Monday, August 20, 2012

I have an ache in my heart . . .

I got home today from an amazing weekend at Arrowhead Lake in the Poconos!  My friends, Barb and Jimmy, had a get-together for us at their cabin with my sister and her husband, too.  What a wonderful time it was.  We had delicious food, comradely, and lots of fun things to do:  like toast marshmallows at a bonfire and make S'mores together.  The "stuff" of it did not really matter.  What mattered most was that we were all together one last time before Katie heads off to college this coming Friday. (yes, in five days!)

I would like to share some pictures with you from our weekend:

 Their cabin is always very welcoming!

 Don't you just love the decorations around the outside of the cabin?

 Fairies watch over us there . . .

  As do cats and . . .


 and frogs.

No small creature gets left without a home!

 Wrens and other birds love the food that Barb lovingly placed everywhere for them.

 and they even have a place to take a bath.

And I bet there is a magical place inside that tree.

I would like to share my "people" pictures:
 Here's Katie, Aunt Karen, and Barb!

 Anne with that wonderful smile!


 Dad and Anne going fishing.  (he took Katie at this age right in this very spot!!!)

 Aunt Karen and Katie

 Karen, Sharon, and Barb:  BFF's!

 Aunt Karen and Anne sharing the glider.

Now for the really fun part - the bonfire!!!
 Anne's really getting into the fun.

 Say cheese!

 Looks like everyone is enjoying the fire!

 Pretty amazing!

 My favorite photo of the two of them!

 More pics of the fun!

 Katie and Anne being silly . . .

 Surprise! Our evening ended by being able to watch a firework display through the trees!!

 And here are pictures from the next morning on the beach:

 Ouch!!!!! (these are the kinds of things I will really miss!)

 Me and my girls!!!!!

Aunt Kar with Katie!

And finally, one last photo of Anne playing in the sand!

More thoughts on my relationship with Katie: my first born:
I am basically one of those “flesh and blood” kinds of people. While I amvery aware that I will see Katie in a month, and that I will get to talk to heron the phone, and that she will still be an active, involvedpart of my life,  I will still miss the “fleshand blood,” every day connection I had with my daughter.
I must be honest. I would love to say that I am happy for her that sheis going on to become the grown woman that we brought her up to be.  But in all honesty, I know that I will missKatie. My heart aches to have, once again, that every day, mother-daughter relationshipthat we had when she was growing up.
Bringing up Katie and getting to know her as she became the woman she is today,has affected me deeply and meant more to me that I could have ever known.  Seeing her life, herinspiration and courage, and her commitment to things as she grew up, has changed my life more than any human could everexpect a life to change.  ♥

So, what do I do now?

I found instructions on the web at

1)Let yourself cry. It's natural to feel a sense ofloss and sadness when the last child leaves home, so don't try to ignore thesefeelings. Acknowledge the sadness and let yourself cry for a few minutes whenyou feel the urge to -- but don't lie in bed and sob all day. Allow yourself tofeel the sadness for a few minutes, then think about something positive, likethe accomplishment of having successfully raised your children.
2)Lean on your partner, family, and friends.You've been busy and distracted taking care of the children; now is the time tothink about yourself and your other relationships. Go out to lunch with afriend you haven't seen in a while, or go for a long walk with your husband.Don't let yourself talk too much about the children. Focus instead ondiscussing each others' interests or current events. According to a study doneby the Association for Psychological Science, many women enjoy their marriages more once the children are gone.
3)Get busy with activities. Now thatyou don't have to devote all your time to parenting, think about improvingyourself and helping people around you. Sign up for yoga or art lessons, orstart volunteering.These activities will help distract you from missing the child and may help youmeet new people.
4)Rearrangeyour home. Don't remove all photos of your children,but don't let your refrigerator be a shrine to them. Post reminders aboutupcoming events that you're looking forward to or artwork that makes you happy.And now is the time to make changes to your home that weren't possible while itwas full of children. Turn the messy rec room into a living room, or start converting a child's bedroom into the art studioyou've always dreamed of. Even small changes like putting a vase of flowers inthe kitchen can help you appreciate having your home back for yourself.
5)Get in touch with your child once you'veadjusted to them being gone. You don't want to make incessant phone calls fromthe minute the last child leaves, but after a few days of separation, you cancall to check in. Arrange a communication schedule with each child. Agree thatyou'll have a phone conversation each Sunday, or that you'll keep in touchprimarily through emails or texts. You may also want to keep in touch throughweb chats, so buy a web cam if your computer isn't already equipped with one.
6)Plan the next get-together. Schedulea weekend to visit one with your child, or plan activities for the Thanksgivingvisit when everyone will be home. Looking forward to the next time you'll allbe together will keep you from being sad that you're apart right now.

Pretty good words of advice, I thought!  I still have that ache in my heart, but I am very happy for Katie and I know now that I am going to be OK.

Thanks so much for coming by my blog today, my dear friends!    ♥♥♥


  1. That is GREAT advice!!! I loveeeeeeeeee all your pics!! Looks like an AMAZING time!!!!!

  2. The empty nest is 12 years away for me, but I still understand completely how you feel. Best wishes through this transition. And cherish your mother-daughter time with Anne even more!

  3. You have some great pictures. I so understand Sharon. Create, create, create. Have together time with your husband. Annie will probably enjoy the hugs! You'll do fine because you live life to its fullest!

  4. Aw, Sharon, this post made me all teary! Beautiful photos. What a great post. I'm a long way from an empty nest but already dreading it! You know you have raised Katie right and what a beautiful woman she's become - inside and out. I know you are proud. :)

  5. It gets,well,not easier but different,my oldest is college Junior now but his Senior year as I teared up after every "last" he told me,"Mom,this is a good thing,right? This is what I'm suposed to do-these are beginnings,not just endings" that kid and Katie will continue to make you proud!

  6. Oh what a wonderful get together with your family before Katie leaves. LOVED these sweet pics. Sending your child off to college for the first time is singularly the hardest thing a parent has to do. I just read somewhere that the only thing harder than sending your child off to college is not sending your child off to college. You are so blessed to have this remarkable young woman in your life who is continuing to make wonderful decisions for herself. HUGS!!

  7. Gorgeous photos, Sharon! I loved them all and felt like I was there. My sister went through this and I had read that is the same feeling as a loss/death. Cry, talk, look through photos, blog, more research...whatever it takes. XOXO and would love to eat jambalaya with you!!! :)

  8. Awwww... Sharon! I got all teary eyed reading this. I just feel so much for you. I hope that you're able to adjust to your new normal. I'm sending you BIG hugs. Let me know if I can do anything. I'm so glad that you got that last little vacation with your kiddos.

  9. Hey Sharon, I can definitely relate. I went through these same emotions when Mariel went to college in 2009, and this summer as she turned 21 and prepares to go back to school for her senior year, I am going through these emotions all over again. The good news is that while our relationship has changed, we are still very close. She still needs her mom, but we can also share things in a way that's more like friends too. Your time with Anne will take on a new dimension too, and that will be wonderful. Hang in there!

  10. Praying for you as Katie makes the move today. Thanks for sharing the photos of this amazing family weekend!! ~ Blessings, Tracey

  11. I recently stumbled upon your blog and when I saw the mention of Arrowhead Lake in the Poconos, I had to check it out because my aunt and uncle have a home on the lake there. Imagine my surprise when I saw their house in the background of the photo of Aunt Kar and Katie on the beach. Directly across the water, near that little peninsula is their place! Small world!


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