Got Children?

My nest is empty. According to Wikipedia, empty nest syndrome is the general feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home to live on their own for the first time. Adjusting to my sons leaving home was difficult I was in the throws of menopause. But before there was an empty nest, my nest was full.

In 1973, my husband and I had been married for three years, I was twenty one and for some odd reason, I felt “old”. My husband and I had been trying for a baby for eight months.  I had a fairy tale idea of marriage and motherhoood. When I found out I was pregnant, I was delighted. I was going to be a super mom and this baby would bring my husband and I closer. My first child was born in February of 1974. In my fairy tale, I was going to have a boy and a girl. Little did I know that God was going to give me “sons” to raise. My second child was born in March of 1977.

Discipline. As a new mom, the words “no, no” worked for awhile. When my son was three, I would use a wooden spoon, until I realized that if you are really upset, a wooden spoon like a belt can hurt your child.  When my second child was three, I had learned to use “time out”  using a “sad chair.” as a way of discipline. I do not think my children bought that it made me sad when they disobeyed. They spent a lot of time in the sad chair.

I was raised with spankings but I was a compliant child. My sons were not complaint and we did spank but I wish I had not spanked because I usually was angry, spankings and anger do not mix.  As they grew, restriction from things worked. I restricted from things like the Gameboy. I became addicted to the Gameboy and suddenly it was missing. Of course, the natural progression of discipline was grounding the boys. However, if a week was good, my husband would ground the boys for a month and so the grounding became a source of contention. I think at times we were too harsh with the discipline and other times we were too soft on the boys. When the boys were grown, I asked the boys to forgive me for the times we were too harsh.

Love. As a new mom, I was in love.  There was no manual that came with the children. I can still rememeber looking in to the eyes of my sons and realizing that God had given me the greatest gifts.  I knew that more than anything I wanted to teach them to love Jesus. There is something special about children saying their prayers and memorizing God’s word. Now I  know that raising them to love Jesus was the best thing that I did as a mom, I love my sons with all my heart.

I so related with chapter five Let Go by Karen Ehman. I wanted the boys to clean their rooms, help with the dishes, mow the yard. We had charts, award stickers, but the biggest struggle was homework. With two sons, with learning disabilities, homework was torture. I have often felt that I went through grade school, middle and high school three times. Once for myself and then for each of the boys.

The sentence in Let Go, Chapter 5 that we must empower our growing kids to make good choices resonated with me. They have both made choices of marriage, they both have made the decision to have children. I am so blessed to have five grandchildren. One area of letting go that is the hard for me is not seeing my sons and their families very often.  Another area that is difficult is waiting for my sons to take their families to church. Lastly the area that hurts is as their mom, I am not honored as I once was honored.

Mistakes. I have made many mistakes. I learned that if you are angry it is best to send your child to their room and calm down before you decide on how to discipline the child. Another thing I learned that it is best to be on the same page as your husband and if you are not do not let your child see the discord. Lastly, I learned that it is okay to ask your child to forgive you if you say something you regret.

Prayer. I have said so many prayers over the years but it is the best gift I can give my sons. Now it is my time to realize that my nest is not empty. My boys have become men with their own families. Nothing will ever change the fact that God blessed me and my husband with two handsome sons. My nest is full of grandchildren. I sometimes feel I am a better Grandma than mom, I know why. I get to send the grandchildren home. When you raise your children to adults, you have to ask God for grace because as a mom you have to Let Go and Let God.

Father God, once again, I humbly approach your thone of grace. I ask when I am missing my sons, that I pray. I ask when I am feeling jealous at not being included, that I pray. I ask when I am with my grandchildren I point the way to Jesus, and that I pray. I ask that each mom whose nest is empty will realize that the nest is not empty, just different, and that we pray. I ask for your mercy as I Let Go and Let God have control in my sons lives.  Amen. Blessings Diana.

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