My dear one and I are of an age where we are rapidly approaching the “empty nest” time of life.¬† Or, so we would like to believe. ūüôā¬† We are on our fourth teenager, and her entry into high school¬†starts in two days.¬† Our household itself is¬†still large.¬† Basically, there are seven of us under one roof; ten, if you count the dogs.¬† I have three in college, one of whom isn’t ours, and now one in high school.¬† Those three will graduate by or before the youngest hits college, and well, that puts us in countdown mode.¬†¬†As the mother of four children who range from 14 to 29, this has been a long time coming.¬†

For two days, we have had an empty nest trial run.¬† All of our children are out-of-town for various reasons. ¬†It’s so quiet.¬†

I love it.

Now, don’t get me wrong.¬† I also love it when they all gather here to swim, eat, celebrate, or just hang out.¬† But, I can handle the quiet.¬† My dear one and I are happy to just be in each other’s company.¬† A lot has been written about what couples go through when the last child leaves the nest.¬† I’m sure that it will be an emotional experience for us too.¬† But not of mourning or loss.¬† You see, my goal is to raise independent children.¬† Anything less is a disservice to them.¬† With that goal in mind, while my marriage has involved children, it¬†has never been child-centered.¬† Our relationship with each other as husband and wife has always been the foundation of everything else.¬† Oh, there are times that we’ve been caught up in the hectic schedule of children, but we have always seen our relationship as paramount.¬†

Based on my experience I would say that there are three primary things that you need to have to “empty-nest-proof” your marriage:

1. A spouse that you spend exclusive time with on regular dates or other activities.   

2. To see the goal for your children as independence.  Then, when they hit those milestones, it is your victory too.

3. The ability to live your own life, not your children’s.¬†

So, when my children are out of the nest, I will have done my job.¬† I look forward to the times I will still spend with them and the additional grandchildren that I am expecting to be blessed with through them.¬† But, I also look forward to spending more time with just my dear one.¬†¬†After all, he is my best friend and the love of my life.¬† Read the rest of this entry »

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Back to School Shopping

July 31, 2008

I have been indulging, okay dragged kicking and screaming, in the annual back-to-school shopping ritual.¬† First, I should like to say that it’s possible that I’m not a “true” woman, since I rarely like to shop.¬† And, pair me with a child with a mind of their own (any child out of infancy and verbal), and I lose it.¬†

Yesterday and today I shopped with my teenager. 

I’m not sure anything else needs to be said….

Okay, I’ll say it.¬† Or ask it.¬† Do I have the only child on the planet who will first drive you crazy about when we are going, and then, once we go, practically refuse to try anything on?¬† I had to cajole, insist, and down right order her to try things on.¬† She’d frown, I’d say just try it, and after an obligatory period of resistance which usually included a lot of muttering, she would finally try it on.¬† Whatever it was.¬† Then, more than likely, she would like it and we’d buy it.¬† I felt like a professional shopping wrestler by the time we were done.¬†

Part way through the day, I decided to accept things.  My daughter is a glass half-empty and I am a glass half-full person.  We will see things differently.  Shopping together will always be a challenge.  Maybe I need to make it less of one.  After all, I can only control my attitude.  I stopped reacting so much to every negative response and just pointed out what was needed or not.  Gave her choices to buy it or not.  Placed boundaries and called for decisions pleasantly. 

I am way too uptight about this kind of stuff.¬† I need a new mantra.¬† Something like “Shopping is fun.”¬†¬†By the end of the day yesterday, we had accomplished that day’s tasks.¬† Today was easier.¬† And went faster.¬† In 35 minutes we had two new pairs of jeans, a vest, and a new shirt.¬† A world’s record for this duo.¬† My change in attitude was a big part of that.¬† What a surprise!¬†

Now, we’re off to open house.¬† Finally, along with the rest of our county, we’ll get school supply lists.¬† So, I can go shopping with my teenager in Wal-Mart with too crowded aisles and crazed mothers trying to conquer the list.¬†

OR

Maybe I’ll just send her dad with her….

I Corinthians 13: 4-7

Love is patient and  love is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails.