Learn to love an empty nest | Faithful Living
By JOAN BAY KLOPE
Whidbey News Times Columnist
September 17, 2010 · Updated 1:51 PM
Not one, not two, but three there would be, a total of five in the Klope family. Quiet alone times have gone by the way, but will be back on some future day.
Years ago my husband wrote me a poem on simple lined paper and I’ve kept it, privately tucked in my Bible ever since. This week as I watched our son, the third and last Klope child pack for college, I recalled that poem. That future day, to enjoy alone time with each other, has come.
It’s a profound crossroads moment for us. With the exception of two years when we went our separate ways as young collegians before we decided to marry, it’s been he and I since we were 14 and 16 respectively. We grew up together and have lived this life, shoulder to shoulder, for 37 years. When we welcomed our first child 24 years ago, we agreed to center our lives around our children.
And this week, as I helped Dan pack his belongings, I wondered out loud what it will be like to no longer be intricately involved in their daily lives; to live in a home with three empty bedrooms.
“You’ll be fine, Mom,” Dan responded as he picked up a cowboy cookie I had just made for him. “You love Dad so much.”
That I do and always have. But what I could not have imagined is the joy I saw in Dan’s eyes; a joy produced by the fact that he can depend on our love. And it is there that our task lays before us: to take the same energy we applied to our day-to-day parenting and give it back to each other. That future day has come.
I know. Half of all children in the U.S. have learned to live happy lives with parents who loved once but eventually parted. I’m a member of that club. Parents deserve happiness and we have no right to determine how that find it. Besides, life is complicated and we’re living longer. Half of all humans who have lived to be 65 are alive today. Isn’t that an astounding fact? To the average human, choosing a life partner in your youth means you face a much longer life together than did our ancestors.
But this fact also remains: our adult children contintue to be served best by having happily married parents. Knowing that their parents can withstand the rigors of life gives our children hope that they too can stay strong. That mom and dad will be there to offer advice when asked and love everflowing when they long for it. That when life swirls around them their parents stand united—to encourage, cheer, challenge, pray, believe, care. That when they pray for a spouse to love for a lifetime, it is possible.
The Klope kids have gotten out of Dodge; they are off The Rock. But their parents carry on. It’s time to enjoy alone time once again.
Reach Klope at email@example.com.