High School Kids, my old country house


I don’t know what is wrong with me.

One minute I am fine…the next, I am in a coffee shop and a song comes on. It sounds just like my daughter – and I start to cry. She is even in town right now – not far away – and I am losing it.

Me and My Cappucino.


It’s not so mysterious when I think about it ….when I let myself think about it. Which I try not to do. I guess I had some mistaken notion that I could PREP for this, maybe even totally avoid  – The Empty Nest. Bolster myself with plans and travel and things to do, maybe a house to sell…paint a million paintings, get another dog – get down to the business of doing all the things I can do now.

But here is the honest truth.

This is Harder than it looks. No one wants to talk about it. It’s too sad and up and down and all over the place so very very personal and good and bad and guilt ridden with feeling unappreciative for what I have.

I could spend 30 minutes on Instagram and find a 1000 photos of pregnant women, babies, so many babies, and adorable kids – even Moms who are overwhelmed – newborn announcements and 41 week pregnancies that have gone on too long. I even saw a baby get born the other day (that was a surprise and I am still not sure how I felt about it, it made me uncomfortable.)

Just So much Sweetness and Excitement and Anticipation.

But I often wonder – where are the Aging moms with mascara down their face? Where are all the other ones like “me”? How come I never see a beautiful photo with a comment about walking into your house – and no one is there – just the ghosts. Do we just not talk about it? Are we just too sad and trying to get on with our lives, find the NEXT thing – stay busy. Or do we want so BAD to be okay with it that we wish away the sadness.

Like I said, I’ll be fine in 20 minutes.

It’s just harder than it looks.

Phoebe and her boyfriend got evacuated from William and Mary. It was the most wonderful Birthday dinner for Cooper. All 5 of us plus his girlfriend and Phoebe’s boyfriend had dinner. it was pure heaven.




  1. I’ve got middle schoolers now but know the time will come when I’m in your shoes. I’ve got no advice other than embracing your feelings which you seem to be doing. Hugs from afar!

  2. Oh Leslie! My youngest daughter has been “out of the nest” for over 4 years. When she first left I was so down that it scared me. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t miss life the way it used to be. That is NOT to say that life is not great and that I am miserable all the time. BUT IT IS HARD!!!!! It is easier on some than it is others for sure but I can tell you that you are NOT alone. I appreciate your honesty on this more than you know. Hang in there! Sending love your way!!!!! 🙂

  3. Empty nest is so hard. The ache in the heart, pure physical pain is real. I have no advice, except to say that you are not alone. Don’t let anyone dismiss your feelings.

  4. Love the photo!!! I’m not quite at empty nest yet but I see those days rapidly approaching. One of my three daughters is on her own, and I love when she comes to sleep over now and then. The other two are 17 and 14. I will hold your experience in my heart as my girls leave one by one. It’s good to know that I won’t be alone in my ups and downs.

  5. It really is! My son is in college and my daughter is taking a gap year and just left for Europe. I’m a teacher, so I got to see my daughter at school occasionally during the school day. Not seeing her this year just makes me sad. I’m so excited for their new adventures, but I’m so sad they’re no longer living at home.

  6. It’s just so hard when they go. I missed their energy, their noise, their youth that filled our house all those years. This song came to mind just a few sentences into your post; it was even written by a woman named Lesli(e)! Perhaps you’ve heard it, it’s called Letting Go by Suzy Bogguss: https://youtu.be/aLyGae5mYoo

  7. My son, Jarrett, died at 17 of melanoma. A year and a half after his death, Jarrett’s friends were leaving for college. I could hardly bear the tears of their moms and sadness. I wanted nothing more than for Jarrett to be alive and going away to college. I wanted his dreams to come true. I wanted a phone call where I could just hear his voice on the line- even if he wasn’t living under our roof anymore.

    Since then….my younger three boys have gone off to college. Two have graduated and have jobs in the real world. One is even getting married in November. This train does not slow down. I feel the sadness you feel. I feel the sadness that Jarrett’s friends’ moms felt and that I begrudged.

    Lots of ghosts in my house.

    I have a 15 year old daughter and a four year old little boy still at home…but I find each and every day incredibly bittersweet. I know something I didn’t know when I started this motherhood journey. I now know how fleeting it is.

    Hugs to you. I’m here. My mascara is a mess, I’m not young anymore …and I love my kids BIG like you.



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