My Almost Empty Nest


Just yesterday I saw my youngest daughter {my sweet pea} off to college. The whole family piled up in the Yukon, family and luggage packed to the hilt to see her off to San Francisco.

I had been trying to prepare myself, or should say, she had been trying to prepare me on her plans to attend college so far away, but it never really seemed to sink in. I had busied myself with all of the details of financing, housing, supplies, etc. in hopes to take my mind off the fact that my little girl would be leaving home for good.

photography | lucysnowephotography


My financial situation was like what a lot of us parents go through, “how the heck can I afford this”, kinda feeling and situation. I so wanted her to have the opportunity to attend the college she had her heart set on, but along the way it seriously looked so doubtful that she would be able to go. We were so blessed that she was awarded so much in scholarship funds, but as you know it’s not always near enough to make it happen. We didn’t find out until five days before her departure that she would actually be able to attend this semester.


Oh my goodness! I had four days to arrange a flight, get her packed, figure out what to do with the rest of the things she would be leaving behind, all of the supplies and necessities should would need to get her started…Have to say it was a bit overwhelming. Now that it’s over I am truly thankful it all happened so quickly. I think if it had been any longer I would have turned into the crazy parent that resulted in begging and pleading to not go so far away! It was hard enough I had to let her go, let her begin her own life as a young women and so far away, but I had to let her fly out all on her own! That is no small task. Your instinct tells you that you have to go no matter what, but when you only have a few days to plan, it just wan’t financial doable. So I had to be strong, not show her any doubts or lack of faith in her abilities to do this. Instead I more times than I care to admit ran off to cry my eyes out. Asking myself, “how could 18 years have possible gone by this quick”? How can it be that my little girl {sweet pea} be all grown up and ready to begin her own life, away from home, all the way across the country?

It was a teary eyed day, both with happy tears and with sadness knowing that your child will no longer live under your roof.

photo via |


So, as I helped her pack {breaking away repeatedly into tears} I packed her suitcases with little special mementos, letters, and pictures in hopes to make her smile as she unpacked her belongings in her now, new home. Bringing a little part of home with her on her new journey.

love letters…by Wien de Graff

2d6604fc0f40655f1d4b3885791c1ee8 Funny how for years through all of the dirty dishes, the dirty clothes, the never ending taxi service, the always messy bathroom and all of the times that you butt heads, through all of the attitude, you say to yourself, “Oh how I would love to come home from a long hard day and have a little peace”. Little did I know the silence, that “peace” I sought after, was unbearable. I guess you never think you would miss all of the things that drove you crazy for so long, how you already, the first day, longed for some of that back.

I felt compelled to spill my heart out to her and found myself texting her just those thoughts. I knew it would make her smile knowing that no matter how difficult things got over the years, that it was all just part of growing, for both of us. That all of that was ok, it’s what we are meant to go through in order to prepare ourselves for a lives ahead.


My nest, thank goodness still holds my son {at seven years old, but full force already a teenager at times}. As I am so thankful to have him home with me I can’t help but already begin calculating how quickly he will too be leaving the nest. In ten short years I will have to let my last child go out into the world, something I think I am going to tuck away, at least for now.


So now the question comes, “what do I do now with all of this free time”? Even though so much goes to my son, there really isn’t any comparison to the time and efforts you devote to a teenager. I think my daughter could feel my thoughts, could sense all of the questions I had floating around and out of the blue one day says to me, “Mom, I am giving you one week to redo my room and create an office space for yourself so you can focus more on you now”. How wonderful and surprising that was to hear. From my teen that normally only seemed to be thinking of herself, touches my heart with her kind and unselfish words.

So that is what I am going to do, convert her room into my so needed space and plunge myself back into my work. Spend a little extra time on doing something that makes me happy.


I am sure there are going to be many many moments when the reality of my little girl living so far away sets in, but for now I am finding comfort in knowing that it isn’t just about her leaving our nest, it’s about the beautiful young woman I help create. The one that is strong enough and confident enough to pursue her dreams no matter how far away they may be. I am going to keep my faith and know that she will create a beautiful and full life for herself. I am going to smile every time I read her message to me, as soon as she landed and was traveling to here dorm, “I get to live and learn in this city…how lucky am I”?

