Q&A: Empty Nest

I'm back to answering the questions asked last summer. I'm embarrassed it's taking me so long to work through them, but well, can I use the excuse that I've got nearly 8 kids? (yeah, that one usually works!)

from the Depews:
What will you do when they are all grown up and off raising their own families?
This is an awesome question, and of course, I have all sorts of fun ideas and plans that may or may not come to fruition. I know life has a way of throwing us challenges and surprises, but even so, I do look forward to those days.

Here are some things that may or may not happen:
* It would be fun to go back to school. I've always loved school and I graduated with a very-helpful bachelor's degree in family science just three days before my oldest was born. I'd love to go back for a master's, but I haven't decided in what. I've always loved teaching, but most likely, I would want a more flexible, part-time career if I did go to work, so perhaps I'd continue in the family studies area and do marriage and family therapy or teach at the university level. But I also love art and photography and literature, so the plans are wide open for now.

* I've got several ideas for some non-fiction, family-oriented books I'd like to write.
And here are some things I will for sure be doing:
* Spoiling all those grandkids! I can't wait. It will be interesting to see how many children my children end up having. Even if they each average only three, we'll have almost 25 grandchildren. Most likely, most of them will have a few more and we'll be having a great time planning fun extended family events and traditions.

* Enjoying the joys of a large, full life in a grown-up family. My neighbor is in her seventies and raised eight kids. She now has a huge passel of grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. It's fun to see the bazillions of cars that show up there on holidays and special occasions and to think "that will be me someday." It would be nice if some of my kids settle close by, but if not, then I look forward to traveling a lot with my husband and spending time with each child's family in turn.

* Going on a mission (or two or three or ten as our health permits) with my husband. It's been a wonderful experience to see my parents and in-laws serve and it's taught my children some wonderful lessons. A wise stake president from our student stake (the leader of about eight to ten congregations) encouraged us to plan while we're young for this opportunity, saying, "Those that plan, go, and those that don't plan, don't." So for us, it's definitely in the plans! I'd love to go anywhere in the world, as long as I don't have to eat raw fish.

* My good friend and I often talk about how someday, we want to remember just how challenging and overwhelming it can be to raise a family so we can provide regular, meaningful help to those who are doing it. I'd love to be the neighbor who drops in one morning and says, "Hi, I'm here because I know you've got your hands full. Put me to work folding laundry, reading to kids, wiping crayons off the walls, or mopping your floors." I want to have a home where young children are welcome while their tired mom gets a nap. I want to be one who doesn't just say, "Call me if you need anything," but actually shows up with exactly what is needed and just does it. And while I know by experience the challenges young moms face, I hope I am also able to help people in many circumstances in small and simple ways. I really feel the small services and love we share ARE the big things and I hope to fill my life full of them.

What do you see yourself doing after your kids are raised? Or, if you are already finding the nest empty or starting to empty, what have you learned about that stage in life?


Natalie said…
I love your plans. I haven't thought that far in advance, as I have many many years to go. I love your idea of helping young mom's with their hands full (of course I'd love that idea=) and I too look forward to a day when service outside of the family isn't so hard. I plan on sleeping through the night someday.
Sandi said…
Those sound like such wonderful plans. Mine are very similar.

While I only have 4 kids I still expect them to want to come by and see me. ;)

Travel is something I plan to continue to do with them and when they are gone.

Writing is something that I dabble in from time to time. It may never be anything more than me just writing for me, but it may be, you just never know.

I will most likely go back into teaching. I really do miss it. Though I am not sure I will for many years to come.
John said…
So I am spying on you from Mormon Moms who blog, but I had 7 kids in 11 years and probably still counting but since the youngest is 5 months it isn't an issue yet. Anyway, how refreshing to find some one my age doing the same thing I am doing and loving it "mostly". You have a beautiful family by the way. I will be back
Rachel said…
I would love to do things to keep family in touch. Family outings, visiting....I never saw myself giving up the role of mother:) I guess part of that comes from a blessing that said that I'll be the mother to many who don't have one????? I figure I'll always find a way to be a mother...I see part of that in the work I do now working in L&D. Often I feel like a mother to those in labor who are scared, anxious, excited...because I've been there before. I love motherhood.

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