As of last Tuesday, I am officially an empty nester. Both of my children, now adults, are off to college. So at least for 9 months, E- and I will be alone in our house with our two pups.
|Both Rebbie and Matthew off to school|
Given that Matthew is a junior this year, I have experienced a child leaving for school for several years now, but this year Rebekah is also in college. It was both of them leaving that I had tried to prepare for. While Matthew leaving during the school year was one thing, Rebekah leaving brought a whole new facet to it.
You see, Rebekah is the spirit in our house. Matthew, E-, and I all have brains that direct us toward the logical, mathematical side of the spectrum, like all the way to the end of that spectrum. I truly believe that for us, we do not have a left and a right side to our brain, we are all left.
Rebekah on the other hand, while having all of the mathematical and logical talent that we have, has a right side that is very well developed. She is our free thinker, our artist, our extrovert, our creative genius, our talker, our spirit. When she is not in the house, it is eerily quiet. As E- put it after Rebbie had moved to school, "The house feels strangely quiet tonight. Our passionate, creative, smart, talented, entertaining person left three engineers behind and we aren't that exciting without her."
|Scientifically correct annotation of our brains|
So with both of them off to college this year, I have not only lost a scientifically-directed person to sit and talk to, but I have lost that voice of creativity.
I thought it would be easy. Both E- and I are ready to be empty nesters, not because we want our kids to leave, but because we are excited for them. We want to see where their plans and goals take them. We are excited to see their successes and accomplishments as they continue their journeys. Because we are so happy for them, I figured being at home without either of them would be pretty easy. I was prepared. I had this in the bag.
And I did..... Until I went into their rooms to get the sheets off their bed to wash and to vacuum. The quiet overwhelmed me even with the roar of the vacuum. Let me tell you, there is a huge difference between your children not being at home overnight because they are staying at a friend's house and your children not being at home and knowing they will not be coming home in the morning.
My logical brain tried to figure this out. What had I missed in my planning for this moment? I went back over all outcomes and I had covered everything. Then it dawned on me. While my left side let me know that it was no longer as strong as usual because it had lost two key sources of input, the puny right side of my brain that is usually hidden and strangled by the dominant left side, poked its head out to let me know that it no longer had its life support system that we call Rebekah. I had not taken that into account over the last year or so of preparation. I had failed to fully prepare myself for the definite hole left in my soul that has the exact same shape as Matthew and Rebekah.
|Rebbie and her roomie|
I am still not sad and I never will be. I miss them terribly and I always will. There is a difference. One can miss someone with all their heart without being sad, but instead being happy and excited, and that is exactly how E- and I are right now. I have always and still thank God for entrusting two wonderful, witty, smart, and enjoyable human beings to E- and I. However, I have always known that neither one was truly "ours"; they belong to God, they are His children. He allowed us to help raise them as best as we could and help prepare them for exactly this time in their lives. I just hope that He feels like we did a good job.
It is on to the next steps in our lives, whether that is becoming empty nesters or that is going to college and following dreams and setting goals. I love you both Matthew and Rebekah and I always will, just as I will always miss you. Do great things and make yourselves proud when you look back at your accomplishments.
You have already made me proud to be your Dad.