This post has been in the works for several days now. Every time I thought about posting, there was something else to write about. And I’ve done more adding/editing to this one along the way as well.
I really like the image I found for this one! I think it’s the ice that really does it for me. It was a free image, and I’m glad it was out there for me to find.
My wife and I are in the “empty nest” season of our life. Both of our kids are married and doing well. They don’t even live in the same state as us. That’s probably our fault! We’ve lived in three different states within the last four years. It would be a bit ridiculous for us to expect our adult kids to follow!
Though…we recently took a 5ish hour drive to a much larger city for the weekend, and I was admittedly enamored with the local scene there. We happened on a running/biking trail that extended for miles and miles! And there was a coffee shop nearby where motorcyclists gather every Saturday just to hang out. I could totally get into that!
I really hope we stay in the same area for good long while. Not necessarily in the same house or location, though. We’re living a bit more remote than either my wife or I would really prefer.
It’s unlikely we’ll be moving anywhere any time soon! As previously stated, we are in the “empty nest” season. And our “nest” was empty for a short while – under a year. Then my mom-in-law (who has been thrice widowed and lived on her own for over a decade) sold her home in another state and moved in with us – per our invitation and help. A year later, we sold that home and moved two states away into my dad’s house after he became a widower for the second time.
Yup. That’s right. I live with my wife, her mom, and my dad. In this society, it’s a rather unconventional setup. In other parts of the world, it would be more usual. For us, it was the right, best choice. And there’s plenty of room(s) in my dad’s house for us all.
I’m glad we are able to give care to our parents in this season. It is a privilege and an honor. Some days, it’s really hard, too – especially on the emotional level. My wife and I got into quite an argument a few nights ago, and after a long day, because of a situation that came up regarding her mom, and how to best support her. But honestly, though the discussion was “about” her mom, the argument really just pointed out differences of perspective and even personality between the two of us.
Okay, it also pointed out that it’s not always easy to Be Kind to Your Parents! My wife reminded me of that song a couple days after our “intense discussion”. It had been playing on loop in her mind. Our kids’ grand-uncle made a CD (remember those?) for them when they were quite young, and that song was included. Seems we may need it more, now! Especially since we are, in reality, now parenting our parents – in some ways.
I can’t help but think about how much simpler things might be if it were really just the two of us. But then, there would also be more complexity. For instance, I don’t have a “real job” right now. I tried it for a few days, but the anxiety level of everyone in our household went way up, and my wife & I decided there’s enough to do just around the house and property to keep me busy (enough), and our parents just do better when someone is around.
My main mental/emotional priority is to have (and keep) a realistic outlook. The message that I keep reminding myself of is that this only for a season, and I don’t think I’ll ever regret it.
Sure, I’d love to have that “empty nest experience”, and we still might someday. But we chose this. I’ll continue to do the work – the mental and emotional work – so I can not only endure but embrace it!
God bless you and your wife for honoring your widowed parents in this way. That is true fidelity. Shalom
I agree that in the end it is totally worth the time and effort put in with your parents…I have been where you are, friend, take some validation from that if you desire. thanks for your sharing of this, I appreciate it!
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My mother in law stayed with us for four days last week. I give you a lot of credit
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