Sometimes life is just so darned confusing.  Chad came home on Wednesday evening so he was here, except he was gone most of the time, for four days.  Even though he was hunting or off with friends or working, he was home every night and life was good . . though I complained about him waking me at 3:00 a.m. when he was going hunting, or waking me when he got in at 2 a.m. after attending the Wal-Mart sale that started at midnight . . especially when Vince got up at 5 a.m. to go to the Black Friday sale that same morning.

But, come Sunday evening, Chad packs up his clean clothes, his food for the week, his new “Babycakes” cupcake maker, and he’s off for the week.  Our house seems so empty.  It’s all I can do to keep from crying!  Heck, to tell the truth, I did cry!  I’m happy he’s growing up and doing well but dang, I miss him so much.

Then Vince and I discuss the land situation.  Do we really want 40 acres in the woods at our age?  What if something happened to one of us?  Would we stay out there?  Probably not.  Do we want to retire in this area?  Probably not!  Where do we want to retire?  We don’t have a clue!

I have a great life and I’m happy . . don’t get me wrong.  But sometimes nothing makes sense.  We work.  We raise kids.  They leave and we’re lonely.  We work some more.  We retire and then what?  Don’t answer that!  🙂

Maybe I’ll open up EQ and design a happy quilt!  🙂


  1. 1


    Frank once said that we would probably retire to where ever our only child ended up. Then someone said, yeah, I did that and the daughter moved and she was stuck where she had no family and no friends.

    So there are no easy answers!

    glen: I need to go design a happy quilt now……

  2. 2


    Judy – I know how you feel. My middle child is 30, but he still comes “home” on the weekend. And come Sunday evening when he packs up some leftovers and the mail he still gets here, it sure is quiet after he leaves. He is the one that is in the national guard, so I am so thankful that he was here this year and not deployed. I just have to hug him every time he’s here.
    We think we want to retire to Arizona, and even went there last fall and had a realtor show us quite a few houses. But MA is still home, even though it gets cold in the winter and my parents are still alive, so probably no decisions for a little while on that front. I still have about 7 active years of working so have time to decide = and who knows what that time will bring. Maybe I’ll have grandkids (!) and won’t want to move. We just keep plugging away.

    I really enjoy your blog – I read it almost every day and sometimes you make me feel really tired after all the things that you accomplish!

  3. 3

    Diane says

    I know excatly what you are talking about. Two of my three children have moved out. My youngest is 20 so he is gone more than home. We have no clue where we want to retire. We have always wanted to buy a house on lots of land, but wonder if we could do it. I have arthritis in my ankles so I know I won’t be of much use when it comes to heavy work on the property. If something happened to my husband I am pretty sure I would move close to one of my children just so I wouldn’t be alone in Florida.
    I miss my children so much at times I cry. It is so hard to spend such a huge part of your life caring for and helping your kids become strong adults and then let them go. I remember when they were all three 7 years and under and it was so noisy and messy I used to ask for quiet. Now I would give almost anything for some of that noise and mess.
    Like you said, adjusting! I have to learn to adjust.
    I was so very fortunate this year, I had two of my three children for Thanksgiving. My daughter surprised us and drove 8 hours to see us. 🙂

  4. 4

    Brenda B. says

    It’s funny that you mentioned that you were sad this week after Chad leaving to go back to school. I’ve had the same feelings this week. I’ve been trying to figure out why now, what’s different this week. Maybe it’s the holiday, but I feel so lost right now. From your blog, it gives me comfort to know I’m not alone and maybe this is normal – but I don’t care much for it.

  5. 5


    I worry about how our daughter will handle things if something happened to us. We are 3 hours from her….that would be hard for her to clear out our house and sell it long-distance like that. We love where we live and hate it where she is, but I often do find myself wondering if we should move closer. I don’t think she’d ever be moving far from there, so that isn’t a real concern…but I’d like to make things easy for her for when something does happen to us. (Very depressing to think of these things, but I feel we must.) We got a smaller yard when we moved here and we are happy with that. I knew a larger piece of land wasn’t for us…some could do it, but I knew it would be too physically demanding on us. It’s kind of hard to get to retirement age and then realize if you do what YOU want, it might make it harder on your kids if something happens to you. BUT….at retirement age, don’t we deserve to do what WE want? All very confusing…that’s for sure.

