For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Annie's New Digs

After all of the drama/anticipation/anxiety/excitement of the past year, the day finally came for Annie to move away to college at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.

She was scheduled to move in at 10:30 AM on Monday, but due to the long drive we decided to go up on Sunday so the move wasn't so hectic.

The car was all packed.

Before we pulled away,  Annie ran to the front yard to take a picture of the house on her phone (maybe she thought she'd forget what it looked like!)

Then we were off!

The next morning, we pulled up in front of the dorm at 10:30 and were met by a large group of Eastman sophomores with large bins.

One of them greeted us and helped unload the car into a rolling bin. We needed two trips to get everything up to her room.

Inside the dorm was a welcome sign with the names of all members of the Eastman freshman class.

Annie stopped at a table to get her room key and we headed to the elevator to go up to the 10th floor.

When we first saw the room, I wondered if everything would fit!

After meeting Carley, Annie's roommate, Vance and I retired to the lounge to wait for Annie to unpack.  The room just couldn't accommodate all of us!

She managed to find a place for almost everything - we took back a few plastic storage drawers and her big duffle bag.

After a trip to the bookstore for a sweatshirt...

a tasty frozen yogurt, and a drive to the main U. of Rochester campus,

it was time to say good-bye and get on our way.

This was the last time I smiled for quite a few hours.  After this picture I gave Annie a hug and the sobs began.

As we left Rochester the skies opened up , commiserating what I was feeling inside!  I already missed her!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

24 Hours

Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.
                           Ambrose Bierce

On any normal day, we don't always make the most of our time.  

But what if it wasn't a "normal" day.  What if it was a day that would only happen once in your lifetime?  

What if you were leaving home for the first time in your life to live 5 hours away in another state to go to college? 

What would you do with your time?  

Here is what Annie did last Saturday before she left for college on Sunday.

She didn't waste much time sleeping.  At 4:30 AM, she woke up and met two of her close friends, Zach and Dave, for a hike up Soapstone Mountain to watch the sunrise. They even brought a camp stove and made breakfast!

She did a few loads of laundry so she could finish up her packing.
The gathering spot was in the piano room.

 She hadn't slept in her bedroom for a while.  She was using her bed to collect the clothes she planned to pack.

While her clothes were being washed, she decided to fix her favorite spider earring that had lost the jewel.

Gold or blue?

Then I followed her to her friend's house so I could take pictures of her saying good-bye to Jess.

Jess carried on a long tradition between friends by giving Annie a picture she had drawn of a dinosaur in front of the Eastman School of Music!

I couldn't help but take a picture of Jess's cat Archie!

After a final drive through the corn fields and cow pastures of town...

Annie went to the high school track for a final run.

How appropriate that the back of her shirt reads:

Then Annie stayed home and ate dinner with us.  We went to the grocery store for snacks to bring to college,
finished packing,

and she redid her manicure at 2:00 AM before going to sleep.

On Sunday morning we went to church
for her final time as the official church pianist.

 After the service, there were many hugs and well-wishes ...

 Then we went home to pack up the car


THAT was how she spent her last 24 hours at home!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Here Comes Good-Bye

Back in May, I thought I would be ok with being an empty nester.  

Adam hadn't lived at home for more than a few weeks at a time for 3 years.
Kerry was living in an apartment in Burlington and was staying there for the summer.
Annie was busy with all the activities that fill the lives of graduating Seniors in high school.

 We were practically empty-nesters already!
No sweat, right?

Then summer came.  Adam moved home for the summer.  Kerry visited often.  And Annie was home more to spend time with Adam and Kerry.
It was a nice summer, ending with our yearly vacation together in Lake George.

About a week ago,  Adam moved to an apartment in Burlington where he will live for the next year.

When he left that morning, my heart ached.
I let myself wallow for a while.

I felt like I was standing on the shore and the tide was coming in.
Just as the water steadily rises on the sand, I felt my emotions were also rising.
Every once in a while a wave would come and the tears would overflow.

But there were things to do. 
I needed to get Annie everything she needed for her first year of college.
Kerry came home for a week too.

At the end of this week, Kerry goes back to Vemont for her final year of college.

And one week from today we pack up Annie's things and bring her to Rochester.
There's no doubt in my mind THAT good-bye will very difficult for me.

Because then we come home.  
Just the two of us.

Alone in the house for the first time in 22 years.

Has it really been that long?
It seems like it all happened in the blink of an eye.

When the kids were little, we were told so often to enjoy our time with them because they grow up so fast.   Back then, even a day of caring for three young children could seem endless.  

Over 8000 days of those days have passed.
From now on. the majority of our time will be spent without our kids at home.
Just the two of us.

I feel very sad and happy at the same time.

I just need to get through next week's good-bye.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


You would think that when you're in your 50's you would have life figured out.  You'd think you could handle whatever life throws at you.

You'd think that you wouldn't long for the wisdom and strength and comfort of Daddy.

He's been gone now for 4 years, but he is ever present in my life.

Whenever anything needs fixing, I ask myself "What Would Daddy Do?"

Just having him in my life made me stand a little taller, feel a little braver, and sleep a little more soundly.

Sometimes I watch the slideshow that I made for his wake.  Depending on my mood, it can make me smile or it can make me cry.  But it always makes me feel closer to him.

I watched it today.  It made me cry.