Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Help! I'm having an empty nest moment!

I came home from work last night to see this. It probably doesn't mean anything to you, but to me it is practically the kiss of death.
Grayson and Hayden and I went to the thrift stores on Sunday after church. We were shopping for some pieces of furniture for their bedrooms. I bought Grayson a futon and I bought Hayden a little love seat for his room. They both have been wanting these for quite sometime so we finally were able to find the time when we had a little extra cash.
Things were going very well, both of the boys were busy cleaning their rooms and rearranging them with their new furniture. They didn't have school yesterday and I had to work, so this was good that they were both so busy at home.
The problem for me is that Grayson totally re-did his room and decided he no longer has any need whatsoever for all these childhood books. My heart just sinks with pain. My little boy really is growing up. I remember reading him stories from these books, I remember him begging me to buy them for him at the thrift stores, I remember being excited because I found one of his books he had been wanting, I remember tucking him in at night and he would be reading one of these. And now....now they are bagged up all tidy, ready to be given to the Goodwill. Oh whaaaaa, my heart is crying.

I have been holding it together so well, all during football, all during my oldest son's wedding, during senior pictures, and all during the last football game & senior night when he wrote a dedication to me, only to find that I am struck to the bone with the pain of empty nest just by the site of these old books bagged and tagged for the Goodwill. This is the real me.........wife and mother! My identity has always been Sharon, mother of four.
Now who am I?
The reality that my third son is starting to test his wings and is inching to the edge of the nest is really sinking in. No! No! No! This can't be happening. It feels like someone is ripping my heart out. I know that I know that I know that this is good. This is the best thing for my son to do, start to cut those apron strings and to grow up and become a man, but my heart is just so sad.
I look back on these days and they really were the "good ole days". The amazing thing is, is that I did realize it during that time! I did stop and smell the roses. I did stop and take it all in. I am so thankful to God for that!
I know my life is not over, there is so much to look forward to. I do know that all my boys still do need their mother, it is just sad when things change so much. I really, really, really enjoyed being a busy wife and mother of four young sons.
Here is an old picture of me taking all the boys to school. We used to have the best time in the van together. We would play old fun songs, by artists like The Spice Girls, really loud and we would all sing along. We would always pray for our day; I prayed over them and asked God to protect them, that they would feel the joy of the Lord in their heart, that they would do and say things that are pleasing to the Lord, that He would give them all a great day and that God would use them. It seems like we just always had the best times, but I am sure there were plenty of drives to school also though where there was yelling and fighting too! I think it was mostly all good.

I know all the things that people say to people going through empty nest - embrace the now, God isn't finished with me yet, I still have Hayden at home, grandkids will come, enjoy your time with your husband, find new interests and passions, etc. but those thoughts don't take away my pain. I know God is the only one who can take away my pain. I need to give my burdens to Him.

I have been through this pain before and hopefully it will pass quickly. It is sure not fun going through this.

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted," sayeth the Lord. Isaiah 66:13

In need of a hug, Sharon

26 comments:

Sunflower Farm said...

I so know what you are going through. I can't even give you any clever words becasue I am just starting this path and it is very hard.I just know we moms are made tough and we will be okay.I hate when people make a big deal like we should not be sad ourselves. Let us have our moment because we are good Moms! On that note I am off to see my oldest son again:)

luvmy4sons said...

With only one gone and the second testing his wings I can understand somewhat! Big hug to you! It is hard when your identity has been so wrapped up in being mom for so long. I loved all the old pictures. The shots are all so similar to mine even...coming and going with four boys...that is all I knew for so many years. So often now we are down to just two around here. I wiss we could sit over a cup of tea and talk. Hugs again to you.

Julian said...

heres a hug for you.... Im not there yet, and I have 4, and 2 steps who are like mine. You are a good mom, and your kids will always need you, just in different ways. You have alot ot offer people, and your family. Seeing you with your boys gives me encouragement that I will get there with mine one day. Look what fine young men they have turned out to be because all of your hard work, and love, and Gods too!
Christina

Willa said...

Sharon,

I, too, so enjoyed being a wife and mom to 3 sons. I have had all the enjoyments that you have had sports, happenings at church and at home. Being a mom was/is such a delight.

I can't say anymore than you have said. But this I know empty nesting is a rite of passage that we must all go through. It is a grieving process that we have to go through. It just is and you know the Lord and He will see you through it all. God is so gracious to us.

It helps that you have always been such a busy person - because that is what you will put your efforts to now.

Remember www.emptynestmoms.com is a great site - it helped save me to talk to women going through the same thing. I have been on the site for 6 years. Some of the women I talk to on an email basis every day and we have even met.
It is the best site around for empty nesting.