  6. 6


    I think everyone experiences a time when their children are grown and out of the house, where they think, “Now what?” Our lives were always family centered, and then in the space of just a few years, our kids left home, and we both lost both our parents. Only one of our children stayed in the area we live in. We went from being totally immersed in family, to being pretty much alone here. It sure is an adjustment. But you do adjust. I’m having time, and room to sew and quilt again, which I had all but given up when the kids were young. I have time to read, to be creative. I taught myself how to knit. I’ve started baking our own bread. I’m looking in to taking a class (to learn how to knit socks since I can’t seem to figure it out on my own!!). We don’t have any grandchildren yet, but all my friends who do tell me it’s wonderful and I know that we will thoroughly enjoy that.

    This is just another phase of life .. the next phase. Once you make the adjustment, you may just find it to be one of the best times of your life!!

  7. 7

    Rita E says

    I have come to realize that everything I always thought I wanted to do while we were so busy working and having a wonderful family – that those are things I would have done back then if I wasn’t already doing what I was already doing. I have made myself realize that I am a brand new person who is retired and just because I once thought a very long time ago that I wanted something more than anything else – I now want different things and I let myself enjoy what I am doing now.

  8. 8

    Becky R says

    Well, let me tell you about this family. They lived across from my parents. They had a son and a daughter. The son lives about 2 hrs away and the daughter about the same only in a different direction. The parents continued to live in the house they had lived in for years traveling a lot by pulling a trailer where they went. A couple of years ago the Dad passed and then this year the Mom passed. The daughter had to first go through and remove anything they wanted to keep and then they did an estate sale. Now they have to put the house up for sale. They son can’t do too much because he’s not in that good of health either. It just makes you think about your own situations, that is for sure.

  9. 9

    marilyn smith says

    Judy, you are just experiencing empty nest syndrome. Look to the future. Chad will get married, have beautiful little children and be back in your life before you know it…………………and you will wonder how you ever got along without your darling little grandchildren. God is good……………he always has a plan. M

  10. 10

    Susan Torrens says

    I understand what you are going through. On our second last posting, our youngest son (last at home) remained behind to attend university. Not only that but our house was a second home to all of his friends, who almost lived in our basement. We were stationed in Panama City FL and I rattled around in a big house. For me, quilting kept me sane, and before I knew it, I had adjusted to the new life style.
    After 34 years spent moving, we also had to decide where to retire. At one time we had looked at land in the country, but decided that we needed to be near decent shopping and good medical care. We chose a place where we had been stationed before, and have been very happy with our choice. Our family were surprised that we didn’t move back to Toronto, where we had grown up, but we didn’t like the big city life. We live 2 1/2 hours from our oldest son and his wife, so we get to see them regularly. Our youngest son moved back home for a while, but his is looking for a job in the same big city.
    We chose a community of about 116,000, with most of the ammentities of a larger place, but not as much hassle with the traffic. We live near the outskirts, but near good shopping, groceries, pharmacy etc. We even live near the biggest quilt shop in the area, and close to 2 others.
    DH and I decided that we wanted to spend the winters in Florida, so bought a place 10 years before we retired. We used it for vacations, and loaned it to family members, and now spend 5 1/2 months here every winter. Eventually, as health problems arrive, we won’t be able to come south, so we are enjoying every winter while we can.
    We decided that we had to make retirement plans that suited us, and not depend on what our sons do with their lives. I’m sure you’ll find the solution when the time comes.

  11. 11


    My dad says he feels lucky – the kids and i are home with him – he has his flat as part of the house. Four of my five still live at home, and no 1 daughter is here once or twice a week Is it enough, hell no! I dread the next couple of teens moving out! Glad my younger two are 9 and 7.

    But yes, what do we do?

    I will have been raising kids for 36 years by the time my youngest is 18, and supposedly all grown up – I will be 54. Over half my life spent with them, and then what? My dad is 78, so I may be lucky enough to have him still, but…well, he has just dealt with one bout of virulent prostate cancer, and while we have beaten it this time…well, i worry. I am on my own since the ex decided a younger model who could have more kids was a better option…(and better off, too, as a result…)

    And i am disabled, so i wonder how i will manage this big house on my own…and not be a burden to the kids!

    I know, sounds like i am worrying too much, but isn’t this what mums do?

