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A Time of Going

December 30, 2013

A Time of Going

“Have your children all left now?” people asked knowingly at church yesterday. They knew my house had been gloriously full over Christmas; the nest was emptying once again.

Many empty-nesters are saying so long to adult children and grandchildren going back to wherever.

We can be sad (and it IS SAD and hard and depressing) or we can welcome a return to routine. We can be glad if they have their own homes and lives, and indeed jobs that wed them to places other than where they grew up. I am glad that our children don’t live on the other side of the continent or the globe, but many many parents and families bear those separations as well. We can be glad for the age of the Internet and cell phones and smart phones and almost instant communication rather than the days of pony express and long train or stagecoach rides or steamship rides across oceans. For real.

You know these things as well as I so this post is merely to mark that passage and keep it tender in our hearts. It is not a time I like to take pictures, of red eyes and teared up faces. So I share just a few photos from our Christmas.

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Top to bottom: cutting Christmas tree from nearby farm; Grandpa putting together a new train set for grandkids or himself?; Great Grandma Miller with new babes in arms; four generations; sister (who used to be called “Sam” holding Sam; Pert and Kathy’s night to cook, Grandma having fun; aunt Doreen, Jon and Sam; Grandpa Davis reads traditional “Twas the Night Before Christmas;” new Christmas stockings!; Tanya, Jon, Sam and Great Grandma; Michelle, Doreen and James; Hottinger family Christmas dinner.

If there is a time to greet, there is also a time to say farewell (not mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3, but it should of been!), so long, au revoir. This is one of those times.

Do you stand in your driveway and wave?
Do you hurry back to the house and get busy?
Do you begin doing the wash?


From → Faith, Family Life

  1. Judith LePera permalink

    Melodie– thank you for sharing this. It has been our experience, too, both as the younger generation which has moved away and as the older staying put. No travelers came to us this year, but we shared their holiday electronically. Your photos were special. My favorites were the great grandmother with two babes, Stuart reveling in the train, and reading to the wee one.

  2. Alice Walton Mason permalink

    Melodie Thank you for all that you have written throughout Advent and Christmas. Your blog was my Advent calendar. a real blessing. Peace. Alice

    • Alice, thanks for the comment. I’m sorry I kind of faded at the end, amidst Christmas visitors and infrequent access to my computer etc. I’m glad it could be a blessing.

  3. Athanasia permalink

    Lovely pictures. We only have 3 generations in our immediate family as we are not grandparents yet. We still have my mother, who is very active and lives in a senior apartment in town, though when when she is ready she will move in with my oldest daughter. There is a downstairs bed/sitting/bath area…this is actually my mother’s family house where she grew up, and where she raised us. We lived there up until September when my daughter and her husband moved in. This is also where my children grew up. We moved next door to a ranch we had built some years earlier for my husband’s parents and his disabled brother.

    Everyone is close by, the farthest is in our state capitol about 2 hours away, 2 are a little over an hour, one still lives at home and one now lives next door! We do have 7 grand dogs and 2 grandcats. We tend to collect people over holidays also…at Thanksgiving we had 28, including a number of college students and a family from church, a set of in-laws (oldest sons). The 2 weeks around Christmas and New Years is non-stop company, some staying over some just visiting for an hour or two or the day.

    I like not having an empty nest yet, and I enjoy the cooking for more than just the 3 of us, husband, youngest daughter and me. In fact I still have trouble cooking in smaller amounts. I have discovered one trick to help…I use smaller kettle to cook, trying to downsize. Since I don’t cook by recipe this works for me to use a smaller stock pot or fry pan. Still gives me enough for left overs and to put by in the freezer.

    I think we do all 3…wave goodbye until we can’t see the car anymore, and then a bit longer…start the laundry, if it has not already been started…then get back to whatever needs to be done next
    before the next set of visits.

    • Enjoy your not-empty-nest yet. I did not go through a crisis, but it definitely was hard on my husband. I like your sequence, wave goodbye til the car is out of sight, then get busy.
      It sounds like you are planning very well and are well set up for future family care needs. I think that is so cool. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

    I have so enjoyed your Advent blogs and shared them with a couple of my friends who I knew would also enjoy them.
    Thank you for sharing your Christmas family pictures as well.
    It looks like this was a very happy time together with extended family as well and you have started the memory bank with your newest additions to the family.
    We are now the matriarch and patriarch of our clan and although we did not get together with all our extended families at one time, we had several different gatherings and saw most of them.
    I am still working on getting all my pictures organized .
    Blessings to you and yours for a very Happy New Year

    • Blessings to you Caro-Claire, my new online friend. I appreciate your ongoing feedback and reflections from your perch now as matriarch and patriarch of your clan: haven’t quite stepped into that role yet myself: what does it take? Hope you have a happy new year too.

  5. What simple, profound–yes, knowing–questions: ” . . . Do you begin doing the wash?” What do the rich people do, robbed of drudgery’s balm? How do they chase away melancholy? The ones with maids and butlers?

  6. SK — I had not thought of what do really rich people do, as you say, those with maids and butlers. Still working on the wash, by the way, 2 days later …. 🙂

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