dinner for Six in the Emptying Nest

I only get out six plates for dinner now. I used to have to think through who was working or out with friends and then do a little math, ending up with six or seven or eight. Now I just get out six plates. This is not enough and it will always be a little bit sad. Another daughter has already moved out.  She didn’t plan to, but daughter #2 slowly weaned us off her presence by being gone more and more. Turns out to be a merciful way to adjust.

One month ahead of her wedding, she moved out to what will be their apartment together. My oldest moved out after her wedding, so this was new for me. Her apartment complex looks so nice from the road. Is this a good thing or does it make her a target for burglars? There are lots of people milling about around there. Is this a good thing or does it mean more possible criminals to keep an eye on? Everyone around her seems nice, but you know it’s always the nice quiet neighbors who end up on the news. These are the crazy thoughts that play tag in my head when I visit her.

As for the weddings that lead to all this moving out, I don’t think I can write on and on with wedding advice. Weddings are like babies; the first one makes you frightened and full of plans and advice,big on schedules and obsessive to details. The second one just makes you realize how much you don’t know, how much help you need, and how tired you are. Especially if you have two in one year. See? Just like babies. So fitting that it works this way with my first two babies. Their weddings will be a reflection of their very different personalities. Annie’s was bigger, including anyone and everyone. It was spring and pastel and in the big woods. Lydia’s will be smaller, intimate, with warm colors and inside a small chapel – downright cozy on a fall day. Like with children, one is not better than the other, just very different.

One very incorrect assumption I’ve run into is that I don’t miss one child because there are so many left. Of course this is not true. Each child leaves a void when they go. I will always miss them. I miss every stage of them. I miss little pudgy Lydia and grown woman Lydia. At least I can call and visit woman Lydia. Then there’s the bonus of her husband-to-be. He is the perfect fit for our crazy family. We could use another brother or two around here, so we are loving the addition of two big brothers in one year. Even if they are to blame for this emptying nest.

pudgy Lydia

When you are falling in love, you hear every song as a love song. When your kids are moving out, you start to hear things differently. I have always loved the song “Missing You” by Amy Grant. It always seemed like a melancholy song about lost love. Now I’m thinking Amy penned this one when her first child moved away. Listen to the lyrics and see if you agree. Yes, I know that is not Amy Grant, it is Alanis Morrissette, but it is the only link I could find. Looking at her face while listening to a very tame Amy Grant will just have to serve as comic relief for this sad song. Isn’t is ironic? 

Parenting Your Children Past the Age of 18

I can’t look. Get down from there this instant.

My oldest daughter is home after a long day at work, actually a series of long days at work and school. I want to hug her and comfort her in some way, but that won’t happen because he is here….the fiance. My time is over and it is up to him to make her smile and comfort her. He is doing that as I type. I hope they don’t notice me tearing up as I type this. I have two adult children living at home now and it has not been easy. Not at all.

My second oldest child turned 18 and got her own car, with her own money, in the same week. So, even though she lives at home while going to community college, I have lost track of her. She still keeps to curfew but has taken up using the basement door for her coming and going. Is she here right now? I think so, but I’m not sure. Should I know where she is? I’m not sure of that either.

Her age is just a number. It legally qualifies her to live elsewhere and go about her business. In real time however, she did not change overnight. She is still too young to know everything she needs to know to function on her own. I know in my brain that the solution to this is learning as she goes, from her mistakes. This applies even more to the newlyweds I will soon be observing from an uncomfortable distance. Mothers can make an awful mess of things when they try to help couples striking out on their own.

Peace out baby!

This is the season of their discontent. Do you remember how painful it got to be living in your parents’ house?  Transforming into an adult is about feeling like they could do life better than I do it. They become my worst critics. Sadly, this attitude is very necessary for them to move on. How else could they face the daunting task of going it alone? They are out on the edge of the nest, flapping their wings. They need to want to go. I need the desire to give them a shove. The frustration we all feel helps with this.

This really leaves me where I have always been; giving my children back to God…again.Years ago, they might crawl off a bed or walk out in the road. Later we have to think about bike wrecks, then car wrecks. Now they may mess up at work or ruin a relationship. They may not find a hotel room to stay in for their honeymoon if they don’t hurry up and call already. The point is, the worries change and our ability to interfere changes, but God doesn’t change. He is still dealing with them directly, not through me. So they could be on the precipice of danger or mistakes, but He is in control of what happens. It is so hard to remember.

Why would someone want to paint this?

This huge concept is what I set out to convey with this blog. It is why I named the blog raising His child. When we can remember that He loves these children and cares for them better than we can, it can bring such peace. At this stage, the peace is coming in drips and drabs. That’s my fault of course. The stakes feel higher and I’m more out of control, or so it seems. So I wrestle with worry and try to take it all upon myself. It’s a strange change that means doing less for them is best for them. God help me.

This is so new to me. I would love to hear from those of you who are further down the path of parenting adults. Please comment and share what you have learned for those of us who are transitioning out of raising His child.