Even though my hubby and I planned for the impending empty nest it came with some surprising personal realizations. Our youngest left for college last August. I left my baby in the middle of New York City! We finished the baseball season and headed home. Our off-season was busy and Spring Training flew by quickly. Opening day was here. MLB opening day was the beginning of yet another season of baseball. This opening day was the beginning of my hubby’s 29th professional baseball season, 13th in the Majors. It was the first full baseball season in our empty nest.
The first realization I made about the empty nest didn’t come in August. It actually came on the 19-hour drive to our seasonal short-term rental. At first, the emotions of making my first drive alone were overwhelming. I shed tears. Memories of traveling with my three boys flooded my mind as the tears poured down my face. Hours upon hours, miles upon miles spent with them; in a van, in planes, in cars, in trains. Frequent flier points added up along with miles ticking away on the odometer. Florida, Venezuela, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Montreal, Boston, Dominican Republic, Los Angeles, Baltimore, New York, Pittsburgh.
Multiple times in many.
Numerous memories in all.
I had never had so much time alone. I wasn’t sure if I could do this. The tears turned into the joy of all we had done together, all the times that things were hard and easy and all the in between. I realized that I still had those memories with a future full of more to be made.
The second realization came when the radio went to static with sudden bursts of different genres of music blaring through. I pressed seek and waited to find just what suited my ears. Wow! I get to choose my own music. I don’t have to listen to ‘Timber’ for the 42nd time. No more of the same song on repeat! Hey, this might not be too bad. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my boys but some things are not missed so much. I began to think of the things I didn’t miss.
- The smells. Boys smell! Differing aromas, all that can start a flurry of words that end in punches across the seat, to not speaking, then “Hey dude, did you see that video?” From “I’m never speaking to you again.” to best buds in 60seconds flat!
- Those fights. Oh, I don’t miss those fights! (Don’t be tempted to think when they get older they don’t fight. No. They just save them up for Christmas break.)
- Food being thrown. With my boys food is and was a mainstay. They become very territorial about every morsel. “Where did you find that? I want some. Give me some!” Inevitably ends with a loud “Here!” and food being thrown in the direction of the one desiring what the other had. I yell, they laugh and ask what’s my problem. Oh, my!
Freedom! This season may be ok!
The third realization came when I finished the move-in in record time! I didn’t have to stop and feed the hungry, or stop a fight, or yell about the same music being played, or step over bodies strewn around the floor while video game tournaments were played. I sat in the rented recliner turned the TV to something other than ESPN and pondered my surroundings. I think I can do this!
Of course, as with all changes, the path is not straight and wide, the emotions are not all happy and uplifting. There were moments of emotional meltdowns after realizations.
The last realization I had was one of Self-Discovery as I sat in the apartment on the hubby’s first road trip. I was lost. Lost in this new season of who I am, not in this new baseball season but in the empty nest season. How do I define myself now? Who am I in this new season? I felt so lost. Then a soft whisper, “You are mine.” I intellectually know that God is with me yet there are times that I get caught up in the ‘me’ moments and don’t see ‘Him’ around me. This reminder, that I am His, settled my soul. The whispers in my spirit continued.
- “You are your true self. You are your child-of-God self” (John 1:12, MSG).
- “Keep company with me, living free and light” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
- “With me, you are fully you” (Colossians 3:10, MSG).
Our Self-Discovery; the answer to “Who am I?” in any season is:
I am His.
I am free with Him.
I am complete in Him.
Realizations of the fullness of the power of Jesus can take us into and through any new season, we find ourselves in. With every step, listen to his whispers in our spirit. Lean on His Word. Stand in His abilities. No matter how lonely we may feel, no matter how confused we may be, He is ready to lead and guide us.
I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this devotion, Billie. Thank you for sharing your heart and God’s heart in your Blog.