    Quilt is definitely a good answer. I suppose grandchildren may happen at some point? But that isn’t the same, you have to hand them back:)

  12. 13

    Connie says

    My boys are never leaving home! I just won’t allow it! Oh never mnd, I know they will, but I don’t want to think about it. To me, it’s just funny how we can’t wait for them to crawl and then they do and get into things and this causes some problem, same for walking, talking, going to school, and leaving home. You can’t wait for these life milestones to happen, but when they do, you’re not sure you like them. I have an idea to help you…………here’s a hint, my feet are cold and my favorite color is pink and I bet you have pink yarn…..Need any more clues? My address? Oh and just to pour on more pity for me…………I didn’t get to go see my family for Thanksgiving which included my baby brother who lives in England that I haven’t seen in over 2 years AND there was a trip to the ER involved early Sat. morning.

  13. 14


    Well, you could be like me and have 13 years between your oldest and the middle child, so at 44, I still have little ones at home 🙂


  14. 15


    My children are way older than yours Judy and I’m sad every time they leave. But I also love the life God has gifted me with at this point and wonder of wonders He has also given me contentment. I wasn’t sure that would come after the kids all left. 🙂 God leads the way into the next stage, even though we sometimes go kicking and screaming! blessings, marlene

  15. 16


    I recently started missing my kids too. They each moved out at age 18, which was 13 years ago for my oldest and 8 years ago for my youngest. They’re so much busier now though that we don’t see them often. After my youngest graduated high school, we moved to our dream house with 7 acres. That’s plenty big enough for us. It’s a lot of work, but we both love the solitude and being able to walk around outside nude if we want to (and we do sometimes). Sometimes I wonder what would happen if one of us got sick, but we’re near a hospital, and so healthwise we’re fine. It would be too much work for me though if something happened to him. I’d have to move to a smaller place, but while I waited to sell, I’d hire someone to help me. Things always work out. I don’t think it’s wise to live too much for those future “what ifs.” The best place to live one’s life is in the now. Cross those other bridges when and IF they come. This is your one and only life. Live it how you want to for now. Learn from the past, but without regret for what might have been. And where the future is concerned, hope for the best, while planning for the worst. Planning is different from doing.

  16. 17


    Parenting it the only job in the world that if you do a great job at it, you are fired!
    You did a great job and Chad is living a wonderful adult life, but it’s really hard on Mom. I can sure identify!

  17. 18


    It is as Marilyn said, empty nest syndrome, and as Terri said, the next phase in your life, lots of wise words there. We all go through it but knowing that we are not alone in the experience is a comfort. Crying is OK too, if it makes you feel better. Then you pick yourself up and move on.

    40 acres is a lot of land, we live on 1/2 acres but run cattle on over 2000 so I do know what I am talking about. I can’t see you on a tractor Judy and you will need one or a skidder to move snow in the winter just so you can get out. Not much county maintenance in the winter in many areas. You could possibly lease the acreage to a local farmer with a maintenance clause (fallen trees, broken fences) in the contract. You might find you have the privacy and less town style regulation on a smaller acreage just out of town, say between 5 and 10 acres. Smaller lot will be easier to sell too if Vince moves in his job again.

    Cows are not an easy project to learn on, you can get hurt. I have been around them all my life as has my husband and we have both been hurt, my daughter just broke her arm when a heifer charged the gate as they were vaccinating calves.

    So far as retirement, it is 10 years off, we have one child and two grands in TX, and one in CA. We will probably retire to SD from Hawaii because we can’t afford here without a paycheck. Yes it is either too cold or too hot in SD most of the year but it is a good place full of good people and has excellent medical facilities. Moving will force us to downsize our garbage which will be a good thing.

  18. 19

    Marie says

    My girls left home quite some time ago, but the grandchildren have been here on and off the past 19 yrs, which has helped. This past weekend I had to let the oldest granddaughter go, as she moved clear across the state to attend college. Oh boy, I cried!! Like a big baby. Due to health issues of a younger sister and then later cause she was Nanny’s girl, her 2nd through 4th years she lived with us more than her parents. Then her freshman year of high school she was here again for a school year. This past summer she moved back in with us in July, then we got her 8 yr old little sister in August, so it has been kaotic around here. I so wanted her to go to college as she had a 3.5 aveage in high school and it is time for her to have a life, but it was harder seeing her leave than any one of the three girls. Holiday times can really be hard and just suck!!! if you know what i mean.

  19. 20

    candace says

    Hi Judy, I don’t comment often but thought I’d ring in here to say….I’ve learned the hard way this year that each and every day is precious in itself…children grow up & start their own walk in life…cherish your mate for they may not be with you always…plan for the future and live for today, really. I hope you will feel better about it all tomorrow 🙂

  20. 21

    Penny says

    Judy – it’s good to think ahead or make plans but you can only “cross the bridge” when the time comes. Somehow “Life happens” no matter what you plan!
    re: your blog, in my recent post I forgot my most important thought & that is to thank you for everything that you share ~ you are the most sharing person & I do appreciate & thank you!!

