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Change....Change....And More Change

empty nest photograph by therapist from Sanctuary Christian Counseling in Shippensburg PA

Recently, I found myself staring at my oldest son as he sat at the computer writing his college paper. He didn’t notice my stare, or if he did he seemed unfazed by it. I paused and had one of those moments (all parents out there know what I mean). It was one of those moments when you look at your child and ask yourself, “Where did the time go?”

As my children get older, I seem to have these moments more frequently. I am not quite an empty nester, I am in a stage of life that doesn’t seem to have a word to describe it, but it pertains to those few years before all of the children have moved out. It is marked by sometimes subtle and sometimes more profound changes. Those of you that have traveled this journey before me understand what I mean- puberty, later bedtimes, emotional highs and lows, transitioning to adulthood, and the list goes on. It probably doesn’t help that I am also in perimenopause which is filled with its changes too- earlier bedtimes, lack of sleep, emotional highs and lows, loss of youth. I think you get the picture. The reality is, I find the emotions are similar and I am in a season of life that is filled with constant change. Adapting to those changes can be tough.

As a parent, I feel the small nudges at my heart strings each time a new milestone is reached.

Currently, I am filled with excitement and joy as I prepare for my second son to graduate high school this year. This means many new wonderful memories to be made with senior prom, graduation, and soon college, but these moments are often met with a bittersweetness. I recognize with each milestone God is preparing my heart for the next one, and I often feel that I am having an out of body experience as I observe the process. Yes, it is a roller coaster ride… a beautiful messy life.

Like all parents, I want my children to grow up and follow their dreams and live a life of abundant joy, but I also realize that life will be very different as they pursue those dreams. I will support and encourage their individual paths wholeheartedly, but to say ther won’t be any accompanied tears and sadness would be false. I know I will miss this chapter in our lives. I would like to think that these growth nudges will make it easier when that time comes but I know it will probably be harder than I can imagine. Sometimes when I am struggling, I can reflect on previous difficult times in life and remember, “Oh yeah, I have felt this before and it will be okay.” At other times that can be harder to do. When we are in the midst of transitions, it can be hard to embrace the blessings that come with the change but is important to not get “stuck” in the sadness. Feeling stuck in the mourning of “what once was” can rob us of the joys of the here and now and make moving forward difficult.

Even the most celebrated transitions in life can have elements of grieving attached to them. If you are struggling with a life transition, you are not alone and we are here to help.

Sanctuary Christian Counseling

9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4

Shippensburg, PA 17257


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