When All The Kids Are Gone, Do We Know The Person Left Behind?


When we hold our first child in our arms, it seems that they will be ours forever; but they won’t!  When our last child disappears behind airport security as they leave for college, have we taken sufficient time to know the person who is left behind? Who is that person left standing next to us who waves so lovingly to our child and yells to them to keep in touch? As we drive home in silence and ponder just where all the years have gone, who is that other person in the car who seems as lost in their thoughts as we are?

We open the front door to our home which has graced the childhood of our kids and there is no noise of shouting children or the television blaring at an unacceptable level. There we stand next to them as the big house echos the sound of the tick of the grandfather clock and the awkward silence of the moment.  Who is that person next to us and what do we say or do!

The question facing all couples in a such a moment is, ‘When all the kids are gone, do I know the person left behind? This moment will arrive for almost every married couple, and when it does there will be a sudden realization that if we haven’t taken the time to get to know, love, and understand the ‘person left behind’, they will be a stranger.

A number of years ago Robert D. Hales made this plain and simple statement:

“By divine commandment, spouses are required to love each other above all others. The Lord clearly declares, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” (“The Eternal Family,” October GC, 1996)

It behooves us all to remember that ‘in the end’, it is our spouse that will be by our side, hopefully for all time and eternity. From the first moment when we hold a babe in our arms, let us keep in mind that the countdown has begun when they will depart from our home.

It is important we spend time and energy in building wonderful relationships with our children. However, let us never forget that when all the kids are gone, we want the person left behind to be our best friend. We don’t want it to be a stranger who silently sits beside us wondering why the only thing they see and hear is the grandfather clock in the hallway sounding ‘ticktock, ticktock.”




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