Almost doesn’t Count – College Edition
It’s that time of year, primary school starting, college students leaving and families grappling with big changes in the household.
We’ve got one son in the final semester of his senior year (graduating early, oh yes he is!) our middle boy leaving for his freshman year at PLNU and our third son entering his sophomore year of high school.
The third child, is the main reason for this post. I’ve already reminded you well meaning folk of what not to say to parents of college students in my post “Five Thing Not To say To College Parents.”
Turns out we’ve got more “don’t say its” regarding only having one child left at home. I thought we covered this in bullet number two in my 5 Things post. Go ahead and click the link above, I’ll wait.
Apparently now, people have taken it to the other extreme.
I cannot tell you the numbers of people that comment on how the empty nest is in sight. People encouraging us to” just hold on, the end is near!” Telling us we’ve “almost made it”, that we “only have one more to get behind us!” “So you’re not quite empty nesters, but pretty much!”
And sadly they say it in front of our son.
See here’s the thing, we have 3 1/2 more years to enjoy him while he’s under our roof.
I know of no scenario where 3 1/2 years is “almost”. Almost refers to situations of immediacy like “I’m almost over this cold, the chicken is almost done”, and the ever popular “I almost hit the target with the grenade.”
I guess we’re just different, but we are grateful for the gift of the next years to focus on our third child. Due to birth order, he’s been last to do everything. We certainly don’t plan to short change him now.
In the 5 things post I suggest if you don’t know what to say, that it might be best not say anything at all. I further suggest that you simply ask yourself what it would feel like if someone referred to you as “something to endure or get through” and then again, don’t say anything at all.
Go easy on us college parents, separation is one of the most challenging things we as humans endure.
I’m sorry that people are dumb. I was just thinking that your #3 will be a bit of an only for a while, and that will be nice. Soak it up, Mama, for we’re only guaranteed today, anyhow. Proud of you and your brood. Praying for your tender mama’s heart.
Thank you for praying Gretchen, I suspect you know tender all too well these days.
That means we’re down to two and a half! I knew the people that went before me were telling the truth about how quickly life gets behind you… the reality is much more real than probably any other wisdom they passed down.
Enjoy your time with your youngest. I know you will…
You do the same Floyd, I know you will too!
Andra, since we were married 12 years before we had our children after 7 miscarriages we did not ever want our kids to leave home. I thought they should not even start school till about 10 or 11, college at 25, we did not and still don’t like the empty nest. We are blessed because both our children love to be with us, and we will travel miles, spend money we don’t have and continue to say we love them out loud anywhere, anyplace. We only have them for such a short time under our full time care then have to turn them over to their future mates…thats another issue, or can be. Most of our friends had children much earlier then us so when they talk about the, “can’t wait years till they are gone, gonna really live then” I almost cry. So very glad our children both had children, grand children for us to love on and tell stories about their parents. It’s such a huge responsibility but also such a huge learning time and the biggest blessing this side of heaven. I have no patience for those who mistreat their children or don’t enjoy them. Good for you my wise hearted sister on your post, speak this loud and clear.
Betty I love how you always “get” me. Thank you for taking the time to craft your lovely reply, it warms my heart. I never cease to be amazed at the life you have lived. 7 miscarriages? Oh precious sister, the plans God has for you. I wouldn’t have ever wanted them to leave either. I love like you said, how God provides grand kids for us to tell stories about their parents. I’m certainly not there yet, but it inspires me to be more intentional about “remembering” just what they are like, so we can tell the grand children in vivid detail.
We recently moved, and as I try and get settled, I think of you often. Much love Betty!