A few weeks ago my daughter Christina, who is a senior in college, stopped home for dinner—with her entire college soccer team. I prepped all day, making yummy food and creating a cozy/homey atmosphere complete with a fire in the fireplace and warm apple cider.
The bus pulled up and out they came—all 25 of them! The girls were happy, bright, cheery, and grateful—so grateful to be in a home instead of a dorm. I was so grateful for my house to be filled with their energy. I loved every minute of their visit.
I loved the energy of their youth, their enthusiasm over the home-cooked food and the relaxing atmosphere. I loved their joy and laughter. I loved having my daughter home.
It felt like a dream.
I don’t mind being an empty nester. It doesn’t make me sad. It’s just different. My husband Brian and I have more say about our schedule. We walk in the park every afternoon. Dinner is smaller and later. Life is most definitely quieter.
Being an empty nester is another phase of my life. It’s a phase like when my kids stopped needing me for homework or when they started driving. Being an empty nester is a shift. Life is a series of shifts. I’ve learned over the years to embrace the shifts because I’ve recognized that they’re going to happen anyway.
Shift happens. Life changes. Children grow and leave home.
I’ve learned to embrace the inevitable ebb and flow of my life and to show up for what is happening right now. I try not to hold onto the past or look too far into the future.
My life is happening right now—empty nest and all.
In a mere few hours Christina and her teammates were in and out of my home. I hugged each girl as they walked to the bus. I hugged my daughter the tightest.
The fire was still burning and the smell of cider was still in the air. Instead of laughter there was silence—not sadness—just silence. It was another perfect moment, another blink of an eye, and another experience of the joy of being fully alive.