I am mostly through the emptynesting phase now with grandchldren in my life. It has helped me immensely.

I was so upset with emptynest and now it is kind of good to have the alone moments but it is also filled with grandchildren and elder care at moments for my mom. We lost my dad Christmas last year. That was and is so hard, too.
Life happens and with God's help, we get through it.

Will your son be staying home during his college years or leaving home? It helped that all my sons stayed home till they were 21, then either got married or transferred colleges away from here.

I hope you have a great day, Sharon.

Willa

Kathi said...

Sharon, I am so sorry you are going through this sad time. I can just imagine the feelings. You are such a good mother and have cherished every moment with those boys. I pray that God will ease you through this time. I pray for you to ease into a new identity that you love just as much as the old one; hard to believe, I know, but God can do anythign.

I love the pictures. Wow, love your long blonde hair too. You still are very pretty, you were such a knock out back then.

Please don't get rid of those books. Store them safely. Believe me when your grandkids are between 7 and 15 they and their parents will be wanting them. I love you, Kathi

ps I work all day today again. :)

grey like snuffie said...

As I read this post, all I wanted to do was give you a hug. From the little I've seen peeking into your world you have the One who will walk you through this; it's different for everyone, yet similar in so many ways. Both of our girls are gone now. I understand. So many things I miss, so many things I'm rediscovering about myself and my relationship with my husband.

Farrah said...

Sharon,

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. I'm sorry your heart is breaking. The next season in your life is coming. You did wonderfully by living your life instead of just going through the motions which is so easy to do.

May God grant you peace in your heart! May you enjoy your husband ;0)!

adsgram said...

"embrace the now, God isn't finished with me yet, I still have Hayden at home, grandkids will come, enjoy your time with your husband, find new interests and passions,"

Sharon, ...you have given yourself the only advice that will stand the test. I read your blog each day and know how you feel about your boys. You were fortunate to have been 4 times blessed and I only once, and it was terrible for me as my son went thru all the prerequisites to manhood. I wanted my little boy back. Enjoy the boys as they mature as you have done already...you are so right about the next things to come. I now have 2 beautiful grandchildren, and one of them is a GIRL!!! I LOVE my boys, but my beautiful DIL and my granddaughter are such blessings in my very male world- even the dogs until this year-I just got a girl dog, too...LOL!!

Pack those 'special' books away. You will need them again! I asked my 7 yr. old grandson what he would like for Christmas this year, and he said "Books, Grammie" I was amazed and happy to oblige.

Thanks for your wonderfully heartfelt daily blog. It is enjoyed and so many of us can relate!

Lynne

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I second what adsgram said. Don't give those precious books away. Save them to read to grandbabies. Your nurturing years are NOT over. You have more nurturing to come. And while you're waiting for those grandbabies, maybe you can find a ministry that needs your special gift for love.

Jennifer said...

Hey Sharon! Keep those books for the grandbabies, if you REALLY dont want them, let me know and I would gladly buy them off of you!

I am not in your shoes, so I cannot much say more than you have already said, which was all good. You were talking about your identity. If it were me, I would now try to focus more on my identity as a CHILD of God. I think that all of our roles in life flow out of that role.

I am not much for advice, but I want to say, "keep telling Jesus" He understands. Keep telling Him till the burden is lifted.

Kelli said...

Sending big (((hugs))), Sharon. I will be going through the same thing before I know it. Please don't get rid of those wonderful books. Your boys will want them again someday!
~Kelli

Elena said...

You will be in my prayers. I can only imagine your pain, as Mary is only 2 but I know I will feel the same way because I love being a mom:)

mardell said...

Oh Sharon,
I'm sad for you! :o( I'm sending tons of hugs your way ~ I hope you can feel them. I echo what all the lovely ladies have said here today. I will keep you in prayer. Love the old photos too ~ yes, you were (and STILL are)a knockout! The boys love you dearly & they are proud to have you for their mother. They'll never be far from home. Hang in there, sweetie.

xoxo
Mardell

Mrs.Ruiz said...

I think about those days but I am not quite there yet. I think you will aleays be " Sharon, mother of four" and that is a wonderful title. Im just going to send you some hugs [HUGS} and remember that you still have boys at home that need their awesome mom:)))

Joann Allen said...

