I remember being pregnant with Aaron and hearing the term “nesting.” I wondered if that phenomenon was really true, and later discovered that it certainly was. I had the rush of energy and the desire to get our nest in order before Aaron’s birth – and he was three weeks early! Interesting!
I find myself considering our nest again, but now on the other end of the spectrum. Goodness, how time flies! And now I sound old even in just saying those timeless words about time. I don’t really feel old, but soon our nest will be a little emptier, and I know that the years have rushed by much faster than I ever dreamed they would when I was knee high in diapers and runny noses.
Tomorrow, barring any delay, Andrea will officially be moving to her new apartment. She’ll only be an hour away but the distance isn’t what matters. This marks the beginning of her independent life. She’s worked since she graduated from college, but has patiently still lived at home as she waited for the wisest opportunity to launch out on her own. That time has come for her, and no one could be any happier for her than Gary and I are. Yes, we’ll have the normal sadness as we watch her go, but the sadness is tempered by the happiness we feel for her. She has a job that she’s wanted and that God put into her lap, so it seems, and now her own place. Her patience has paid off and we believe that God has honored her.
When Aaron found out that Andrea would be moving, he was very surprised. He blurted out, “NO MORE ANDREA??!!” Well, kind of, Aaron………….she’ll still come to visit but no, she won’t be living here anymore. He’ll miss her a lot, as we all will. And she’ll miss him, too – in some ways more than others, for sure.
The nests I’ve seen around our yard, up in the trees, are all empty. It’s the time of year for empty nests. When I think of our nest, the Moore nest, I know that we have a different nest than many other people have. We’re not alone in our uniqueness, certainly, but we are in the minority. At our age, Gary and I should have an empty nest…………but when you have a child, or an adult, with special needs – sometimes the nest won’t be empty for a long time, and maybe never.
This fact hit me at some point when Aaron was entering adulthood. Some of our friends were anticipating their own empty nests, or celebrating that fact when it occurred. None of us dislike our children, but when the time of life comes that our children move on and we’re still young and healthy enough to be alone again – well, it’s just fun! But as Gary and I dealt with the reality of Aaron’s needs, part of that reality that hit us square in the face was that Aaron may not leave home for a long time.
I’m not complaining and I sure hope I don’t sound whiny. When we were first exploring what options we had for Aaron’s services, we chose an agency that would provide Aaron with a group home. We were definitely headed in that direction…………..until one of the staff physically and verbally abused Aaron. Gary and I considered that door shut, and so have kept Aaron at home with us. Some day we will have to cross that bridge again, but we don’t know when that will happen. His day group is a blessing to all of us, with an awesome staff. But honestly, I can hardly imagine someone being able to love and understand Aaron enough to live with him, to care for him during his seizures, to know how to defuse him when he’s angry, to read his body language, and on and on.
There are some lessons that I have learned over the years in regards to our lack of an empty nest at this point in our lives. I don’t always practice what I preach, but I have learned:
1. Do not compare myself to others!
This is a trap that I think we women fall into so easily. I remember in our early years of marriage how I would listen when other wives told me that Gary and I should do this or go here or experience that. I had to learn not to compare our lives with their lives. Now as I think of Aaron being home I must also not compare our lives to those who are “free.” God has given us this life with this situation, in His sovereignty, and to live any other way than in freedom would be defeating.
2. Do not covet the life that others have!
This goes along with not comparing ourselves to others, but coveting takes it one step further down that slope of sinful behaviors. Other couples may have more time alone, more opportunity for travel, more peace and quiet, more time for their own hobbies or pursuits……..but I should never covet these things. Coveting is purely sin!
3. Be content!
Paul had a lot to say about being content………….”Godliness with contentment is great gain;” and “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Being content is an act of my will and an act of obedience to God.
4. Count my blessings!
I have so many reasons to be thankful and so many blessings to count, every single day! And counting my blessings keeps my mind on positive attitudes and focuses me once again on being content.
As Andrea and I worked in her apartment the other day, we noticed the pretty tree out the front window. It’s a Redbud and this spring it promises to provide lots of beauty for her to enjoy. As I was working on something, Andrea said, “Look, there’s a nest in the tree.” And sure enough, there sits a nest up in the branches of the Redbud. What a perfect reminder that now Andrea is starting her own nest! Her first nest is not like my first nest, but it’s a nest and will be blessed by God as she honors Him.
And I want to continue to honor God with the nest that God has given to Gary and me. Our last bird may be here for a long time, but that’s OK. What a privilege to mother our special bird!
Besides, what would I write about if not for Aaron?
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