  21. 22

    Diann Smith says

    We cleaned our house out and sold off much of what we owned and moved to live near our daugher/family almost seven hours away. Now that’s it’s DONE I’m happy but it was really hard work getting to this point. We have three grandchildren and are loving babysitting and being w/ family.

    But that saying…about the 40 acres you want….we decided we wanted nothing. We were able to buy less than a half mile from daughter and get a one story house to “age” in and we have practically NO YARD. We wanted that too. We sold our riding lawn mower from our last place and we hire it done here. They drive up, jump off, spend 5-10 min. mowing and are gone. We are so happy to not have a yard any more. I used to do flowers/gardens/ all that but I’m so over it. I run by the Farmer’s Market now.

    And I’m so happy to have less to dust that I try NOT to jump on the beds. I want nothing else that you have to feed, dust, insure, or maintain. Much smaller house, less stuff to own, and more free time. If I could just find someone to cook for me!

    And don’t worry about the children leaving home. According to my older friends who have kids……………………….they come back………..often…through divorce, job loss, etc. And they get hungry for mama’s cooking so don’t worry. You won’t be alone for long.

  22. 23


    Oh Judy, I understand just where you are coming from. It seems that it is human nature to be always wondering about our lives. We sold our home six months ago, sold off all the stuff we could live without, put our treasures in a big storage unit and moved into our Fifth Wheel full time. Our goal is to spend two years traveling around and deciding where we will settle when this time is over. We have visited all fifty states and know that some are definately not for us. Our four adult children are scattered all over the country and three of them have work that keeps them moving. We lived most of our lives in Wisconsin. It gets cold there (very) in winter and the taxes are outrageous but one son and my large family (parents, sisters, brothers, etc) are there. We just don’t know where we will end up. I can tell you that I miss my sewing room and although I sew here in the rig it is work to do it with my limited space. I miss having my big kitchen with all my pretty dishes and the space to have friends for dinner. I miss gardening and all the canning and freezing I did. This time of the year I miss all the Christmas decorations that I spent a life time collecting. However, I remind myself that this is the choice we made and I need to enjoy it while we can. Where will we end up? Time will tell.

  23. 24

    Judy C in NC says

    Moving to NC from CO we knew we wanted land around us. DWH was in law enforcement and I worked in vocational rehabilitation and we were sick of people being so needy. Bought brick house on six acres – never see the neighbors – and knew we needed to be right where we were for the last eight years. We are both in my 60’s now and needing a one story so will be selling our house and acreage in the Spring to move on to the next phase of our life – which is less yard, less dusting, less stairs and more us time.
    We are two hours from daughter here, but there are five other children and families in CO and CA we do not get to see very often. They have such busy lives, they cannot find time to visit. CA son and DIL come for a week every other Christmas, and we really look forward to that. We refuse to fly any where with the airlines such as they are – costly, herded like cattle with no consideration for your comfort, and you turn over your time and life to their control for 24 hours. Fixed incomes lead a lot to be desired but we sure do not need much anymore. Loving where we are right now.

  24. 25

    Sally H says

    When my four children were little, people asked what was my “favorite age.” My reply was always that there were things I enjoyed and things I disliked about every age. That hasn’t changed. I’ve got two off at college now, with two still at home, but the oldest will graduate this year and go on to …… well, who knows where/what. Every time he is home I think “This is could be the LAST time we are all home together, just us.” We homeschool, so being home together is, for me, the natural state of things and, although I know it is selfish, I want more. My favorite part of my oldest’s “age” is seeing him become so self-assured, full of the knowledge that he can acquire whatever it is he needs to know/learn, becoming the independent person I saw so long ago in that 2-year-old. My least favorite part is how little he needs me (good for him, sad for me), how I’m slowly becoming someone on the periphery of his life.

    My parents still live in the house we moved into when I was 12. I LOVE that I can go home — not just to visit them, but home. Of course that house doesn’t make sense for them anymore — they rattle around in it, just the two of them. But whenever they talk about moving, and come up with a list of what they must have in a house (like being able to walk to church, which they do now) no other house suits. We moved 6 years ago, downsizing the house and upsizing the land. I could live here without children but will need more animal care infrastructure to do the jobs that pure manpower supplies now. Even now we are downsizing what had been our emphasis and trying to become more over-all self-sufficient. My goal is to grow most of the food husband, I and our childrens’ four families eat.

