The Empty Nest

I wonder how the Robins feel... when their last chick leaves the nest?

I don't know what the birds think about when that last chick has flown - I only know about my thoughts. I think about the time my children were born. I think about the anticipation we had as we held our newborns, wondering what kind of people they would become.

I remember the first days of school - how one clung so tightly to our hands on that first day of school... how another walked ten strides ahead and how we heard her new teacher say, "Now there's a confident Kindergartner!" I remember reading to our little ones, and how one in particular had a way of digging her elbow into my arm as she climbed into my lap.

I remember Katie and Orbie, I remember Green Eggs and Ham and the Berenstain Bears. I remember the days the training wheels came off... and the braces... and the glasses. I remember holding these dear ones in worship, then carrying them out to the tunes of, "But, I don't want a spanking". I remember them swinging their tiny legs in the pews when their feet didn't yet reach the ground...

I remember little league baseball, little dribbler's basketball and two-a-days in football. I remember the triumphs and the failures. I remember going to State twice - once with our oldest and once with our youngest. I remember hearing the roar of the crowd as our middle child wove her dribbling magic through the heart of the vaunted "Nazareth Defense" - the most successful girl's basketball program in the nation, and they couldn't stop my child!

I remember the tears and the laughter, the programs and the graduations... I remember seemingly endless trips to the emergency rooms. I remember the joy I felt when I had the unbelievable privilege of watching my children being born, and the even greater privilege I had when I baptized all three of them and witnessed them being born again!

I remember lunch pails, and unmade beds, and retainers, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I remember skinned knees, and sled rides, and going out for pizza! I remember trips to grandparents and birthday parties and Christmas mornings. I remember the delicious anticipation we had as we waited for the starter's gun to begin the race. 

So you see, while I do not know how the Robin feels when that last chick flies away, I do know how I feel: I feel a mixture of sadness and joy that are almost impossible to put into words. And, while I know that a chapter in this book has now forever closed, I also know that the next chapter has begun. And, I look forward with great anticipation to see what this next chapter holds!

More than anything else I know Who watches over our little chicks, now that they have left our nest... and I rejoice!

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children. Psalms 103:17, RSV