We are not empty nesters.
But we had one who flew the coop.
It was not as dramatic as imagined. Not really. One day, we picked her up from her Disney College Program, and the next day, she moved in with her friend.
We did not even receive 24 hours with our child after a 6 month stint in Disney.
That did not feel good! In fact, it felt like someone had ripped a huge band aid off a gushing artery!
After the initial shock of the child moving out, as her mother, I began pondering how to keep the family together. The child truly needed to spread her wings and test out these years of lessons, so I did not grieve her moving out. Truly, it was a right of passage. After all, I did the same thing to my mother. However, Momma never told me how much it hurt. It is something she must have allowed to pierce her heart.
Once I completed about 2 days of moping at work, along with sighing at home, I had a plan. What if I were to offer FREE Sunday dinner to the child and her roommate: EACH SUNDAY??
I knew I had 2 legs up on this offer: I can cook and said child cannot cook.
Sunday dinner at the Wallace household has never really been all that much fanfare. After Mass, we usually end up at the local Mexican restaurant, or I announce the ever hated, “Have a sandwich.”
But now, Sunday dinner could be an occasion. Sunday dinner could be a festive time for family. Sunday dinner could be the moment we reunited after a week of being without a key ingredient of our family: the oldest daughter. Sunday dinner could be, if we were not careful, a TRADITION!
This is truly a new phase of parenting for Steve and I. We cherish the time we have together as a domestic church – our sacred places and spaces that help us to be part of the Body of Christ. When Liz was entering college two years ago, we knew things would be different. It was not until this year that we realized, once she moved out of the house, that our family life would begin to look different. And that we needed to be okay about this, and make new traditions.
And that’s what Sunday dinner is. What was so great is that Liz, upon moving out, announced, “Don’t worry Mom. I’ll be here on Sunday for Mass with the family.”
Now that, my dear sisters in Christ, was unprompted, and a complete blessing. It was a balm to my wavering momma heart.
Time is precious, it is not?
We have 5 kids ranging in ages from 20 – 9. Our 9 year old is celebrating her birthday today. We celebrated by having Sunday dinner. Today on the menu was homemade egg rolls, fried rice, teriyaki chicken, and homemade cupcakes. Who knows what it will be next Sunday? I do know it will be our Sunday Dinner Family Time – a new phase in parenting, which I am quickly embracing.
What are your strategies when you enter new phases of parenting? Here are some questions to ponder, as you may find yourself in this position sooner than you think:
1. How do I cherish our family time? In what ways do I make moments with our family?
2. How do the traditions of our Church feed into the traditions of our family?
3. How often do we attend Mass together as a family? When we are in Mass together as a family, how do we make the most of being with one another in the Eucharist?
4. What ways do I need to make more time and space for our family?
5. How do we celebrate one another in our family?
Let us lift motherhood in our prayers. Let us ask the Lord to walk with us in our journey as mommas, and to bless our sweet babies, whether they be 20 or 9, anywhere in between, older, or younger. God bless them all.