  25. 26

    Gina E says

    I’m really good at blocking so I don’t think very far ahead! LOL I have two grown children out on their own and two small ones at home. I’ll be 56 when the last child graduates from high school. Some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but I live off that chaos and will miss it tremendously. Two years ago was the hardest when my oldest was in Afghanistan. One day at a time, Judy… one day at a time!

  26. 27

    Evelyn says

    It works both ways sometimes Judy – here I am finally on home stomping grounds and my 83 year old Dad just left for Florida for the winter – he drives himself (from Mass)! I offered to drive him down over the weekend but he was anxious to get going so I had to hug him good bye and tell him to be good. On the flip side he has hugged me goodbye many times! My Nana died when I was young but I clearly remember her saying “change is progress”. I don’t know if that is good or bad – probably a combination of both, but clearly progress is being made. Cheers! Evelyn

  27. 28


    Hi, I just signed up cause I’m listening to your interview with Pat Sloan on her radio show. I’m an official Sloanie and right now she has us busting UFO’s while some of us are working Bonnie Hunter’s current mystery. I love vintage, BRW.

  28. 29

    Eileen Keane says

    I’m right there with you! Do you think our parents felt the same? Our daughter is like my best friend; I don’t know what I’ll do if/when she leaves. Of course I want her to be happy but I don’t want her to go too far. 😉
    As far as where we’re going to live, we don’t know. NY taxes are so high, most people over the age of 60 leave and go somewhere else. I really don’t want to do that but what choices will we have?
    Have a great week!

  29. 30


    Wow it seems like many of us are feeling a little blue and restless. My husband and I raised three kids in what is technically a two bedroom house on a fifty by one hundred foot lot. I sewed in the kitchen for years. Now with our youngest in his first year of college we keep talking about moving somewhere with a few acres so I can grow my own fruits and vegetables. He wants a small shop to tinker on old cars. I want a house big enough to have my whole family over for dinner and not feel like sardines in a can! lol And the flip side of course is more house and land means bigger mortgage, more housework and more yardwork… geez. I’m with Judy lets EQ, or sew or knit and try not to think to hard about it. 🙂

  30. 31


    Its so funny but I told Keith today that as much as I like seeing the boys and especially the baby, I love our quiet life at home and for the most part don’t mind not having family close by. Of course, we do travel frequently to see them.

    We talk alot about where we will end up too. As much as we love Minneapolis it definitely won’t be there…I’m almost positive it will be the east coast but we’ve discussed pretty much everything between Maine and FL so It could be anywhere along the coast.

  31. 32


    I know how you are feeling, Judy and my other internet friends, what is the next phase of life? I don’t know either, but nobody does. All of our experiences help make us who we are…

    When we decided that California wasn’t going to be the place we’d retire and got our “50 acres in the woods” (“woods” is the term folks call the Douglas Fir forest that blankets most of the Pacific Northwest) we were quite a bit younger than we are now. We had huge expectations of what we could/would do when we finally retired up here. An old house on 50 acres of timber/pasture is a big bit of work. And it won’t get any easier as we age. Perhaps when one of us passes, the other will have to re-evaluate living alone so far from “civilization”. For now, it is all that we wanted and still want, even though life isn’t ever what we expect. We are quite comfortable in our solitude.

    Our neighbor runs his cattle on our land to keep the grass down and lessen the fire danger, we have our dogs and cats for company, Henry has his shop, and I have a small garden, my quilting and my pots. But we also have a daughter who has chosen to teach school in an International School setting, and currently resides in Kuwait City. Since the air fare is so steep, she will be visiting her Aunt and Uncle her and cousins (all of whom teach overseas as well) for Christmas in Thailand instead of coming home. We will see her in the Summer, and I miss her so much. We have phone contact, and Skype which help… but it is not the same as a real hug. It is just a “Mom thing”.

    “Each Day is a gift… that’s why they call it ‘The Present'”.

    Thanks for being there and understanding, Judy and friends… people to talk to are what makes this “virtual friendship” community work.
    Cheers to all, and Merry Christmas.

  32. 33

    Minnesota mom says

    I too had a really hard time sending my Junior in college off this Sunday. It seemed especially hard this year. I also find solace in quilting and creative activity. I also feel like sending him back after Thanksgiving coincides with the onset of our dark & cold winter days, which is depressing in itself! I’m counting down the days to Christmas break, and having tons of his laundry to do, along with baking and decorating!