Empty nest syndrome runs through my bones every day, and that is coming from someone whose two children have been off to college and summer jobs for over a year. Sure, the emptiness has diminished with time, and with efforts to find other meaningful pursuits, but it lingers around and even erupts on an occasional basis.
For instance, when the warm spring weather finally settled in this year, I was disoriented for awhile. My being wanted to do what it has done every summer for the last twenty years, and that is, go into kick back mode with my two sons, i.e. have a more relaxed schedule, play, work around the house and take educational trips with them. With both gone, though, I could not find my routine. I finally realized that I have to create a new one - without them. It's just not the same.
I imagine this syndrome is more pronounced in our society, where the norm is for couples to have only one or two children. Once those two are off to college, the nest empties rather rapidly. I know because I only have two sons. If I had four or five or seven, the younger ones would still be home. The emptiness would be much less stark and I would have more time to get used to a dwindling household, and if not that, I would have more "time on the job" such that I might be more excited to have an empty nest.
As it is, I have to take "early retirement" and I don't want to.
Oh, God, please help us empty nesters to adjust to this new
time in our lives, so that we can continue to do Your will and be fruitful
in spreading the Gospel. Help us to know that You are always with us,
that You will never leave us. Amen.
image - http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/cza1365l.jpg