by Jennifer Duncan
I was several months in to the “empty nest” season of life, when I realized that this was a fairly permanent situation. My sons were firmly set in college life, happily independent of my supervision, and I faced the stark reality that there were some things in my life that would never happen again.
I had been warned about this. Someone wrote an article that reminded parents that there would come a time when we would mourn over all the “lasts” that had gone by unnoticed. And, yes, I realized there WAS a time when I picked up one of my little boys and parked him on my hip, for the last time…a last time for holding hands to cross the street…a last ride in a car seat…a last crayon drawing. So now here they were…all the things that were over for good…staring me in the face.
Never again would I come home to find that someone had eaten ALL of the snacks that I had purchased for a get-together with friends.
Never again would I find a pile of dirty sports uniforms in the laundry room floor…uniforms that needed to be clean by TOMORROW.
Never again would I have discussions about which kind of shoes were the “must haves” for the school year.
Nobody would be arguing over the use of my car, or whose turn it was to put gas in said car.
Nobody would be expecting me to have snacks prepared and packed into a cooler before the bus left for a track meet.
Nothing would be left in the middle of the kitchen table, like math books or cleats or dirty socks.
Nothing would be rearranged in the living room, to set up a better place to play video games.
Never would I be expected to be at the youth parent’s meeting at church, or to help sponsor an overnight lock-in.
Never would I have to worry about waiting up until curfew, or what I would do if one of them didn’t come home on time.
Never again would I wonder who left the butter out of the refrigerator, or who left the greasy pan on the stove.
Nobody would be asking to borrow money from me.
Nobody would ask me to bake something TONIGHT for the bake sale tomorrow.
And nothing, like scissors, tape, batteries, or tools, would disappear from its usual storage place.
Everything is right where it’s supposed to be, and my life is uncluttered and my schedule is predictable and uncomplicated.
Someone said that these days of sending grown children off on their own, are like Moses’s mother “putting the basket in the water.” To spare her son’s life, Jocabed took a great risk, and launched him out in a floating basket to be found by a compassionate princess (Exodus 1). Jocabed didn’t know how it would all turn out, and even though scripture doesn’t record what she said or did, I’m guessing that she was praying her heart out, asking for God’s protection and provision. God was faithful to her, just as He was to me when I launched my sons. I know that even now, He is the one giving them the guidance and care that they need. I am thankful for that.
But oh, what I wouldn’t give for just one more night of waiting…for curfew.
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.