My firstborn son moved out of the house, and now he is on his own in a different state, working and living in his own apartment. He cleaned out his room and packed up all his belongings – emptying his closet, dresser, bookshelves and his desk – leaving only behind some of his childhood paraphernalia. Due to a prior commitment, I was not able to be home the day he left. So I did not watch him pack up his car and drive away. I was crying enough from a distance knowing he was leaving at that exact hour.
My husband called and told me how hard it was for him to watch our firstborn leave. I told him to please shut the door to our son’s bedroom because I did not want to see an empty room when I got back. For weeks the bedroom door stayed shut. I couldn’t bear to open the door and see an empty room where only small remnants of my son’s life remained.
Fast forward a month later and I finally decided to open the door to my son’s room. I took a deep breath and steadied myself. I told myself that I was not going to cry. It is just a room with four walls, and it is attached to our home, and I need to go into the room and see what needs to be cleaned. I opened the knob quickly, took a quick survey and shut the door.
In the time that followed it got easier to go in and out of his bedroom. I did break down a couple of times, but it wasn’t too bad. I had to tell myself repeatedly, and still do, that he is not my little boy anymore. He is a man.
Six months later I was feeling frustrated that I couldn’t find privacy to read my Bible, write and pray. There didn’t seem to be any room in the house where I could shut the world out for just an hour to pray and think and write. No room seemed cozy enough for me to sit with my journal. I wanted a study. Then it dawned on me. What about my son’s room? It has a desk, and there is a door that I can shut. Can I really claim my son’s room to make it a study for me?
I first started using the room to have my quiet time and devotions. Then as I grew more comfortable using the room, I finally gave myself the freedom to do it. I gave myself permission to claim my son’s room and make it my study. So I transferred all my journals, notebooks and books. I brought over my guitar too. I even have a place for my coffee mug each morning.
It has been freeing to be able to move on. I have two more sons. One is in college, and the other is a senior graduating from homeschool at the end of this year. People have asked me, “What are you going to do with yourself when your youngest graduates this year?”
My experience with my firstborn has given me a glimpse that I can in fact move on. I can begin to explore and allow to blossom passions that have been sitting dormant during all my wonderful happy stay-at-home, homeschooling mom years. My empty nest is not too far away, and I know I will experience sorrow. But at the same I am excited that I can in fact make plans for my new self to come. My life is not over, only just beginning a new stage, and I am looking forward to it.