That is the amount of time that has passed since Jim and I last lived alone as a couple. I'm sure that the actuality of the boys being gone has not really hit me yet. Somewhere in the back of my mind they are probably expected in from a weekend trip to visit friends. The reality of their 'empty' rooms will no doubt hit me at a moment when I least expect it. But the truth is...they have moved on to a new chapter in their lives. And I can honestly say that I am happy and excited for them.
Yes, I am also a little lost without them. I thought I was doing so well last night as I bought groceries for two. Then, as Jim helped me put them away, he joked that we needed to call someone over to drink all this milk. I am so used to picking up a gallon of milk every time I go to the store that I didn't even think to look in the 'frig' to see if it was needed. It wasn't. We had over half a gallon left over. Now we have a gallon and a half.
While I do miss my boys, I am also excited and looking forward to the next chapter in mine and Jim's lives together. I pray that the adjustment is easy and that we find a routine that satisfies us both. We have reminded each other for years that one day the kids would grow up and be out on their own. That is the way it was supposed to be. But he and I, we were meant to be together 'until death do us part'.
Now that the empty nest has arrived, I am thankful for the time Jim and I made for each other throughout our marriage. I am thankful for the 'older women' who reminded me that even though it seemed easier to lose myself in our children's lives, my relationship with my husband had to be my top priority. I am thankful for the twenty-nine years, nine months and nine days of first-hand parenting the five Blessings that the Lord gave us. I am thankful for the wonderful people that they have become. And I am thankful to be able to live out the words of Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)..."She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."
Lord, may Jim and I both embrace the future that lies before us with strength, dignity and laughter...lots and lots of laughter. Amen.