We have enjoyed every season with our kids, but I am not ashamed to admit the empty nest is our favorite. Our offspring are all strong leaders. It was like living with a bunch of chiefs – there were no little indians! Yes, we disciplined our children – with both success and failure – but they were what they were and parenting was not an easy task.

Our children came in little sets. The first two were seventeen months apart. Five years later another set arrived at 16 months apart. So we had all types of stages and phases going on at once. I’m not sure if I felt more like a circus ringmaster or a conductor of a fine orchestra. But it was an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade for anything…I am forever grateful.

However, we find relationships to be easier to navigate after our children have moved into their own lives; making their own life decisions; succeeding and failing of their own accord. Each adult child is unique and living an adventure we love to watch and share. The bottom line is we get along better when they live away from home – there, I said it!

Our door is revolving and our children are welcome here any time. We love to spend time with them whether it’s an hour, a day, or a week. Catching up and experiencing their lives is a great joy. If any of our kids ever needed to come back and live at home I’m sure we would have grace and welcome them for a (short) time. That hasn’t happened yet and we have helped our kids as we could afford during the college years to make living on their own possible. It has been different with each adult child, but we try to be flexible and we’d rather help out a little more for a chapter of life than have them move home. It just works better for us.

So, as the door revolves we love to see them come.   We plan fun food and events and try to set regular life aside to focus on the priority of family and invest in our most important relationships. We look forward to their company for weeks, even months before they arrive. When family is here we try to enjoy them to the fullest. Then, when it is time for them to go, even though we know we will miss them terribly, we are glad to see them return to their own lives and for our own to return to normal.