Today, during worship service, the full impact of this fact hit me - all these kids are growing up and moving on and I'm left behind.
My Barblings are 13, 10 and 9; busy with their various activities, I don't see them as often as I used to. And when I do, I'm no longer the main attraction. I'm not needed for baby-sitting and the allure of an overnight stay at Miss Barb's has been replaced by slumber parties with friends.
This is not unusual, I know. Millions of parents experience this. But as a single, childless woman, I'm not prepared for the sufferings of "empty nest syndrome". Barren womb - yes; empty nest - who'd have thought it.
There are many other children coming through the ranks - Olympia, Joseph, Timothy, Lily, Anneke, and new ones joining them - Josiah, Malachi, Owen. They're wonderful kids, and I love all of them, but they can't replace the ones moving on.
And somehow, I feel like I'm getting hit with more than my share of empty nest suffering without the benefits of parenthood.
I know, I know...I don't have the responsibilities of parenthood, either. In no way do I mean to imply that I'm suffering any more than the next person. But I love the kids and take my small role in their lives very seriously. And I never expected this as a part of being single.