My empty nest.
No more back-to-school-nights, field hockey tournaments, spirit packs, and games.
No church youth meetings.
No sweaty girls lounging on the couch and eating snacks after field hockey practice.
No black bits of turf field ground into the carpet.
No jerseys, UnderArmour, and uniforms drying all over the house.
No team dinners.
No waiting up on weekends for kids to come home.
No Homecoming float to build.
No Homecoming banner to carry in the parade.
Very little laundry.
No junk food.
No Annie singing in the shower.
No Sara watching Law & Order.
Fewer dirty dishes.
Clean bedrooms and bathrooms.
No school lunches to make.
No Friday night and Saturday night parties at our house.
No teenage angst and energy.
But, it’s all okay.
The empty nest life is not all bad.
I’m returning to other things in life that bring me joy
like writing, teaching, and spending time with my husband.
(A wonderful marriage helps immensely.)
I used to feel completely immersed
in all the details of my girls’ lives —
where they went, who they went with, when they would be home.
It was my job to teach, protect, and actively try to shape their lives for good.
Now they live 2,000 miles away.
They do their own laundry, make their own meals (or eat in the cafeteria).
And, I miss them every day.
I miss their physical presence in my daily world.
I even miss their dramas.
I miss their hugs the most.
But it is surprisingly, refreshingly okay.
Some days are too quiet, and their phone calls come just in time.
But, overall, living in this empty nest is more natural than I imagined.
There are moments and days when I ache for them to be closer.
But it is right for them to be where they are, doing what they’re doing,
which means it’s right for me to be without them…
I remind myself everyday that I’m still a mother.
I just have a different job description now.
And, it’s really, truly, wonderfully okay.