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On Filling the Emptiness

Hey, there!
I'm back.
After quite a whirlwind week of joy and activity!

As most of you know, I have two grown kids. Erin . . . who is married to Keith and lives in California (Bay Area). And Brian . . . who is married to Lauren and, after several years out in Boulder, now lives closer by here in Michigan. We all took the pandemic Very Seriously. Erin and Keith have been hunkered down in California, and we haven't seen them since Christmas 2019. Brian and Lauren? Well, we've seen them. But not much. And until very recently, only masked and outside.

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As is the case for so many of you, it's been hard.
Really, really hard.

I mean . . . Zoom calls and FaceTime are great, sure. But . . . they only go so far.

So it was a wonderful surprise when Erin called to tell us she was coming for a weeklong visit . . . having successfully completed her vaccine regimen.

And we had a GREAT time together last week. It kind of makes my head spin to think of all the STUFF we crammed into her visit! Lake time up north. Forest bathing. Birthday celebrations. Actual browsing in actual stores. A bit of gardening. Family time. Watching the entire season of Ted Lasso (yes; again). Tie dying in the back yard (more on that another day). A trip to Lake Michigan. Ice Cream. (So much ice cream.)

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We had a great time.

And now she's back home in California with Keith and their cat, looking forward to getting back to work and feeling more  . . .  connected . . .  again. (Sometimes you just need to hug your mom, y'know?)

And I'm . . . feeling The Emptiness.

I know most of you know this feeling all too well.
That lingering, kinda lonely feeling that shows up when your grown kid leaves after a visit (or you leave them). There's just . . . an emptiness for a few days.


It's real.
And it's . . . there.
And it's kind of . . . icky.

And it happens (for me, at least) even when I know it's time for them to go home again . . . to their life. And it's time for me to get back to my own.

Still. There it is!

When I was suffering from The Emptiness yesterday, Tom made a great suggestion (he's pretty wise most of the time). He suggested I try to fill The Emptiness . . . with Gratitude.

So I did.

I'm grateful that Erin could arrange to come home for a visit.
I'm grateful that she WANTED to come out for a visit; that she wants to spend time with us!
I'm grateful that we had such a fun time together.
I'm grateful for real, in-person, no-mask. . . conversation and sharing and time together.
I'm grateful for an entire week with my wonderful daughter.
I'm grateful for every. single. moment.
I'm grateful that she had a safe journey; that's she's back at home with Keith and her kitty, ready to get back to work at a job she loves. 
I'm grateful that she's happy and settled in her own life.

Really. Could a mom want any more than that?

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The Emptiness . . . is Real.

But Tom was right. You can fill that emptiness with gratitude!


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Erin keeps getting cuter! I know the emptiness, too. But comfort myself with the knowledge that they are happy and living a good life. And try to remember the birds who push their little darlings out of the nest. How traumatic can that be?? (Nice to have you back.)


Welcome back! What a glorious time you all had! (and I think you can add another gratitude in there for your incredible parenting that raised 2 independent and successful children!!) But yeah... that emptiness just sucks. Hugs to you as you ease back into your week!


I get it. Even though 3 of 4 kids live so close to us there's still the one in Florida and when they visit and leave I struggle with the emptiness, too. I'm so glad you had a wonderful week with Erin and I hope that this melancholy feeling passes quickly. XOXO


Welcome Back! And Cheers to such a wonderful week you had. I love all your pictures (did Lauren get her hair cut??). The pictures of you and Erin are beyond adorable. You married a wise man!!


Give them wings...

I'm so glad you had a wonderful week! I knew you would... thought of you often, and can't wait to hear/see more about your tie-dyeing!! The boys & I had our fun over the weekend (and I hope to post today or tomorrow about that).


And Gratitude is real. Your time together looked so fun! You packed a lot in and used every minutes well. How wonderful you could be face to face without worry. Grateful the time we were away from the people we love wasn't longer!


My gosh, the gratitude of time shared shines through both of your faces in those pictures. It really does.


What a clever husband! I’m so glad to hear about your wonderful week with your daughter and I totally understand the feeling of emptiness when she left. I will remember Tom’s suggestion in the fall as I experience what I expect will be the same empty feeling after our out of town kid visits.


I'm so very glad you got to see Erin in person and maskless! I've thought about you this week and thought about The Emptiness that I figured you would be feeling when she left. Your photos are great as is your gratitude!

Susanne Scheurwater

I'm so happy for your gratitude!! Isn't it nice when we can enjoy the time with our adult kids?? So glad you were blessed with this time and hope you get some time again soon.

Kim in oregon

Your daughter is beautiful and I'm so happy you have a great relationship with her!

kathy b

Erin is so so beautiful!!!!!! She could model. A natural beauty. WOW

I begin crying and holding back tears as the day of departure arrives. I swear I won't let it dominate the visits. I know the pain of far away and of 18 months of COVID too. IT is so tough. I'm so glad you packed tons of fun into her visit. Big hugs. Your gratitudes are lovely


Watching your visit, sort of, though your IG posts brought me so much joy, so I can only imagine how full your hearts were! I think Tom is very wise with his advice, and I can't help but thinking of a little trite-but-true expression that everyone seemed to throw around at graduation time: "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened." It's cheesy, but in many ways it's true. And with any luck, you won't have to wait another year plus to see her again.


So glad you had this time with Erin! (and with Lauren & Brian too). That empty feeling isn't fun, and it would be a hard place to stay. But it's real, because you love and enjoy her. I know those feelings. It *is* nice that we can begin to make plans to see each other again. Along with gratitude, that helps me.

Connecticut in August, Alabama in November. Everyone home in December -- can't wait!


oh how delightful your week together looks (sounds) ... and I know that emptiness all too well (thankfully, though, not lately!) Tom's suggestion to fill the hole with gratitude is such a good one ... it will make you whole. xxoo.

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