A box of books was delivered today. Happiness.
A new reader’s review was posted on Amazon. Double Happiness.
“It’s difficult to pick a favorite from among Michele Howe’s many books, but her latest, Empty Nest: What’s Next?: Parenting Adult Children Without Losing Your Mind, may well be mine. This compilation of rich reflections imbued with biblical wisdom and Howe’s personal experiences as a mother of four adult children – strikes me as her best yet.
From the first chapter describing the “torrent of tears” she shed after dropping off her youngest child at college, to the last, a hopeful but honest look at unconditionally loving adult children who have become what we don’t like, Howe has penned an inspiring guide to the empty-nest years.
By transparently – and yet discreetly – sharing the lessons she and others have learned as parents and now grandparents, Howe offers advice that acknowledges the pain of the empty nest, but lovingly insists on letting go of adult children. In the chapter on “Recreating Your Life with Children on the Sidelines,” for example, she writes, “To stay stuck in a place where your only happiness in life comes when your children are front and center is wrong, nor should our children place us as their parents in the front and center of their lives.”
Howe goes on to write about how to help adult children endure difficulties without rescuing them, letting them become fiscally responsible, finding solace in praying for them, and a host of other concerns related to this phase of parenting.
She shares the reality of the empty nest with pathos and humor, assuring readers that she knows of what she speaks. In “Redefining Your Role in Life Now,” for instance, Howe writes of still missing the whirlwind of activity that marked the busy parenting years: “. . . on occasion, I sometimes find myself with a little time to spare, and I look around the corners of my house half-expecting (half-hoping?) to see a swarm of noisy children running past me. To what? Save me? Distract me? Complete me?”
To survive – and flourish—in the empty-nest years, she recommends reinvesting in one’s marriage and investing in people other than our adult children, keeping faith first, and accepting parenting mistakes. Empty nesters – and those nearing this often-dreaded phase – will appreciate the way she draws readers into her own parenting journey, inviting them to join her in finding hope and joy in the midst of its challenges.”