Five Reasons to be Grateful: Thanksgiving and the Empty Nest

Well, it wasn’t the Thanksgiving of my youth or even of my children’s earlier years.  There wasn’t a throng of relatives; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.  No extended family bearing platters and casserole dishes of food.  It was a quiet holiday with my husband, my son and his girlfriend, oh, and our corgi, Higgins.  But, you know what?  It was good.

The holidays are not at all what I imagined them to be when I was a young mom, but, that’s ok.  I am learning to be grateful for the little things that make my empty nest bearable.  Here are a few of them.

My Parents

I am so thankful for understanding parents.  They live just around the corner from me so I see them several times a week, when we are both in town. I appreciate the grace they extend me to miss their annual Thanksgiving feast.  They understand that visits with my children, especially my son, are few and far between so they don’t mind it when my husband and I travel to Nashville to visit our boy, as we have the past five years.  No guilt trips here. 

One on One Time With Our Son


We love visiting Nashville, especially for Thanksgiving.  It just feels more “Thanks-givingy” here than in Central Florida.  The air is crisp and cool and the leaves are colorful.  Sometimes our daughter and her husband join us, but not this year.  Our son is a great host and we enjoyed sharing meals and having fun with him.  We went to look at a magnificent display of Christmas lights at Cheekwood Manor for the second year in a row, just me, my husband and our son — not unlike 27 years ago when we took our little boy to look at the Christmas lights in our hometown. 


My daughter and her husband are spending a little over a year in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She is in graduate school at the University of Edinburgh.  I felt bad for her because she had to attend class on Thanksgiving Day. There is no Thanksgiving in Scotland, although I am sure the people there are thankful.  Even though they are almost 4,000 miles away (gosh, that sounds so far), we were able to visit through FaceTime.  It was almost like having them in the room with us. It still amazes me that you can communicate face to face with loved ones in different cities, states and even countries.  I can’t comprehend it, but I sure am thankful for it.  Funny thing, my son-in-law in Scotland spoke the magic words to make my dog bark in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Ability to Travel

I am thankful for the ability to travel.  My husband and I travel a lot — usually to visit one child or the other.  We truly enjoy it.  This year, traveling became a bit easier with the sale of our family business.   Thanksgiving in Nashville has become a tradition and we are already talking about next year.  And we are beyond excited to travel to Edinburgh to see my daughter and son-in-law in a couple of weeks.  Hey, if the girl can’t come home for Christmas, we’ll take Christmas to the girl!

Our Health

This goes along with the ability to travel.  It would not be as enjoyable if we did not have our health.  I had a little scare last month that threatened our trip to Nashville and possibly our trip to Scotland.  We thought that surgery would be in the picture but all of the tests came back normal.  Praise the Lord, I am ok.  I’m still not sure what the problem was, but it prompted me to change some of my eating habits and that is a good thing.

While I am not necessarily thankful for my empty nest and all it entails, I can find things  I am thankful for while I am in it.

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.Empty Nest Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Are you an empty nester too?  What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

6 thoughts on “Five Reasons to be Grateful: Thanksgiving and the Empty Nest

  1. Wow. There’s so much truth and heart in this post. I’m an empty nester too and had a smaller Thanksgiving than usual, as you did. My daughter is on the other side of the country, where she now lives, and it certainly felt as if something was missing at our Thanksgiving table. On the other hand, my husband and I had a meaningful time with our son and in some ways at this time in my son’s life, I think he feels freer to be himself when he doesn’t feel overshadowed by his sister. Out of sadness comes hidden joy. Maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be for now. I also appreciated your suggestion about celebrating the holidays with your daughter. You said if she can’t come here, you’ll make the holiday there. I’m going to think about doing the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a fellow empty-nester, I concur with your reflections. There is much to be grateful for but I would be lying if I didn’t say that a Thanksgiving rarely passes that I don’t have tears in my eyes at some point during the day. It makes me miss my grandparents and extended family even more — but — I am thankful to have such memories to remember. 🙂 I’m thankful you’re okay, Kim. 🙂 Happy Belated Thanksgiving!


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