Empty nest but a full heart

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As the curtains gently sway with the beautiful fall breeze on this quiet Thursday morning, I sit in the midst of the leftovers from the wedding; the items that they couldn’t quite squeeze into the very packed black Jetta now bound for Texas;  the one with “just married” fading on the back window.

As I take a few moments to reflect on the past several days, I smile broadly and my heart warms.  She said, “The wedding ceremony and the reception were everything I wanted them to be”. (and wasn’t that the goal?)

We were blessed before, during and after the wedding with friends and family who smoothed out the potential wrinkles prior to their occurring with their support, love and encouragement.  During the wedding ceremony, love permeated the crowd; the love between the bride and groom and also the love felt for both of them by so many family members and friends who came to share in the joy of their nuptials.

This now official “empty nester” knows that days will come when the sense of loss brushes across her heart in large, sweeping strokes.  But, at this moment I feel nothing but excitement and thankfulness; excitement about all that God has in store for them and thankfulness that another daughter has found love and happiness with her soul mate.

Yes, mom and dad may be all alone now but as the youngest takes that final leap and clears the nest; we will look on and smile knowing she has been equipped to soar.

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This too (the chaos) shall pass

Morgan and a FL sunset

Morgan and a FL sunset

How did the time get away from me so quickly this morning?  My daily routine was all out of whack and it wasn’t even 8:00am yet.

As my daughter reminded me that we had to drop off her car before her hair appointment, the phone rang, adding a few minutes more delay.  Finally, I was in the car and on my way and then I saw him.  Our elderly neighbor was slowly making his way to the side of the road, waving his hands up and down holding what appeared to be a card.  I had to stop, even though I knew this would make me even later.

He had a card for the bride and groom, but expressed his apologies that he and his wife couldn’t attend the wedding.  He hung in my passenger-side window and began to remind me of how my children used to plant flowers with them.  As much as I knew I needed to go, I couldn’t.  This little bit of conversation and the card and well wishes to my daughter were important to him and appreciated by me.  He solicited a promise from me that I would remind my daughter of the times planting flowers and encourage her to teach her children to garden as well.  As I made my way to pick up my daughter, I remember thinking about how fortunate I’ve been to have great neighbors and friends.

Fast forward past long appointments, crazy traffic, and Costco crowds, and “the list”; the one that never seems to shorten and once again, the stress level seemed to reach it’s almost breaking point.  I just had to call my sister.  Just hearing her voice helped right away and she began to remind of a few things.

First she said, it’s all going to work out and then she provoked me to remember; these emotions aren’t just about the many “to dos”, or even about the chaos of preparing for a wedding.  More than anything, it’s the deep-down inside knowing that in a few days, my baby will be gone.  I’m holding that part in, to deal with it later, alone, after all the relatives and friends return to their everyday lives.

With that realization, we both gushed fresh tears, but they were cleansing ones.  They absolved my earlier guilt that said I couldn’t handle all of this planning and preparation without wanting to hide in my bedroom.  She left me with a heartfelt prayer and hung up to begin cooking dinner for her family and mine.  It’s the little things that mean so much.

I can’t even count the number of people who have called, emailed, messaged or sent word by a family member that they are there for me, if I need any help as “wedding day” looms closer.  Then there are the wise voices of counsel that comfort and provide that faith bolstering word when things get overwhelming.  And as for me, I’m smiling now as I write, although I still have tears.  They are happy tears though.  I’m so blessed with so many people who love me.

Falling into a new season

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“You’re gonna miss this, mom”, she says after I halfway scold her for one of her annoying habits of doing something to about 95% completion.   And I know that she is right.  That all too familiar constriction begins in my throat and I silently pray that I won’t be forced to speak any time soon.  My eyes are damp too, but she won’t notice that from the next room.  It’s not that I’m afraid to show my emotions; we’ve been a tangled mess of emotions over the past few weeks.

I’ve thought about it and written about, but now the time is here.  Our youngest will leap headlong from the nest this coming Saturday and when she gets up and brushes herself off, she will have a new last name and a new protector.

If time permits and the words flow, I will share it all in the coming days, the ups and downs, the panic and the quiet and all the other pre-wedding drama.

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season and it is, but I find myself wondering if now it will also represent the time of year that I fell into the “empty nest”.

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