And then there were two.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I took our youngest son to college. Last week, we took our oldest son, Ronnie, who is transferring to the University of Georgia.
With both Ronnie and Scotty leaving home at the same time, my husband and I have been thrust into what is known as “the empty nest.” I am not so sure I agree with that term -- which defines parents by our children leaving home.
Isn’t that what we raise them to do? Isn’t that as much of an expectation for a parent as a child learning to read or brushing his teeth. They grow up, they leave home, they make their own lives. The lives that we as parents have spent every waking moment for 20-odd years preparing them to have.
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Just about everybody I know has posed the question: “What are you going to do with yourself now?” That’s actually a pretty fair question in my case, since my life for the past 21 years has revolved around nap time, mealtime, PTO meetings, football practice and spelling tests.
But my answer is, I don’t really know.
I have thought about looking for a job -- you know a 8 to 5 kind of thing. I haven’t worked outside the home since before my oldest son was born, so that thought is a little daunting.
There is volunteering, but at this point I am actually a little tired of volunteering.
Since Ronnie entered school, I have done all the mom type volunteer stuff -- team mom, room mother, merit badge counselor, PTO president. I have made posters and brownies, organized car washes and BBQs and run a concession stand.
Find a hobby, the books all say. But then again, I am not sure what kind of hobby I want to have. I never did much but read before my kids were born and their births didn’t interrupt my reading. Books are portable so I read in pickup lines or while waiting for practice to be over.
But while I am unsure about the next big step in my life, there is one thing I am sure I will be doing in between waiting on phone calls from Rome and Athens.
I have sent my boys off into the world. I no longer get to tell them when to go to bed or to finish their veggies.
I won’t know the details of all their friends’ lives and won’t be able to forbid them from someone with questionable character. I don’t get to hold their hands when they cross the street.
Instead, I will be holding God’s hand.
It has been years since I clasped my hands together to pray, like we do when we are children. But in my quiet home, with my husband asleep and nobody to wait up for anymore, I found myself with my hands together, lifting up my boys to God. Praying that God Almighty will hold them close and protect them.
My hands clasped together as I prayed. My fingers pointing up toward heaven. One hand for Ronnie. One hand for Scotty. They might be miles away but I am still holding their hands.
Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.