Sunday, March 06, 2011


The transition to being "empty nesters" is not instant, but it is inexorable: within a month, our sole remaining teen-ager will start her third decade.

It is bittersweet, this transition. We raised our girls to go off to college and become independent, and they've done the first. The ex-teenager will be married within the year, and that's good, too; I just hadn't thought all this would happen so soon. It was nearly three years ago that I wrote this sentimental piece about the then younger teen, and I certainly miss the days when I'd come home to the lovely Carol, and also to little (and later not-so-little) girls, who would sit on my lap, or want to be carried around ("運んでもらう!"), or tell me about their day.

Which reminds me of a story. One day, a man came down the street and gave me a hundred-dollar bill. The next day, he did it again. For something like twenty years he did this. I got accustomed to it.

Then he stopped coming so regularly. He'd come during the summer, then stop. He'd come again toward the end of November, and then in January he'd stop. Sometimes he'd show up for a week in March or April.

These hundred-dollar bills (an inadequate metaphor but please bear with me) were not earned or deserved, so the appropriate attitude is gratitude. We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy these exceptional girls (I imagine every parent thinks his or her kid a genius, a spiritual giant filled with zeal and compassion; I am no exception) -- and to know that they're gone doing what we raised them to do.

Though I sometimes mourn the passing of those truly wonderful days, I know that I've received more and better than I deserve, and when I remember this, I can be thankful.

"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!" Amen.

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