I expected that my wife and I have three more months before we have an empty nest. Our older son Ian, who had been living with us for all 26 years of his life, is getting married in December. Perhaps I was just naïve enough to think that he would only move out a few days before his wedding. I was wrong. He moved in to his own apartment three weeks ago. And now, we have an empty nest.
Empty nest refers to the stage in a parent’s life after the children have left home.
In the Philippines, it is common for households to never turn into an empty nest. Adult single children are welcome to stay in their parents’ home for as long as they want. That could be a matter of convenience–parents need someone to take care of them in their old age and the unmarried child saves on renting or buying his or her own house–however, it is a cultural matter as well. The Filipino family remains to be tightly knit.
In our case, our younger son Alan left home early. Six years ago, he went to the US in order to study. After college, he remained in the US to work and to pursue graduate studies. It was heart-rending to let him go, but it helped a lot that Ian remained with us. And so when Ian moved out, I just felt the vacuum in our house and in my heart. I said to our sons:
This is it, Ian and Alan. Mom and I are officially empty-nesters. And while mom and I are secure with each other, it just doesn’t feel right and the same that both of you are officially out of our home. We had grieved your leaving, Alan, for many years. Now, we start the grieving process with regard to Ian’s moving out. We just hope that we had done what God wanted us to do in this stage of our parenting. May the Lord be glorified in your lives and that your decisions always reflect God’s good will. Happy and sad day for me. I’m sure for mom, too.
We could not keep our children in our home all our lives. That is why I do hope we were able to follow God’s standard in Proverbs 22:6–“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.“ Off you go, children; however, never leave the right path.