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On the Flip Side

May 17, 2013

on the flip side, father and daughter, father and teen daughter, father hugging daughter, kids leaving home, empty nestersWe’re on the flip side. We have fewer years left with kids in our home than we’ve already had years with them.

I recently realized that we have only nine more years until we are empty nesters. It doesn’t seem possible. Looking at my sweet young kids, none driving yet, how can it be that Nick and I will be on our own with everyone graduated or away at college in fewer than 10 years?

Like a surprise party, somehow we’re on the flip side. It’s the trick of time. Amazingly, as I only recently “figured this out,” we’ve actually been on the flip side for a couple of years already. It went unrecognized as we romp through our daily life.

My feelings all swirl together like the colors in a carnival spin art craft. Joy, sadness, hopefulness, disbelief, worry, unpreparedness. I’m not ready. Not even close to ready now. Nine years is not enough time with my kids living right here, under my wings. Yet, like the mother of a two year old who laments having a teen, I know that as the minutes build into years, I’ll become more ready.

How is it that we only have four years to teach our daughter about boys, relationships, and life? Only four short years to impress upon her the warnings about drinking, the weightiness of foolishness, the exponential exposures of social media, the jumble of joys and dangers of choices …