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Comfort to Future Empty Nesters!

empty nest

 

Ahh….spring, flowers blooming, temperatures rising, and graduation! Mine are long graduated, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been seeing pictures, hearing about the tears flowing and watching all the graduations. It is a glorious time. (For some of us like me, it was like a miracle performed by Jesus himself when I saw that a certain child of mine actually did graduate!!!)

Now I know some of you out there are just slightly panicking over what might be your last child graduating, you may be wishing this summer to go by slooooow, so that you get that lovely graduate to yourself for yet a little bit longer. I am here to give you HOPE!!! The Empty Next Syndrome is very short lived. I’m telling you this….EMBRACE it…you might think it is forever, it isn’t. As these lovely young graduates grow and mature, eventually they will find that special someone. Ok, now you can get back into business…wedding planning, showers, etc etc…you feel for a bit that you have them back…especially if its a daughter. Then the wedding is over, and there is the let down again…but wait, do not fear…its not over, because those lovely graduates start giving you GRANDCHILDREN!!!! Now that, that is the biggest reward of all….this is what you have been waiting for all of these years. Now guess what…you get to do the kid thing all over again, but without any of the responsibility. Our lives are now full with basketball games, volleyball games, softball, baseball, dance and all of those special school things. See, you only lose this for a little while. Again, instead of making friends with your kids friends, you are making friends with you grandchildren’s grandparents. It’s just a big circle. And relationships with grandchildren…they are so special. Technology has helped that a lot. Last night before bedtime I was texting with my 12 year old granddaughter. She shares a lot of things with me that she doesn’t always tell her parents. She also feels comfortable enough to vent about “my son” and what he is doing!!! LOL…they used to tell me to spank him!

So there you have it! Remember, it doesn’t end with graduation, you are just getting a well deserved break until those grandchildren come along. Now some of you may be thinking, well I don’t have kids, so what’s in it for me. Nieces, nephews, there are a lot of kids young and old that need a positive adult in their life. My 8 year old niece requested a meeting the other day to talk about a sleepover…just priceless.

So celebrate those graduations, and then enjoy your little break…trust me, it will all be worth it!!

 

Peace

Julie

 

Friends

To start off with, I would appreciate some prayers for Jules, she has been down for the count with a bad case of  pneumonia.  She is doing better, but it is slow going.

 

I recently had the opportunity to get together with some friends I used to teach with years ago.  We all carpooled to work together and oh the conversations we used to have in that 30 minute drive!  I think it was better than therapy!  We usually only see each other once a year, but you wouldn’t know it when we get together because we never run out of things to talk about.  When we first met, we were all at different life stages.  We ranged from a new college graduate (me) to a Mom starting a new family, and a Mom with high schoolers.  Despite these differences, we hit it off and have been close friends for over twenty years!  Now I am the one with kids, one is a recent empty nester, and one a grandma.

What a gift from God friends are!  I have been blessed with so many dear friends throughout my life. I have  my family including Mom, my brother, sister, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews, childhood friends, college friends, work friends, friends from our military days, playgroups and neighbors that have become friends.  It isn’t always easy to keep in touch with all of them, but I really try my best because these connections, these people are so important to me.  Each has brought something special to my life.

Social media has made re-connecting with friends a little easier, but there is still nothing better than seeing a friend in person.  When I got together with my friends over tea and treats, I could give them a hug, hear their laughter, see their smiles and look into their eyes and I felt really happy!  Sometimes it is hard to coordinate schedules and make it work, but I never regret getting together with friends.  It makes me feel alive, connected and joyful!

So whatever life stage you are in, I encourage you to nurture your current friendships and be on the lookout for new friendships.  That person sitting in the next cubicle, the new neighbor or classmate may have the potential to become a lifetime friend!

We haven’t shared any music in a while and this is one of my favorites with the theme of friends by Michael W. Smith:

~Blessings,

Jen

Snapshot Moments

Life has been moving at breakneck speed around our house since the beginning of September, especially for Eldest. In addition to her twenty plus hour a week competitive marching band schedule and a very challenging course load at school, she has been working on early admissions to colleges.   Some days I feel as if I’m barely keeping all of our heads above water with the day-to-day demands of life.

The other night I was feeling like the day would never end. It had been a long day of work, after-school activities, homework, dinner prep and clean up, lunch making and laundry and I just wanted to sit down when Eldest let us know that we would be needed for proofing her college application essays. The Mister and I exchanged glances and knew that there would be no relaxing on the sofa catching up on our favorite TV shows that evening or probably for the next few nights.

Friends have told me how busy senior year is and that it is over in the blink of an eye and I am beginning to understand what they were talking about. The past two months have disappeared like a vapor and I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath between activities. Back to school nights, school conferences, Homecoming, band performances and more have flown by!

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Last Marching Band Performance at a Football Game

So as we all gathered in the living room together, pouring over her college essays, I realized we had spent more time with Eldest this week working with her on these college applications than we had in a long time. I started getting emotional thinking about the fact that a year from now, she would be gone. In the midst of my weariness and feelings of being overwhelmed with life, I found myself feeling so happy and content in that moment. It was just an ordinary weeknight at home together, but I would cherish the memory of this night. Staring at Eldest, her youth and the excitement of so many wonderful opportunities ahead of her in life, yet still always my little girl, my heart was happy, yet melancholy. I said a silent prayer of thanks to God for the gift of this child no longer a child but a young woman.

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All grown up!

I tried to remember the words of my older, wiser sister Jules who said, don’t be sad when they leave because they come back and give you grand babies one day! I see Jules enjoying that stage of life and realize this isn’t the end, only the beginning of a wonderful life of many “snapshot moments”, these tiny snippets of time with our loved ones that we hold on to and cherish all of our days.

I’m happy to say all college applications were completed this weekend, now we can all breathe and relax a little-oh wait, now I need to start birthday shopping and planning for Little One’s December birthday and Christmas! It’ll be okay; we are just collecting more “snapshot moments” for the memory books!

I wish you a great week and some special “snapshot moments”.

~Blessings,

Jen