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Speaker, Writer, and Author of GodSpace

The empty nest

This couch feels vast tonight.

Alone, I cannot fill it. I sit, laptop on well, my lap. How many times did I sit on this generous couch, a tweed the color of coffee with cream, with my daughter?

I never took one moment for granted: sitting at opposite ends of this couch, both of us reading a book or writing, our legs stretched out–parallel in careful arrangement. We’d share space on the deep cushions, an old blanket, and a companionable silence, to read in the evenings. When she’d had a hard day, I’d rub her feet as they rested by my hip.

I sip tea and think of her, 2000 miles away. Is she sitting in her dorm room, or the library? Or perhaps she’s out having fun with friends. I often lack sentiment–I am not overly dramatic or one who misses people easily. I focus on the tasks at hand, I do not pine for her. I’m deeply grateful for how well she’s adjusted to life in southern California, all beachy and adventurous. I do not suffer any syndrome. Yet tonight, the couch where we used to nest feels empty.


  1. Beautiful. I am at the beginning of my parenting, but I hope I feel that way about my girls too, when we have an empty nest.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jodie. Our nest is not entirely empty, my 16-year-old son is still at home, and that’s wonderful. I was telling a friend about feeling alone on the couch, and she had a good word: what if I invited God to sit on the couch with me, to fill that space with his loving presence? The thought brought unexpected tears. Ultimately, his is the only presence that truly satisfies our souls.

  2. We always tell people that we are not empty nesters, but rahter spacious nesters. How can it be empty if Liz and I are still in it, for crying out loud! What are we, chopped liver?

    That said, I bet your daughter is not just adjusted but thriving at APU. Did she get a SoCal resident annual pass for Disney? Or if she’s musical, one thing our son found out when he was there is that APU and the Grammys have a connection somehow, and students could get tickets to the Grammy nomination concert. He went and was blown away. There are also all the football games and other student life stuff going on this time of year. Oh yeah, there’s studying too.

    Is your son planning on college in California too? If so, you guys might as well move out here. Yolo County is nice.


    • True, Tim! Love that “spacious nesters!” And yes, we’re planning some college visits for my son in the near future. Yes, in so Cal. And yes, thanks, she is thriving out there. Thanks!!

  3. I find this really poignant.

    Our oldest is in her second year at a college which is about 30 minutes away–living in the dorm, so she’s getting that experience, but close enough to come home when she feels the need. It’s what works for us right now, but she has always been the one who said, “I’m moving out when I turn 18 and I want to live in a BIG city!” Like you, we also have another teen still at home; she is 15, more of a homebody, and not so sure that she EVER wants to “fly the nest.” Most likely she will when God provides the timing.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Shauna. Every child and every family has to choose the path that works for them–and they don’t really “fly the nest” completely, they just circle farther and farther from it, right? it’s an interesting season–trying to give them guidance and equipping them to make good decisions, giving them at the same time freedom to make those decisions themselves. Definitely a season where prayer is helpful!

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