Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Oldest Youngest Child

This past week Julia was out of town at a friend's house. It was a great visit. Adam and I still had Philip at home, and although he is our child, it's hardly like having a child at home. He's 22, and we have a third adult in the house. This will probably be the last time he'll come home and live with us for any significant length of time.
Anyway, the house was quiet. Adam and I sat in the living room together several evenings and it had that creepy empty feeling. The house was quiet. No little girl (well, not so little ...) was wallowing the dog on the floor, or playing on her tablet, or chatting away, or asking me the dozenth "Mama ...?" question.
I'm one of five siblings, so there are five families of kids being raised in my extended family. All together, my parents have 24 living grandchildren. And in the midst of my echoing house the other evening, I asked myself this: Which of the five households will be empty first? Which of us five mothers will have the first empty nest? Or, who has the oldest youngest child?
And I realized it's me.
This darling not-so-little munchkin is the only thing that stands between me and endless nights of quiet with my husband. No more "Mama, can you ...?" questions. No more school prep. No more "Did you eat breakfast?" or "Is it your dish night?" or "Where are your shoes?!" No more daily kid hugs. No more seeing them every day.

We are scattered. As I listen this summer to my children's plans for next year, for their lives, I realize they are swiftly moving out of my circle altogether. They are leaving so fast. They are wonderfully independent kids, and we have great relationships with them. They love us and like to come home. But oh! how I miss seeing them. I stopped briefly in Statesville yesterday and saw Peter and Kara for about an hour. I wanted to hug him and never let go. When will the time come when I don't see him for a year? Two? Five? How is it possible that a child of one's own heart can by physically so far away? Every mother feels this, I suppose. Fathers too.

This is nothing new; it is only new to me. I'm the youngest child in my family, and I'm not used to doing anything first. But this lonely transition into emptiness will be mine to accomplish before my sisters-in-law. I am trying to prepare.

1 comment:

  1. I like to listen to Nancy Leigh Demoss on podcast and she recently did a series on the empty nest. I am no where near that but it was very encouraging esp from marriage and ministry point of view. You will have to keep writing about it to encourage those of us behind you. :)

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