Sharon~ I know exactly what you are going through. I only have 2 children and there ages are 27 and 18. When my daughter left home it was okay because I still had my son for quite a few more years. Now he is gone too!! Some days are good and some are not so good. I sometimes feel like what does it matter about things like housework, cooking etc... because I was feeling like I didn't have a family anymore so no one was here to cook and keep a nice home for. Then it finally (almost a year later) hit me that My husband needs me!! We are a family, not one with children at home (unless you count the dog and cat). We spend so much more time together and I feel like this is what I am to do in this time of my life. Enjoy the times with my husband and when the kids come by to visit then enjoy that time too...I take lots of pictures and that seems to help, I will go back through them through the years and see that my children are still my children and yes they still need a mom. And the most special words you will hear is when your grandson (you will have some soon I am sure) calls when he is 4 and asks you to come over and visit!!! I will be praying for you and your family in this time of transition. Cherish the time that is left with the two who are still home but remember that one day you will have so much more time to devote to your husband and really enjoy all your extra time together.
Blessings,Joann

Simply Heart And Home said...

Sharon,

Sending you a warm {{HUGS}}. I know exactly what you are going through. You have done such a wonderful job of mothering and I'm here to tell you that it doesn't stop when they move our or get married. They will still "need" you. :)

God bless,

Gina

Ruthie said...

Sharon - Hugs to you. I've been through it also. It's hard at the time, and sad. I can remember crying all the way to work some days. But things do change in this world and there are wonderful things about each phase of life!
Even though you are sad, in the back of your mind know that there are many new and different wonderful times ahead and each phase of life has it's blessings!!

Also, I agree with others....keep the books. My kids enjoyed reading books to their kids that they enjoyed as a child!!

Hang in there, dear Sharon. I wish it didn't have to be sad. I remember someone saying to me that to be sad, it meant that it had been wonderful. And that is a blessing! And you will find new and special identity later in life, too, that will also be part of you and will be a blessing.
Hugs.

Mimi said...

you are just on the threshold of many many more wonderful times!!1
if you thought it was wonderful being the mother of 4 boys...wait until you are a grammie to a couple of little girls or boys...
the best is yet to come!!!
embrace the changes....
Mimi
(mommie to two)
grammie/mimi to 7

~~Deby said...

I for one am glad that you are the kind of mother that is sensitive to all of these changes....
now...to cheer you up...you are one of the winners on my giveaway Sharon, email me your address....
Deby

Anonymous said...

Sharon,
Do not despair! And don't give away all those books! You can't imagine it yet, but one day, you will have some precious grandchildren, and reading some of their daddy's books to them will be a great joy. So keep some of your favorites, and some day soon you'll have a wonderful time with a child on your lap, reading an old book that is so familiar to your memory and your heart.
HUGS! Cecelia
wampler@swbell.net

Jan Parrish said...

I think it's important to grieve and feel the pain now so you can move though it. Change is never easy. Just because you are grieving what was doesn't mean you aren't embracing the future. (((h)))

Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mom I just wanted to let you know that I love ya and I hope you know that you're not alone in this! It's normal to feel this way and I know that God will continually have a plan for your ever changing life! You have done an amazing job raising those four guys and it's not over yet! In fact, it never will be! You will always have a big impact on their lives. I'm so happy that my husband has such an amazing mother who loves all her four boys enough to hurt when things change! I pray that the Lord will guide you in this time and give you so much fufillment. Just remember Jeremiah 29:11 He's got a plan for every moment of your life! You will always be a wife and mother! That part of you will not leave. They way your role unfolds may change but that title that you've so graciously earned will not go away. Sorry for the long book! Love you! Brittany


18 Nov 08, 23:40

Sondra said...

Sharon I am so sorry that you are having such a hard time. I totally know what you mean about knowing yourself as a mom and not knowing who else you are.I am sure there are many good things to come in your future. My heart aches for you and I hope you find peace during this time.
Sondra
ps I sure hope you did not put those old Hardy Boys books in the goodwill. Many of those are worth a good bit of money :)

Brenda said...

Sharon im so sorry. Sweetie I am having it bad. I have never been alone or at a point i couldn't touch one of my kids. Now with April moved. Rian gone to Iraq and now my son left his wife and baby and moved back where my parents live I feel so alone. I like you surrounded my life as a mom.I wish I could tell you it gets better,but as they grow up and fly away the sometimes have to go and grow. I know April really has because she has those two babies alone. She is learning to really cook =) Even though she calls with questions as she is cooking lol.
As for the label maker you will love it! Brian bought me a nice one and it is my baby. Label boxes and put in the closet and it is so nice.

Beth said...

Here is a hug from me. I am right in the thick of this myself as we are going through our "last time of (fill in the blank)" with everything we do this school year. It is bittersweet, exciting and scary at the same time.

BethM in OH

Sharon said...

Dear Mardell, Cecelia, Julian and Lynne, and all my other blogger friends:

Thank you so very much for leaving me such sweet comments and awesome words of encouragement. I feel so much better today. I really appreciate your blogging friendship! May God bless you!

Hugs, Sharon

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