I would love to hear how you all have dealt with your children leaving your nest ♥




5 thoughts on “My Almost Empty Nest

  1. Liz Thomas

    Your post brought back to me the year my 16 year old daughter left for a year abroad in Belgium as a rotary exchange student. She seemed so young! I told her if she did all the work (lots of paperwork, drs. appts, affidavits, etc.) by herself, then she had my permission to do this. I was amazed at how well she did everything and I developed the confidence in her to go off by herself. Even after she graduated from college, she chose to go off to Africa in the Peace Corp. So I have done what you are doing twice! But I so understand the feelings. I was a single mom, with my son left at home also. He and I had a wonderful time that year, so I expect you will get to know your son even better and you will rejoice about that, and he will, too! In the mean time, remember that your daughter will be in a fabulous city, The art there is unbelievable. She’ll learn lots of life’s lessons and I so sincerely hope she does well!!. I have a very old gentleman friend who lives in San Francisco and if she is ever stuck in a bad way, just let me know and we’ll get her to safety!! So don’t you worry… you have a project to get started on…..being YOU!!

    1. clothandpatina Post author


      Oh wow, that must have been hard to let her travel abroad! But how wonderful as well! It was a great thing that you had her take on all of those responsibilities herself. It really does open their eyes and teach them so much. I did the same with my daughter. I wasn’t really able to help her financially so told her if she really wanted to do this, she would stay focused, have faith and find a way to make it happen and she did just that. She pretty much took care of a lot of the school end of it, which proved to me just how motivated she was to do this. And how amazing that your daughter went on to join the Peace Corp. Blessings to her and to you for raising such a good person. She literally is out there on an extremely tight budget and will feel much better when she finds a job to help her out more. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in and share a bit of your experience. I know I’m not alone and there are so many of us going through this, but it sure doesn’t feel that way right now, so thank you! It was so hard coming home last night, once my little one was tucked into bed and it was just me, it was heartbreaking. And yes, I think she truly fell in love the second she stepped out of the airport! And thank you so much for looking out for her, hoping she never gets stuck in a bad way, but I will definitely keep that in mind. Blessings to you and your family and thank you again for kindness and support.


  2. Lin

    I cried. A lot.

    They are now 39, 37, and 31 and living far from home. Happy and independent ~ just what we wanted for them. My son emailed me from Japan this morning, and said he missed me. More tears, but tears of great love.

    To deal with the empty nest, I returned to what I love doing most. It fills the hours with small joys. But nothing beats getting a hug in person.

    She will do wonderfully. And it is so sweet that she understood what you are going through and suggested a project!

    1. clothandpatina Post author


      Wow, Japan, that is so far, but what an amazing place to be. Sounds like you are one proud mom as well! We can’t really ask for much more than knowing our kids are happy and living the lives they envision for themselves. I have my teary eyed moments but today has been a really good one filled with so much happiness for her. She has been texting me pictures all day sharing her surroundings with me and telling me just how happy she is and how she already feels at home. That has filled my heart with so much happiness, knowing she gets to experience this. Thank you so much for sharing with me and for your words of encouragement. I can’t begin to tell you how much easier it is making it to share with other moms. Blessings to you and your family ♥f


  3. Kerrie

    My nest is still emptying so I know how you feel. Two are gone, two remain. My oldest has been a carpenter since he was 17. He moved out at 18. But between 18 and 22 he moved back in and out several times. Now he has his own vintage apartment with his fiancé in the city. He is independent and happy. He visits often. My oldest daughter moved out two Summers ago to attend UC Berkeley. She will graduate this year. I cried a lot. But She is only 1.5 hrs away. My youngest daughter and son are at the community college and my daughter will move this Summer when she transfers to Humboldt State University. That is when it will get difficult. We are so close and I have travel anxiety so will not be able to drive the winding roads to visit her. I know I will cry a lot. I always knew the empty nest season would be hard, so hard that I just never could think about it. But I am enjoying finding myself again. I have been able to return to being an Artist full time and that is so fulfilling. I have more time to garden and be active outdoors. I am grateful that the emptying of the nest is happening slowly. My baby, youngest son, will be with us for 2-3 more years before he transfers to University. I will probably be a wreck when that day comes. Having fur babies has helped. It’s just difficult to go from having a full, busy house of children to quiet, slow and empty. At first the emptiness (because mine are gone almost all day) is lonely but after a few years I have gotten used to it. You will too. You do have a long time with your son still. That will help. Just give yourself the freedom to miss her and cry when needed. The tears do cleanse the sadness away.

    We are not too far from SF if she ever needed anything. And my daughter is just across the bay. She takes Bart into the city often. I hope she loves it. SF is my favorite city in the world. I refer to it as ‘my Paris’. I always wanted to live there. It’s a beautiful place.

    xxo Kerrie


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