Musings of an Almost Empty Nester

My oldest, Andy, is moving to Dallas, Texas in ten days, 14 hours away from home. Katie, will begin her senior year of college in four weeks, all while preparing to spend 11 months abroad as soon as she graduates. Blake, my youngest, begins his first year of college as a student athlete in three weeks. Although Katie and Blake- and Andy formerly- are commuter students, John and I intentionally give them most of the freedoms they would have as on-campus students. We have three basic expectations of our college age children:

  • If you are not going to be home over night you must let us know.
  • You must attend church- it does not have to be our church, but you must actively attend a church.
  • You must continue to be an active and respectful member of the family which means helping out with household chores or projects as needed and participating in family events like birthdays and holidays.

To be honest, we have never been a rule oriented family. If you pressed our kids for the standards we required of them, I hope they would tell you that our two guiding principles were to love God and love others.  Sometimes loving others meant cleaning a toilet. Other times it meant playing a board game when you would rather watch a movie.

sand in hourglass

Flickr photo courtesy of Sam Bald cc

All that being said, the time for rules and expectations and doing life together on a daily basis has dwindled to the last few grains of sand in this season of our lives. John and I are almost empty nesters. Today more than ever I see the changes my life is about to take.

For years, John and I made an effort to prepare our children for adulthood. We taught them to be responsible. To make the wise choice. To do their own laundry. To change a tire. To keep a budget. To cook and clean. To have fun. To be a good friend. To ask forgiveness. To serve others. To succeed with humility. To fail with grace. Since the day Andy, Katie, and Blake were born we have practiced the hard art of letting go. Tweet: Since the day they were born we have practiced the hard art of letting go. @amyepatton72 #emptynest

We see the fruit of this as our oldest told us thank you for making this time of moving away not only exciting but easy. He explained that he does not feel as though we are going to fall apart when he leaves. He sees us cheering him on and releasing him into this next phase of his life.

No, it isn’t easy. Yes, I will cry when he drives away, but joy and pride for all three of my children as well as peace and confidence in The One who holds their futures even with all of my failings as a parent are my overriding emotions.

The biggest downside I see so far to the empty nester life is not saying goodbye to my children- because it isn’t even goodbye-, it is that I had to mow our yard today for the first time in 6 years. Yes, changes are coming my way.

What changes are happening in your life? How have you prepared for them?

With Love, Amy E Patton

Saying Yes in my MESS

Saying Yes in my Mess, Rhinestone Jesus, Amy E Patton

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Jesus with me always does not lead to fear. It takes away all fear. Amy E Patton.

I lead a student small group at my church. It is the highlight of my week and brings me pure joy. This week’s lesson focused on the Holy Spirit. Our discussion centered around one question: How would your life be different if you lived knowing that Jesus is with you all the time? I expected a variety of answers, each following the same pattern: I […]

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life line

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depression, text a friend, Amy E Patton

Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from major depression each year. I am one of those numbers. For years, I battled against the strangled hold of depression. Doctors, medicine, good therapy, family, friends, and my church fought with and for me during those incredibly dark years. It is only by the grace of God and His infinite […]