By Janet Walgren
I have a friend who sends me The CKN, a family newsletter. The Classical Kitten News has been in publication for about 40 years. It started as a children’s family news letter and it’s a fun and interesting read. In each issue of the CKN, there is a copy of a page that was published 25 years ago. It has been interesting to see how a child’s play, I call it “a child’s work,” contributed to the development of the adult, what they are, who they are, and what they do.
My favorite section of the newsletter is called “Secret Anniversaries of the Heart.” The reason that it is my favorite is that it reveals the treasures of a mother’s heart as she nurtures her children and watches them grow. Every parent has secret anniversaries of the heart as their children enter their family, grow to adulthood, and finally strike out on their own. Those anniversaries are sometimes bittersweet as you rejoice in a child’s success and contemplate their imminent departure and your emptier or empty nest.
My first experience with the empty nest syndrome came in a very cruel way when my ex-husband disappeared with my two sons who were 3 and 4 1/2 years old at the time. It took me years to find them and I never got them back. This experience caused me inexpressible pain and grief, but it also caused me to become an extremely grateful, thoughtful, diligent and loving mother to the four daughters that followed. If you want to get my ire up – talk about the terrible two’s or the awful teens. I would have died for the opportunity to enjoy those years with my sons. I know that children are “a heritage from the Lord” – a gift for which I will always be eternally grateful. Because of my experience, I learned at an early age that I was the Lord’s babysitter that I didn’t own my children – they were only on loan for a short duration.
This week has been bittersweet because my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren are unexpectedly moving to another state to take a job with more than double the income, and my last daughter is leaving for an internship in England, one of her life dreams. Her greatest desire in life is to be a wife and mother, but so far the opportunity has not come so she announced last night that she will be applying for a job in a state library archive in a state far away. This is an unexpected opportunity, she thought that she would have to get her MLS first, and the job is in her dream location, so I will pray for her success even though I am facing an imminent empty nest.
I have tears in my eyes, a smile on my face, and a very grateful heart knowing that it is a part of God’s plan for his children. It is a bittersweet time of life as I reflect on the happiness, the laughter, the joy, the music, the knowledge and the spirit of love that has filled my home and my heart these thirty-five years that I have had the privilege of holding the best job in the world, that of being a mother.