Lots has been going on around here lately, things that are good and timely and affirming of all the work we have done as parents over the years. Exciting for the kids, and yet also so very wistful for me.  After many years with a whole houseful of kids we are now down to three at home, a number which may soon shrink to just two.

In September after a fair bit of apartment hunting, Josh and Lidya and Zeytuna found an apartment which they are renting together.  They are 18, 21, and 18 respectively, capable and ready to be out on their own, so this is an exciting venture for the three of them.

I am more than a little happy that during this first foray of theirs out into the world they will still be with each other.  I think that among the three of them I’m sure they will be able to sort out this new journey and take their first steps out into the world with confidence.

Ben, also 18, is apartment-hunting with two good friends. And if the most recent lead on an apartment comes through, he also will be out into the big world very soon.  Which means we may possibly have four kids moving out in just a month.

It’s quite an adjustment for us still living here at home, one that honestly I am trying to not dwell on a whole lot. (The feelings— eek.  Might be safer to let them just trickle in as they must, rather than opening the door wide and wallowing just yet.)

Basically it is a whole new phase of life, ready or not.  It’s a big adjustment for Emily and Julianna too, our youngest girls and soon to be the only ones still home at 14 and 11.  Last night we played dominoes on the living room floor, talking as we played, mostly about how strange it is to have so few people living here.  We talked about how lots of families only have two kids ever.  That’s their normal and they survive just fine.  But for us, so far, it definitely feels abnormal.

Good, of course, for the just-grown kids. I honestly am rejoicing that they’re working hard and doing well enough that they can head out and have their own adventures. We raised them all along with the intent of getting them to self-sufficiency.  This step is normal and will doubtless continue to mature them, in ways that wouldn’t be likely at home.

But it is going to take awhile for it to feel normal around here.  Till then we will work and homeschool and play dominoes and read stories (this one was FABULOUS!!) and do all the normal life things that have been happening in our home for decades.  When it gets too quiet we’ll invite the grandbabies over to inject some noise and commotion back in.  We’ll zip over to the beach every few weeks to keep tabs on the new fun that’s happening over there.

girls at the beach

And eventually we will get back to a new normal, one that will be rich and good in a new and different way.

But right now I’m walking past empty bedrooms and sighing a little.  Grabbing favorite treats for the just-moved kids to help stock their new kitchens.  Texting them to check in on their new lives. Hugging our youngest two with a little more intensity, determined to enjoy every minute of our time together.

Oh, and making an arts and crafts room for our youngest two girls out of one of those empty bedrooms.  We’re thinking an easel and a chalkboard wall, and cubbies for all those art pens and paper and other supplies.  Maybe even a place in a corner to leave my sewing machine set up all the time.

(To which my 11 year old says, “Mom, you hardly ever sew.”  Well, I might just do it more often if I’ve got my space set up all the time.  We’ll see!)

Because change….it’s not always easy.  And sometimes adding in a bit of fun (both long-enjoyed and new) eases the way when the changes feel big.


  1. When our fourth child left for college my husband and I were in the car with our remaining two teenagers. We looked at them and said, “this is what our family looks like now. What do you think?” Our 16 yr old daughter said, ” I don’t like it. It’s too intimate.” Haha

  2. Gary Coryer says:

    Mary, hoping you have a easy adjustment to the new household. I’ve got one just turning 16 and another turning 14 in January. That’s the two boys. Hard to believe they are this old. I remember holding Will easily on my forearm and now he’s taller than me (so is Kevin, yikes). Arena just turned eight in April so she’s going to be around for a bit. Watching your adjustments in preparation for making my own in a couple of years.

  3. Sniff, sniff….I miss your posts! And I think I shall stick my head in the sand when the kids move out. maybe they won’t! haha

    • Yes, it always seems unfair to me that just as you navigate past the bumpiest of the teen years and they move toward a more tranquil place, then it is time for them to go!

  4. What an exciting and hard and wonderful new season you’re entering into. It makes me think of Galatians 6:9. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” It’s encouraging to me–still in the “planting” season–to see you reaping a good harvest.

  5. I’ve been reading Melissa Fay Greene’s FABULOUS memoir No Biking in the House Without a Helmet (have you read it??), and she writes very frankly, tongue-in-cheek-but-also-not, about how they began pursuing adoption in order to fight off empty nest syndrome. And her immense disappointment when she realized that even as they fell in love with their new children she still was sad when older ones moved out!

    • Good book! I had forgotten she talked about that. And a hard thing about adopting older kids is that they move out so much sooner (relatively). We only had Lidya and Zeytuna for 9 years….

  6. Having them grow up and move out in a trickle is usually hard enough for parents, but having 4 leave in a month?!? The mind boggles. That is a serious adjustment-in-a-hurry for everyone! It is really nice, though, that three of them chose to move into a place together. It seems kind of like an in-between rather than everyone just scattering to the wind.

    • I agree! And so nice that they actually LIKE each other well enough to be willing to live together. Warms my momma-heart….

  7. Christina says:

    I just read an older post, ” 30 days of nothing ” , and I am inspired to try it. It sure forces you to be creative, doesn’t it?
    We just had to buy a new car (used, but new for us) and paid cash to avoid having a car payment.
    As a result, we now have to live pretty frugally for a while!
    But I’m confident we can do it.
    What was the hardest thing to do without?

    • I think skipping eating out was one of the hardest things for me…and just not impulse-buying at the store. Definitely you can save a lot of money in a month though!