Jon and I recently celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. I can recall that day, and every detail about it, as if it were yesterday. The truth is, twenty-seven years has flown by faster than we ever could have imagined.
During our engagement period, we read several marriage books which focused on expectations, ways to strengthen our marriage, finances, etc. One book in particular, discussed the four seasons of marriage:
1) The Honeymoon
2) The Childbearing Years
3) The Child rearing Years
4) The Empty Nest
We were twenty-three years old when we got married. Our Honeymoon stage lasted just shy of three years. It was during this time we started “building our nest.” We didn’t have a lot of money back then, but we bought a townhouse and furnished it with odds and ends from Jon’s parents’ mini-storage. It was small but cozy.
We had our daughter when we were twenty-six years old and two years later our son was born. From that point on, life was a blur! It was busy, fun and never a dull moment of sleepless nights, crying babies, changing diapers, chasing toddlers, and trying to make ends meet. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time! It was also over in the blink of an eye!
The child rearing years went by even faster! They included school day routines, packing school lunches, musicals, gymnastics, basketball, football, track meets, spelling bees, homework, book reports, science projects, playdates with friends, sleepovers with friends, first loves, broken hearts, fights with friends, first dates, first high school dances, first driver’s license, first car accident, and again many sleepless nights just waiting to hear the front door open so you knew they were home safely. Then, college came knocking on our door.
The nest got roomier…. It was just the three of us for three short years. Then, it happened again….college came knocking. Both kids were off living their busy lives and embracing the college experience. It happened in the blink of an eye!
Our nest was EMPTY! How did we jump from honeymooners to empty nesters so quickly? The answer was simple…. God had given us temporary custody of our children. They really belong to HIM! We are the vessels God uses to love, nurture, teach and pray over our children.
We’ve been blessed to watch our children grow and mature into smart, kind, hardworking adults. We’ve watched them succeed AND fail. We’ve watched them achieve milestones AND struggle with poorly made decisions. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Some days, it is an up at dawn, pride swallowing siege which most kids will not fully understand until they are parents themselves. It is also the most rewarding, invigorating, life experience you will ever have.