Pros and Cons of the Empty Nest
Children Grow Up and Fly Away
Airplane tickets and road trips are all too common when children grow up and move on into a new life of their own leaving Mom and Dad behind. Behind in an empty house to figure out just what they want to do with the remaining half of their life. When this point came in our lives, it was a great blessing that my husband and I have maintained and nurtured our marriage, our love, and our joy found in just being together. After spending the previous 30 years attending to our three children's every need, we were able to settle in, relatively comfortably, to the new "empty-nest" lifestyle. However, that new lifestyle which began when our youngest son moved 1200 miles away from home to start his college days, was never void of true heartfelt longing for by-gone days of the frenzy related to raising three active, loving children ... along with many days spent just missing their mere presence.
All three of our children did not get where they are without many travels, mostly by airplane, and many goodbyes throughout their years of growth towards independence. (This plane pictured is an actual plane which took our oldest son Jason, his wife, and our 1st grandchild on one of their many adventures.)
Have you experienced the empty nest syndrome?
Time to Let Go
Time for Confidence in the Job You Have Done
Raising three responsible, functional children was an extra notable accomplishment in my life, when considering my childhood and the path my life was on due to family and generational dysfunction. I found the key to overcoming the past and setting my life on a different road. This decision and determination was not easy to accomplish and was only possible through divine intervention and faith that is stronger than predisposed dysfunctional patterns and programming. Through my choice, along with God's enabling and my husband's unwavering faith the family life for our children became a fertile ground for them to grow and become the productive individuals they were meant to be, living within God's perfect will for their life.
Sending your children out into the world when you know they are ready makes this inevitable step easier. Getting them ready is accomplished partly through meeting their emotional needs and growing them into stable, responsible adults. Basic emotional needs that must be met are providing your children with a sense of belonging, worthiness, and competence. Parenting is a responsibility that my husband and I did not take lightly. We put in the effort during the molding years and when the time came to let go, we knew our children were ready to accept the challenge. We did not have to worry because we knew what they were capable of and that they were in God's protection and care. Now we enjoy adult relationships with each of our children as they have each competently entered the adult world and are thriving.
My Husband and Our Three Children
I married my high school sweetheart, Doug, when I was a teenager; we have been married for 34 years now. Doug is a genuine blessing in my life and a true gift from God. Together we raised three children who we are very proud of simply because of who they are and, also adding to that, for all they have accomplished ... so far.
Jason, our oldest graduated from high school and attended a university sixty miles from home. He was home almost every weekend during his college years. Then upon graduation from college, he was accepted into dental school at the University of Texas Health and Science Center in San Antonio. This was when he actually moved away from home. Upon graduation from dental school as a Doctor of Dental Surgery, he joined the US Navy and flew to Rhode Island for Officer Indoctrination School. After that he was stationed overseas in Okinawa Japan. He also married his high school sweetheart, Mandy, in the midst of his schooling. Our 1st grandchild, a granddaughter named Averie, was born fifteen time zones away in Okinawa. My husband and I were unable to be there for the birth and finally met our granddaughter when she was 4 months old. Currently Jason is stationed in Maryland where he will finish the Endodontics Residency he has been working on for almost two years.
Our middle child, Amanda, is a medical laboratory scientist. She also has had much schooling beyond a bachelor's degree and presently works in a major hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. She is married to Daniel, a Staff Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who recently received a promotion into the officer training program. When Amanda and Daniel married, he was stationed in Yuma, Arizona. Then only two and a half months after they were married, Daniel received orders for deployment to Iraq. That was a heart-wrenching time for our daughter and a time my husband and I supported her through. Last summer, Amanda and Daniel were blessed with a son they named Samson. Samson is our 1st grandson.
Our youngest, Jarrod, is a professional musician. When he graduated from high school, he headed north the following autumn to attend McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was accepted to the college through an auditioning process and was able to pursue his dream and develop his talent as a musician. This was the time that my husband, Doug and I officially became empty nesters.
And through all these experiences we lived through with each of our children, there was abundant travel involved. We traveled with them sometimes but mostly would hug them tight, bid them goodbye and safe travels, and place them on an airplane to places far away from home.
Babies Today, Grown Tomorrow
Mid-Life Freedom After a Parental Job Well Done
When I began my marriage at age 18, I looked forward to being a mother and raising children. At the time I was working on getting my bachelor's degree, my husband was working a full-time job and, on the side, was playing bass guitar in his band. Then after two years of our normal life consisting of just the two of us, we were blessed with a healthy baby boy. Then a little over five years later, our beautiful daughter joined our family. And after our daughter started school, our family was blessed a third time with the birth of our youngest son. It seems when you are in the middle of raising children that it will go on forever and the day when they grow up and leave home is so distant that it could never really happen. But now being in the place I am at, looking back to the time my children were born seems like a quick flash that has brought me to the place I am today.
Today, the place my husband and I find ourselves at is much like our marital beginnings. Again, it is just the two of us and many times feels like we are back again where we started, but now we enjoy the special relationships with each of the children we have been a part in molding. The biggest con in this life experience is that your children are no longer as big a part in your daily life as before. They are off on their own adventure, living their own life, keeping in touch with important things but usually deleting minor details they used to relate. A period of life that definitely could be referred to as bittersweet.
But the biggest pro to this experience, of returning to a time similar to your marital beginnings, is the time you can enjoy with your spouse. My husband and I have the gratification of a parental job well done and now the freedom to enjoy this period of our lives as never before. My husband is my best friend and we have experienced much in our 34 years together, the good and the bad because life is life. But due to our faith and heavenly guidance from above, the bad has only made our relationship stronger and made us even more thankful for the good.
So now I have reached a place in my life, the place proverbially called Empty Nest. A place I face with renewed hope and a sense of adventure, anticipating what next lies down the road of life for my husband and me ... accompanied by the added joy of sharing in the lives of our children.
A Few Things About Me - Defining Characteristics and Accomplishments
- I began my life in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
- My parents divorced when I was 3.
- I spent the happiest time in my childhood on a farm in the Fort Sumner Valley with my maternal Grandma.
- My parents remarried, we moved, and my life was turmoil; the emotional pain became a deadly physical illness.
- I began the most significant relationship of my life when I became a born-again Christian at age 10.
- I met the love of my life the very first time when I was only 14 but did not date until I was 16.
- I married Doug when I was 18 and we had 3 children.
- I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's of Business Administration and a major in Accounting from ENMU.
- Our family moved from New Mexico to Texas to own and operate two McDonald's Restaurants.
- I attended McDonald's Hamburger University in Oakbrook, Illinois. I then became a licensed, approved owner/operator in my own right, receiving corporate approval from the VP at the McDonald's Dallas office in Las Colinas.
- I died in a car wreck at age 38 and came back to life in a "Lazarus" experience.
- I wrote the book, A Wounded Daughter's Survival, about my life experience, it details the childhood dysfunction but magnifies my triumph over adversity.
A Wounded Daughter's Survival - A Damaged Life Healed by Hope and Truth
My life story contained throughout the pages of A Wounded Daughter's Survival details the victory I achieved over adversity. It offers hope for anyone damaged by emotional abuse, a condition that can leave one feeling hopeless and lost. Healing is possible and living a fulfilled, productive life can be a tangible reality for anyone shoved into the pit of emotional damage. It is about choice, resilience, and determination.