This time last year…

I feel like I’m in some kind of time warp. This time last year, all five of my kids were in good places in their lives. Happy. Healthy. Good jobs, good lives. I wrote about it here: March 31, 2015, because Chris was moving out, heading into the life he’d worked really hard to make. Years and years of struggle, pain, anxiety, depression, and he was happy. Really happy. Everyone was.

Then came June and he was gone. Just like that.

And, just like that, everything started to rewind. My youngest daughter, who’d been happy both professionally and personally, suddenly found herself in bad situations with both. My oldest son and his then fiancee lost their apartment when the owner decided to sell. He, she, a dog and two cats ended up moving in here. Both daughter and son struggled through personal and professional debacles. We helped them all we could, lent a hand when they reached out for one and (hopefully) stepped out of the way before boundaries were crossed. Our lives were suddenly and once again complicated with children now adults and their adult problems. And then there was the grief. Such intense grief for all of us. Our two oldest have families of their own, and I think they largely escaped the whirlwind in this house, even if they still had to deal with their grief.

Around the turn of the year, things seemed to halt their careening rewind and, after a pause for breath, started winding forward again. Daughter got a new apartment, settled in a good working situation, and fell in love. Son and his fiancee hit a rough patch that ended in a break-up I don’t think either of them saw coming. She took the dog. He kept the cats. And now he’s the one moving out. To Portland, Oregon. He’s taking the chance he didn’t take several years ago when his bandmates headed west. He’s on his way right now.

And here we are, once again: empty nesters. I’m thrilled son is off on the adventure he not only wants, but needs. I’m ecstatic daughter is happy in Brooklyn. But Chris…he’s not out on his own, living his life. The nest emptied in a way I can’t be happy about.

I truly am looking forward to being just me and Frankie D. To the relative quiet, to the freedom of being responsible for only ourselves on a daily basis. We all love our kids, but no one can dispute that things get quieter once they’re out of the house. This time last year, I was excited about that quiet. After that massive rewind, I can’t say I’m excited. I’m…heedful. There’s no going back to that innocence, the wonder of a life opening up and spreading out before me like a gift. I see the shadows now, the little ruts and ridges on the path that warn, “Don’t go too fast! Watch your step! There are bears in these here woods!”

But here I am, on that path I’ve been looking forward to since I had my first baby, because I’m not the kind of mom who ever wanted to keep her kids forever. I didn’t wish my babies back, or “endure” their teens. I have been madly in love with them through every stage in their lives. I still am. It’s just that our nest isn’t the same kind of empty it was this time last year. It’s got a ragged hole where one fell out rather than flew.

The forward momentum continues despite the ruts, ridges and bears. I head into my future a little more warily, but no less optimistically. Because there are flowers in the wood, too, and treasures along the rutted path. The benefit of treading a bit more carefully is that I’ll spot them more often than I otherwise would have.




Filed under Family, Life's honest moments

21 responses to “This time last year…

  1. It’s a reminder for us all to tread more carefully and notice the flowers and treasures along the way. Their so easy to overlook and forget about at times.

    Stay strong ❤


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      And then I go downstairs to do laundry and fine a dryer full of clothes he wanted to take with him.
      It was difficult for him, packing. Though Scott moved out years ago, and was only here again seven months, he’d never moved more than half an hour from home. Packing up entailed going through a lot of things his ex-fiancee left behind, as well as a whole bunch of his brother’s stuff. It was an emotional week for us all.


  2. (((((((((((((((Terri))))))))))))))


  3. Such a beautiful expression of Motherhood, it’s triumphs and it’s pitfalls. Hugs to you Terri!


  4. Best of luck to Scott! What an exciting he has coming 🙂 Life, motherhood, marriage, so many changes – many good and some sorrowful. You and Frank are strong and together even stronger. The next phase of life may be challenging, just take it one day at time. ❤ HUGS


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I’m really excited for him. Last week was hard, of course, but today, I’m feeling a lot more positive about it.


  5. MaryAnn Forbes

    You are a brave and loving Mother and woman. Peace be with you.


  6. From one mom to another: a big hug and so much love…and, if you or your adventurous guy needs any help or tips on living in Portland–please let me know. And if you come visit, I would love to meet up with you!
    What band is he part of? My son is also in a band in Portland–I’m a bit of a groupie. 🙂


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I totally forgot you live in those parts. Knowing there’s a “mom” in the area is very comforting to me. When I get out there, will be certain to let you know. It WILL happen. Just don’t know when yet. I have to see Portland while he’s out there, just in case the East Coast calls him home. 🙂

      His band is Fins. They made a big splash in the indie/new punk world a couple of years ago. Great reviews in Pitchfork and…I can’t remember the other review/music mag but it was a big one. What band is your son in? How funny would it be if they already know one another. Scott’s been out there a couple of times to do shows with the boys.


      • My son’s band morphed into a new band called Hot Spit. He hasn’t heard of Fins, but who knows, they may run into each other yet!
        And yes, absolutely let me know when you make it out this way. We may have missed each other at the Jersey shore last summer, but we can try for a meeting on this side of the country. 🙂


      • Terri-Lynne DeFino



  7. Mark nelson

    Hugs. Without the dark, we would take the light for granted. Hugs and words. We, too, are looking at the empty nest coming up. Having daughter #2 home while she teaches at a grade school in town has been nice, but there is a boyfriend and talk of rings and moves in the offing.


  8. I can relate to last year being almost intolerable, with Jordan’s death, 2 surgeries for me and 2 surgeries for Glenn, both getting fired and fighting with insurance companies, but I do see a change for the better happening now, and I think 2016 will be a better year.


  9. Carol Lovekin

    I am moved beyond any words I’m leaving here…
    Watch your inbox.
    Love in abundance, cariad. xXx

    Liked by 1 person

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