As I listen to the silence, I realize it will become more and more familiar to me in the years to come. My children are growing up. Eventually, each one of them will leave our home. As they leave, one by one, the noise level and activity will decrease.
I’ve heard many parents say, “I can’t wait for the kids to leave home!” Each time I hear this I wonder, “Why don’t I feel that way? Why am I different?” I honestly enjoy my children. They are fun to be with. More importantly, they honestly seem to enjoy me! I can’t remember them ever making me feel like they didn’t want me around or involved in their lives. I’m very fortunate.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not, like some parents, trying to be my kid’s best friend, nor am I ignoring my parental duties. I demand respect and obedience. My children know where the “line” is and, if they cross it, they get brought down real quick. In turn, I try to show respect towards their needs and feelings, even if I don’t always agree with them.
My relationship with my children is a good one. There are times when we sit around and talk for hours. We’ll laugh so hard that our sides hurt. We play together. I’ll chase them through the house with the water gun. They’ll throw pillows at me from upstairs. We’ll crank up the rock ‘n roll on my huge DJ speakers, turn on the strobe light, move the furniture, and dance! We have fun.
This is Brandon’s last year home and we are busy researching colleges, scholarships, career paths, etc. College baseball coaches are contacting him. We have toured one college and four more tours are scheduled within the next two months.
It is with mixed emotions that I watch my firstborn prepare to leave our home. I am so proud of what he has accomplished and excited about the bright future he has. There is no doubt that he will excel, as he always has.
I try to imagine him being gone, but can’t fathom it right now. For 18 years he’s been a part of my life on a daily basis. It is impossible to envision his absence. I know that we’ll be in constant communication after he leaves, but nothing will ever fill the empty spot he’ll leave in our home.
I’ll be going through the same thing with Aaron in two short years. He’s already made some decisions on his college choices. Aaron is a very dedicated percussionist and stays after school to practice for hours at a time. I admire his work ethic and am so proud when I see him play. I miss him when he is gone. Aaron is very witty and funny. He can make me laugh so hard that I cry. If I miss him now, what is it going to be like when he leaves home in two years?
After Aaron leaves, there will be a three year break before Jared graduates, followed by Kendall in two years and Kelsey in another two. Thank God that Dylan, my little guy, will remain underfoot for a while!
As they grow and leave home, I’ll make the necessary adjustments. I will become involved in the paths their lives are taking, anticipate their e-mail and phone calls and worry about their safety. Undoubteuly I’ll become very good at wiring money. I’ll probably find myself counting the days until summer break brings them home again.
One day they’ll all be married with children of their own. The occasions that bring them home will be cherished. My house will once again be full of life and noise and I will love every minute of it!
Until then, I am going to savor and enjoy every single minute of this year . . . the last year all of my children will be home.
© Renee Chase, October 1997
Comments about this article –
- “I just read your Notes from Renee and got choked up by “the empty house.” My two children are only 8 and 6 and I already dread the day when they leave! I guess that’s why I don’t consume myself with the business side of crafting yet, because they’re still too much fun to be with all the time! “
- “Hi. Lady, I am not going to lie. I squawled like a baby when I read your story “quiet house.” No, you are not alone. I enjoy my kids and will be crushed when they leave. We play games, dance, sing, water gun fight and lately their “new game” is wrestling. I have many bruises from that one but is SO fun! They paint their faces with clown make up and ding ding! . . . just wanted you to know how much I liked your “thoughts.” Came straight from the heart. Oh! Before I forget . . . you have 6 of the prettiest children I have seen in a while! You can tell by looking at them that they are all happy children”
- “I did want to email you to let you know how very much I enjoyed your 2 personal thought stories. I compliment you on your obvious involvement and pride in your children’s lives and their well being. I laughed when I read the part about moving the furniture and dancing. It brought back memories of when my son and his friends were practicing ‘break-dancing’ in our family room and I got out there and spun on my back and attempted to gyrate as they were doing.My only son left home several years ago and lives in another city but is close enough to come home one weekend a month. I am very proud of him. He has become a wonderfully caring and loving young man – now nearing 28 years old. He introduces me as “This is my mom and my best friend,” and I just glow. God bless you and your family.Remember, they may physically leave home, but they are always in our hearts, our minds, and our prayers. On a humorous note – they are also on our phone bills, checking accounts and emails :).”
- “My five boys and one girl are now all grown up and i have 12 grandchildren and I made it out in one piece,,, Yes.. I found that when they were growing up crafts were my sanity.. Then it became my living . . . Life is good and no one lives at home . . . I wish you well with your family,, In the end all the tense days are forgotten by the love days. I sometimes miss all the good old days and then I come to myself and enjoy the peace and Quiet of today . . . I enjoyed your web page and plan on being back, I just went on line and I agree computers are great and terrible at the same time,, kinda like children can be . . . “
- “Read your article on Quiet House! It was great, you have a wonderful family. Great looking children!! Mine are all grown and know what your facing as they leave home. Keep up the good work!”
- Hi Renee,I have a huge lump in my throat right now. My eldest daughter will be graduating from university in May. I have a high school junior and an eighth grader still at home. Six children sounds like so much fun!
Our home is much like yours, very lively, filled with kids, music and lots of activities. We are the “go-to” house for get-togethers. I can relate to every word and I’m so glad that you directed me to your blog. I hope you’ll friend me on Facebook so that we can get to know each other better.
Nancy Burke Barr