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Living with an empty nest

There is a saying, "A mother holds her children's hands for just a little while, their hearts forever." I've seen it on plaques or pillows in gift shops and catalogs. I don't know who is credited with this phrase, but I'm willing to bet their children weren't past the toddler stage.

Sunday, while attending a Christmas program at a large church, I experienced the "empty nest" syndrome as I have many times recently. My sons wanted to sit in the balcony, and I, being now officially "old," wanted to sit on the first floor, close to the front. So, we agreed on a place to meet when the program was over, and went our separate ways.

It would sound so good and sentimental right here for me to tell you that I fought back tears of loneliness. But, I guess I've grown with my boys; or maybe, I have regressed to their maturity level.

While waiting for the program to start, I spent the time swapping text messages with them, comparing which of us had the better seat, and triumphantly reminding them that I had all their candy in my purse. "Mmm, it's so good," I taunted.

Nowadays, when I see a young person communicating with their cell phone while standing in line or sitting in a public place, I think they are being rude. But this time I didn't feel rude, because the person sitting next to me, a lady who appeared to be close to my age, was busy studying biology notes for what she said was a "final exam tomorrow."

I tried to remember when I was young and wanted to sit separate from my parents. It must not have been too traumatic, because I don't remember exactly when it started.

Although I'm not upset about my boys' cutting the apron strings, I did think of the previously mentioned quote, and said to myself "Yeah, right." But then, for a second I felt I was a little quick to judge. When we met after the program, my boys said, "Mom, we thought you'd follow us up the stairs. We can't believe you didn't sit up there with us." For a moment my heart was caught in my throat, it felt so good to be missed. But then, holding out their hands they asked, "Are there any shock tarts or tootsie rolls left?"

Speaking of children, I received the greatest delight last week at the School Board meeting when some second graders from Thomson Elementary led the pledge to the American flag, devotion, and performed Christmas songs. Dantavian Taylor read the Lord's Prayer from the King James Bible. It reminded me of when my own boys were learning to read, how they worked to enunciate each phonetic sound. I was impressed with the good job Dantavian did. I don't know if his mother was there, but she'd be very proud of him.



Web posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005











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