It was the summer before my youngest left for college. He had been in about every sport the school had. Five sports at all that year. We had spent 12 years or so following him and his older sister  in all their various activities. We enjoyed supporting them. Their friends would play in our backyard often. There were friends coming and going year-round. I loved the activity and enjoyed having their friends around. 

That was all about to end. 

It was a difficult summer for me. I couldn’t imagine how quiet our house would be or what we would do on evenings and weekends. My son was excited to be graduating and going to college but I knew things were about to change. He wasn’t going to be that far away but he wouldn’t be living at home anymore. I remember hearing and reading some things about the  “empty nest”. 

I learned it was normal and OK to feel somewhat depressed about that chapter of one’s life closing. I gave myself permission to grieve and mourn that loss. I had been working but quit my job that spring. I wanted to be home for his last summer and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Since I had worked while my husband, Bill, went to college I decided now was the time for me to go to college, part time anyway. 

I became one of the “nontraditional” students, a nice way of saying older student. I truly enjoyed that  experience. Bill and I had more time for each other. We entered into a really sweet time of growing together in our relationship. Friday nights often became our date night. Frequently we would have a sandwich and go to a movie. Wednesday was our mini vacation where we would both have the day off, drive somewhere and spend the time together.

After our meals we would sit and have a cup of tea together and talk about our day. Much of the year we would go out for a walk under the stars before going to bed. They were simple, everyday activities. Now, from this perspective, bring back sweet memories. We got to know each other better so that we could comfort and encourage one another through the joys and trials of life that were sure to come.

– Pat Estes
Photo by Eutuxia Ntzereme on Unsplash