A Painfully Empty House

Wednesday I dropped off Lori, Alyssa and Ashley at the San Francisco airport with my parents where the 5 of them boarded a big bird headed to Europe where they will spend two weeks hitting Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany.

I’m torn.

Part of me is thrilled that they get to do this trip. It started when Ashley did a report for school, years ago, about Florence, Italy and some of its architecture. My dad told her that they would take her there some day. Last year, they booked it, and Alyssa and Lori wanted in! I had enough airline miles to send all three of them with my parents, so Alec and I decided to stay home.

I know Lori and the girls will have a blast touring Europe with my parents… but the house is so quiet! Alec works and hangs out with his friends a lot, so many days it’s been just me.

Why is this so different than when I travel twice a month? I can’t figure it out. I’m gone about 7 days a month on average, in hotel rooms by myself. I’m used to being alone. But this is worse!

Is it because I’m here at home… and I’m used to this home being full of activity? This home is never without Lori, my best friend. And now everything I see and do reminds me of her:

Get the morning paper—she always spreads out the paper on the kitchen table while drinking her coffee in the morning.

Put on my running shoes—we always run together.

Crawl in bed by myself—an empty bed.

I walk in the girls’ room to feed their fish or open the windows at night. Ashley’s phone is turned off and sitting in its little stand. Alyssa’s purse is sitting on her desk. The room is tidy and the beds are made (and that is weird!!!). No girls. Just quiet.

This sucks!

I’m counting the days til Monday, July 9th.

I’m so glad they are getting this awesome life experience. I can’t wait until it’s over!

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it's real easy-go here.
This entry was posted in Family, Jonathan's Rant, Marriage, Parenting, Personal, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Painfully Empty House

  1. Robin says:

    Jonathan – Hi. I heard you speak at the Grove in Riverside this past year. Excellent! We’ve raised three teenagers. Our youngest leaves this August for Biola (where our other two are- on in grad school). I am dreading the day because the house will be way too quiet. I love my husband. He is my best friend and we are looking forward to the empty nest. I wouldn’t want it any other way because they need to move on, but I will miss my ‘kids’ terribly. So your post resonated w/me because it is so much on my mind this summer. Stay busy! Blessings!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Jonathan – Be encouraged it is a relatively short experience. I will tell you that these are the same feelings of a military wife. There is something about being in the place where you are used to having your family together and when one of the leaders – either the lead or the lead supporter(in your case)- is absent it is just different, empty. Know that they miss you also but it is different because they are not used to having you in Europe. They wish you were there to expireience it with them but they do not have the feelings of lonliness that you are feeling. Be thankful because you now can have a little glimpse of the sacrifice of a military family.

  3. Karol says:

    My husband and I did not have children; however, about a year and a half ago we became guardians for a delightful 16 year old girl. She has been such a blessing and has brought so much joy into our lives. This summer, she went to Young Life camp for a week. So, when I read your post, it warmed my heart to be able to relate to some of the feelings you are having. Thanks for sharing.

  4. John Pearson says:

    I definitely know the feeling. My 17-year-old daughter just left yesterday for 6 weeks of ministry among the needy in Cambodia, and my wife and 15-year-old son left last Tuesday for two weeks serving among orphans and others who are hurting in Uganda. I’m home alone for the next ten days. It’s terrible. I love my wife and kids so much! As men we don’t realize how much our relationships mean to us, and we often don’t let on to their importance in our lives. But we all need to be extremely grateful for every day that we get to spend with those we love on this planet. And let them know.
    “Fortunately,” we discovered a leaky pipe just before everyone else in my family left the country, so I do get to spend some “quality time” with the guys that are here ripping out my kitchen cabinets upstairs and drying out my carpets and the inside of my walls downstairs. : )
    God is always good, though — I’m constantly praying and checking in online to hear how He is at work in Cambodia and Uganda in and through my family via their daily blog and facebook posts.
    Thanks for all you do, Jonathan, to help us as parents to connect with our kids and lead them closer to Jesus every day!

  5. dan manns says:

    i went on a 10 day missions trip back in 2003 and while everyday was exciting i ended up getting homesick like i had never imagined. it was my first time being away from my wife and children for an extended period of time. when our ministry time was up i would have paid thousands of dollars to get on a flight and head home immediately – unfortunately our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until the next day. man did i count the hours!
    as leaders it is important that our hearts are more knit to our families than to our churches or our ministries. sounds like you are doing just that Jon!
    this year i am going on another missions trip but my wife and oldest son are also going. i am so excited to be able to do ministry with my family! it’s the greatest reward on earth!