So it is official, we have an empty nest. Tessa, my baby, has left for college. She is attending summer term at BYU in Provo and will then continue on to Fall term.
I had been dreading this day for a while, for years actually as we have moved closer and closer to “that day.”
That’s how I referred to it in my head “that day.” “That day” when all four children would no longer live at home full time.
Well, we are there.
It is hard when, after 27 years of full time service, you are retired. Yes, I am still their mother and they will still need me but that day to day service and work of being a mother is over. It does take a little coming to terms with and adjusting.
I have had a whole array of feelings in regards to this new phase of life. They have ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other. There have been tears.
But thanks to some wonderful advice from friends who have gone before me in this new adventure I think I’m doing o.k.
Several years ago I read a book called “In the Sanctuary of Outcasts” by Neil White. It is a true story and takes place in a minimum security prison that is housed in the last leper colony in mainland America in Louisana. For some reason I have a fascination with books on leprosy and leper colonies and hope to one day travel to India to volunteer in a leper colony. The book is wonderful and has lots of life lessons to learn from it.
In the book, the author has served his time and is preparing to leave the prison/leper colony. During his time in prison he worried about how you should change, what his “new” life would be like, what his purpose was. One of the residents of the leper colony had shared a life lesson with him. In the prison/colony there was a garden that was lined with Coke bottles. During the 1950’s the Coca Cola distributors would send their chipped and cracked bottles to the colony and then refuse to accept the return bottles. They were afraid that if the public learned that the bottles had touched the lips of leprosy patients they would boycott the company.
So the leper colony ended up with more drink bottles than they knew what to do with. The patients found some new uses or rather new purposes for the bottles including using them as flower vases for beautiful arrangements, they used them as sugar dispensers in the cafeteria. They would use them as bowling pins on the lawn and they were also turned upside down and put into the dirt to line flower beds and walks on the prison grounds.
As Ella said in the book, “CoCola bottle still a CoCola bottle, just found ’em a new purpose.”
So I guess that is how I am feeling about being an empty nester. I’m still me. I am still a mom to Logan, Clark, Cali and Tessa but I now have the opportunity to find a new purpose, a new use for the time and energy I have put into raising my children for the last 27 years.
As a friend said to me, “You are just reshuffling a bit.”
Part of that reshuffling as well as time and energy will be going into this blog. I have some fun and exciting changes to share with you over the next few months. I truly believe that when that little voice told me to “Start a blog” almost four years ago when I really didn’t even know what a blog was, I was being prepared to transition into this next phase of my life.
Who knows, maybe some of that time and energy will also go to working in a leper colony one day!