We all reach that tipping point in life – the one where our lives go from the endless activities of our children and families to more quiet times at home. Gone are the study tables and gym bags, replaced by empty rooms and open seats for evening meals. It is the natural way of things, but doesn’t make it easy. Rightly, the youngsters are filled with anticipation, and perhaps a dollop of apprehension, as their lives lurch forward toward independent adulthood. New sights, sounds, rights and responsibilities flood in and are processed and soon mastered.
Unmoving, our days shift little. We walk the same halls. We sit in the same chairs. We live the same. Except, that the little ones that used to fill our homes with noise, and joy, are either away or cloistered in their rooms confronting the homework and required tasks of the coming day.
Flummoxed by the concern expressed by a younger sibling, a recently returning college student expressed her frustration, “Why does my little brother care so much that I’m gone? I’ll be back at Thanksgiving!” True. But while the big sister’s days are filled with new and more, little brother is confronted with absence and less.
As summer smolders to an end and the streets are increasingly littered with the first falling leaves, we return to our winter cadence. We wake, and retire, at more consistent hours. The sun streams in only as we are preparing for our days and nightfall arrives hours before the nightly news. Even as we hope for the next chapter, we long for that which is forever passed. Yet, do we really want for things to stay the same? Isn’t the only thing worse than watching them mature and leave the house is having them not?