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Front Page » December 21, 2010 » Opinion » Facing the empty nest for the holidays
Published 1,317 days ago

Facing the empty nest for the holidays


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

My wife and I were talking the other day, and even though we have been empty nesters for some time, this is the first time in our 29 years of marriage that we will have no kids, nor family either living at our house or at least within range for us to see them on Christmas Day.

This past year has been a year of strange transitions. Last year our youngest son moved to Minnesota, where he found another life. At times he writes us about being homesick, but he has a girl there that is wonderful. Her family has basically adopted him and he has a new job and is doing well.

My daughter still lives in Salt Lake, where she has always been. We will see her around Christmas time, but not on Christmas Day. But then I have never got to really see her on Christmas Day since she was about a year old, because her mom and I divorced long ago.

Finally my oldest son who lived here almost 10 years has moved on and is living over six hours away by car, and in the case of winter weather that can block the path there, much more. The week of Christmas is such that between his work schedule and mine it would be difficult to spend any real time with him and his family on Christmas Day.

As for other family all my wife's siblings live far away and her mother lives near St. George. My parents died years ago and my oldest sister passed away in the middle of this past decade. My remaining sister lives in Texas so that is out of the question too.

As I decorated the house this year, I kept thinking about my mom and dad and how much I miss them. Christmas was my mother's favorite time of year and she went all out for the holiday. It seemed every room in the house was decorated and something good was always baking in the oven from Thanksgiving to Christmas each year. The last few years of her life I had moved away, first to California and then here to Price. I just didn't see her enough in those last few holiday seasons.

Now I know how the felt when I and my other sister lived so far away. My oldest sister took good care of them, but it still wasn't quite the same.

It's something many of us who live in this area face. Good jobs for young adules are hard to come by, and they leave to find their own lives. My two sons admit they would rather be here, and not just for the holidays. But life is what it is and we must all move on.

So Christmas at our house will be very quiet this year. It won't be the same without the joy our kids give us and grandkids running around.

Yet I have so much to be thankful for; A great wife, fulfilling career, wonderful people to work with and generally good health (although some mornings the joints sure are sore). I also live in one of the best places anyone could, for both recreational reasons and the wonderful community we have here.

I am sure of one thing on Christmas. My animals will be waiting for their Christmas dinner and happy to see me.

Like me, I am sure not everything will be exactly as you want it to be on Christmas either. But then without loss and the deprivation of things we sometimes want or have had we can never know what true happiness and blessings are.

Merry Christmas to all our readers. May your Christmas Day be filled with good will and happiness.

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