Holding on to my Father’s finger by Ann Vallee

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I consider myself a glass half full person, for the most part. But the current season of life that I am in fights against every aspect of that which defines “glass half full”.  This season isn’t just half empty, it is FULLY empty.  You see, my husband Mark and I, are what you would call Empty Nesters.  Mark loves our girls and is relishing in being a grandpa, but he REALLY loves being an empty nester.  I, on the other hand, loathe it.  Loathe is a strong word, but in this case it is not strong enough.  

I can remember the day when Mark and I told our parents that we were pregnant with their first grandchild.  They were so excited and I distinctly remember feeling so proud of how joy-filled we made all of them feel.  I dreamed of the day that I would be a mom and knew that I would love it; I just didn’t realize how much until I was holding my sweet babies in my arms.  For the next 25 years, I could never get enough of either of my girls.

They are incredible women, who are building amazing lives for themselves.  That’s what we want, right?  We want our children to be strong, independent and making their own way.  But as I sit here after having a few days of them being in our home, listening to the quiet, my Mama heart aches for the days that Bailey would be yelling “Ken-naw” or McKenna singing every song she has ever heard without stopping.  I long for the random dance parties, the hours watching Hallmark movies, driving to swim and dance practices, the belly laughter, the rolling of the eyes (ok, I don’t REALLY miss that one), the snuggles at bedtime, the deep conversations in the hot tub, and the endless opportunities to serve them in a multitude of ways.  I’m still blessed to be their mom, but it’s a different kind of role now.  

As I have reflected on this new role, I wonder how many times I have evoked these same feelings from my sweet, Heavenly Father.  Does He miss me when I am too busy for Him? Does He long for me to burst out in song or dance in worship to Him just because I can? Does He want to hear me belly laugh when my heart is so full of gratitude for Him allowing me to be their mom?  Psalm 100 is a favorite of mine because it reminds me that I am to “Shout for joy, worship with gladness and come before Him with joyful songs.”  The Message says to “bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into His presence.” When my children were young girls, God showed me Psalm 100 in tangible ways, and how to experience it through them.  

My “nest” is empty and I could spend my days focusing on that, yet I am going to choose (some days force myself, like today) to look at my nest as incredibly full of gratitude, joy and love. He is here with me in the quiet, in my heartache and my longings.  He is here to rejoice with me when I am counting the sleeps until my family is here with me again.  It is in this space that I close my eyes and imagine myself holding my Father’s finger, as He is guiding me through each of these times.

I want to focus on how great, how wide, and how deep His love is for us.  For He is good all of the time, all of the time He is good.  

 Dad and P

One thought on “Holding on to my Father’s finger by Ann Vallee

  1. Christine

    This essay is endearing. Thank you. I just wanted to say that there are so many moms of little kids who could use an extra “mom” or “grandma” around. Just having a neighbor you can call to watch he kids for 20 minutes while you run to the store or for 45 minutes while you go for a run is huge. For working parents, having a loving neighbor who can do occasional emergency childcare when a nanny or parent is ill or child is sick is also invaluable. Having young kids in our society can make you feel adrift right now. Having someone who has been there to be near you while you do it is priceless.

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