Tag: family life (page 1 of 13)

Family photos: Time travel made easy

Dear Wendy,

So remember last fall when I said we were starting to downsize, in preparation for putting our house on the market “next spring”? Remember how “next spring” seemed aeons away, and I was all chill about getting everything done because I’d allowed myself so much time?

Yeah. Continue reading

I’m outta here!

Dear Karen,

Well, I’m outta here.  Gone.  But only for a week.

I’ll be back, though, but I thought you should know where I’m going, and why. Continue reading

An autumn visit to Ontario

Dear Karen,

After more than two weeks in Toronto, I’m finally back in London.  As much as I love being home, I do miss  Canada, mostly because I finally got the chance to spend 14 whole days there, with my little grandson.  Oh yeah, and his parents.  They’re kind of important, too! Continue reading

Zen habits I’ve learned from camping

Dear Wendy,

Well, we’re back from our first camping trip of the year. I’m sun-burnt, wind-burnt, mosquito-bitten, and exhausted…and it was, as always, a delight.

While we were out in the woods with nothing between us and nature but a couple of layers of high-tech nylon, it occurred to me that if I had even half a mind to become a Buddhist, this would totally be the place to do it. Continue reading

My so-called empty nest

Dear Wendy,

alt="IMAGE-empty-nest-revolving-door-after-the-kids-leave"It seems a little bit strange to be writing about the empty nest when my youngest kid is sitting next to me playing Sims on her computer, but summer’s almost half over, and the new school year is only a month away.

Last year at this time I remember musing about my first year with no kids living at home—Adrian had been living on his own for about 10 years, Rachel had finished her first year of college, and I was feeling kind of cocky about having survived that dreaded first plunge into childlessness.

Well, temporary childlessness.

Because, as I now know, they come back. That was actually Lesson 1: this whole “going away to college” thing isn’t the real thing. Sure, we call it “the empty nest,” but it’s really more like “the temporary lull.” The real empty nest will happen in a few more years, when degrees have been handed out, jobs and first apartments acquired.

I know this, but I’m not thinking about it too hard. Call it denial, but I prefer to think of it as “living in the moment.”

Empty nest, full nest

Right now we’re in the revolving door stage, at least with our youngest child.

Our year has a particular rhythm now: we spend the summer preparing for the new school year. In early September we drive to Toronto and drop Rachel off at her college. This is a happy-sad time for all of us, and tears are usually involved.

On our return home, everything is suddenly intensely quiet, until Mitchell and I have time to adjust back into our “home alone” routine. But we quickly relearn what it’s like to live as a childless couple again—cooking for two, planning our days around our own schedules, running the dishwasher every couple of days. Of course, we see Adrian a couple of times each week, but he always returns to his own place afterward.

In October Rachel comes home for Thanksgiving weekend, which is always insanely hectic and much too short; then it’s a longish haul until her December break. We have a full month together, and then she’s off again, this time until mid-February, when she’s back for study break; Easter is usually about 6 weeks later; and then we’re making the trip to Toronto once more at the end of April, to bring her back home.

You see what I mean about the revolving door, right?

Right now, we’re in the middle of the pre-back-to-school planning stage, thinking about all the things we need to do before September: courses must be chosen, mountains of laundry must be washed, haircuts must be scheduled (because seriously, when you find a great hairdresser, you don’t mess around with that).

Rachel only has about 10 days left in her summer job (interning at an architectural office), and we’ll be off on a camping trip for a few days, and then it’ll be time to get packing in earnest.

For now, I’m enjoying the temporary chaos of having our youngest at home, but these days it seems that no matter whether she’s here or not, I’m aware that it won’t last long. Change, it seems, really is the only constant.

Love,

Karen

 

 

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