Monday, June 19, 2023

Full where I expected empty

 We’re in this season of life - it’s the preface to our boys leaving the nest. 

I think in some ways this is a gracious preparation. A kindness - preventing these levels of leaving from all hitting at once. 

Everyone has scattered, for an evening or two here and there, each week on the regular throughout the last year or two. But now - 

Now that summer has hit and the boys are older the scattering is longer and further. I’m so excited to watch them stretch and learn and grow. And I also have those quiet moments just to myself - those moments where my mama heart is smiling but weeping. Because deep love of course equals some need for time and space to learn the new

Noah is gone until the 30th of this month and he actually kind of nailed it the other day when we were talking. He said, “wow, it must be annoying to do so much for us and have us need you for so much and then suddenly have us begin to have our own thoughts and lives and go our own way.”

The part he didn’t nail was the “annoying” part. That word doesn’t even circle around the definition of what this is for me.  Not at all. But I think he came pretty close to actually getting it; this feeling that I carry and can barely even explain to myself. 

The time line between these amazing humans needing you for everything, to needing you for nothing (at least in a tangible sense) is shockingly more temporary than you think. 

With a graduation still fresh in the rear view of my mind, the processing of this life stage has been closely held in my heart. 

Tears have come quite easily, and sometimes without permission, of late. But it’s not in the way and for the reasons I expected. I remember watching “older” parents {ha!} as their children graduated, moved out, got married. And I saw the mama tears. “Oh this must be so sad!” - I thought. 

You don’t know until you’re there. 

And now I’m planted firmly “there”. 

I’m not sad. 

I’m deeply steeped in memories, nostalgia, and sentimentality. 

But it’s not sadness. Honestly I’m so relieved that this isn’t as crushing as my expectation had made it. 

At the same extent that this transition is not annoying, this phase is not sad. 

I suddenly get it - that the weight on your chest and the tightness of your heart is not the feeling of empty.

It’s the pressure of full

A pressing in from a fullness of life and joy and love and memories, 

not an emptiness from human presence being gone. 

Full to the brim of all the goodness of those years. The moments that I was intentional and I saw them and joined them and entered into their world. I fell deeply in love with that world. 


These tears seep out of that.

It’s the opposite of empty, but a fullness unlike anything I’ve ever known. Full of my purpose and God’s goodness. Full of traditions and surprises, and growing up together. 

They took my sleep and my pre-conceived ideas. They changed my body, and my mind. They obliterated my ill placed pride. They took my time, my second piece of pie, the color of my hair.

And in turn - they gave me…. Well, everything. 

So all of those articles and emotion manipulating media pieces stating that “you only have 18 summers” - 

yes, it’s true. 

Your time is limited with them. And there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. There is no pause button either. 

But it’s not to be dreaded! It’s absolutely, heart wrenchingly beautiful. 

Love each one of those summers with everything you have, but not with dread or fear. 

And when you do embrace that time, and it starts rushing by, you may feel this pressure on your heart that mimics sadness or emptiness - only to be pleasantly surprised that it is actually what being filled to the brim feels like. 

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