Perfect for us

Recently I was wandering World Market all on my own, enjoying the peace, when I became aware of a young family also shopping.  Three preschool boys energetically spun around the axis of their slowly walking parents.  My first thought was of how much easier my shopping venture was than this mother’s.  And then I heard the voice of one of her little sons.

Enthusiastically stroking the length of a dining table, he said to his mother, “This table would be perfect for us!”

My heart clutched up, just from that one simple word: us.  Back in the hazy-crazy days of young motherhood, that’s how it was with our family too.  A solid cohesive ‘us’ was the center of our children’s lives.  Their happy place.  The place where they felt most secure.

Things change when kids grow.  Our married kids have their own ‘us’ now, created anew with the people they love and chose, and with their own children.  Our not-married young adults have a different version of ‘us’ these days too, more commonly encompassing friends and coworkers and roommates.

The day our oldest daughter headed off as a newlywed

Since our youngest two are still at home, they still use the word ‘us’ in that sweet way, asking what we’ll eat for dinner or when we’ll next go to the beach.  But even with them, things are beginning to change.  Their lives are more outward focused.

Nostalgia has me longing some days for those years when all of my chicks were in easy range, where they wanted nothing more than to be orbiting around me.  When ‘us’ meant they were all tucked into bed at night under the same roof. It was a precious time, in all its crazy chaotic busyness.

It is good and normal and right for our children to move outward and onward. To broaden their support system and welcome others into their closest circle.

Yet still connection also exists with us, and for that I am grateful.  Sometime it’s a skype chat with a son far away.  A late night call from a young adult needing a bit of advice. A Mother’s Day cake made with love.  A sweet note tucked into my lunch box. Texts back and forth about things monumental or mundane.  A visit from the grandkids with their mommas in tow.  A coffee date. Dinner together. A quick drop-by visit that ends up lasting an hour.

Though the moments are more scattered now, they are perhaps even more precious.  Each one represents the choice of a busy young person.  They have so many things to do, so many ways to spend their time.  And yet at these moments they are still choosing and affirming the ‘us’ begun so long ago.

The ‘us’ of years ago was perfect when our kids were small. But you know what? The ‘us’ right now (aside from my occasional momma-heart-twinges) is good and right and timely– maybe even perfect for us — now, in this new stage. We are counting our blessings.



  1. We are expecting our first child this fall (!!), and this is a sweet reminder to cherish the times that I do get to have them close at home and remember it’s not permanent 🙂

  2. Kaleena Edwards says:

    Beautiful and encouraging! Thank you from mom of littles.

  3. Wahhhhh! I want them to flourish but I want them to stay the same.

  4. PlainJane says:

    Thank you. <3

  5. I love these kind of posts from you, Mary. It is great to hear wisdom and advices from a momma who has “been there”. My children are younger than yours. It has been a hectic week, but this is a wonderful reminder to enjoy all the moments I have with them before they start their own lives. Thank you for the reminder. I needed to hear this.

  6. Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for this. Our “us” is changing right now as we are in the process of adopting a sibling group from foster care and this was such a good reminder that even though this version of us is indeed changing and can feel unfamiliar and scary at moments it will soon (or at least eventually) become normal and that new version of us is what will feel (and be) just right.

  7. Melanie says:

    That was such a beautiful reminder for me to treasure the season that I am in. I needed that message today. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  8. I loved this post. I have only 2 and 1/2 kids left at home (the 21 year old is in and out, but coming back for July and August), and it’s hard sometimes. Since all 8 are adopted, and several have severe special needs and/or have made hard choices, when I get to feeling too lonely for the ones who have moved on, I just keep reminding myself that each one is better off then they would have been if we had not welcomed them into our family. Each one that flourishes is a triumph. Each one that doesn’t flourish in the eyes of the world–they are still doing the best they can and have a family to call their own. And, anyone who can grow up–what a blessing! But, the ones who never will–what a blessing they are, too.

  9. Thank you for the reminder to enjoy this moment of life and soak it all up!

  10. Mary, we have two left at home as well. Our second oldest married daughter visited yesterday and our day was just perfect. She is expecting a rainbow baby in January. Thank you for sharing your heart. It always blesses me as our families are so similar in age and dybamics.

  11. Beth Miles says:

    Thought I’d pop in and see what you and your family is up to. Been a long time! Empty nest is sure a different place to be!

    • Nice to hear from you, Beth! The kids had fun with their Portland visit to yiour clan in September! How are you?

      • We are well. Homesick at times, but mostly enjoying Portland. 🙂 I’m glad the kids were able to connect when they were this way. It certainly was fun for them too!