Tag Archives: change

Empty nesters

Boxes, and peanuts, and tape – oh my!

Yup, that’s my youngest having a snack, watching TV, and lounging in one of my mother-in-law’s moving boxes.

We are about to have an empty nest.

My mother-in-law is heading northeast this month and the rest of us will head west to California, in December.

How long have I known about this?

Since early August.

Why am I just writing about it?

I struggled with what to say and what not to say.

The move for hubby, the kids, and me is great. New job, promotion, more diversity, and new adventures – I’m thrilled!

The move for my mother-in-law…well, I don’t know what I can say about that. I have never tried to tell her story here – and I’m not starting now.

Why isn’t she coming to California with us?

I’m not so sure about that, either. No clear, succinct, or press release-esque message or response has been provided to me, and I’m not going to push for it.

With this exciting change came a huge wave of discomfort.

Discomfort around:

  • finances
  • security
  • power plays
  • passive aggressive behavior
  • communication
  • openness
  • gratitude
  • familiar structure
  • relationships

Since early August, I feel like I’ve been on this rickety teeter toter of joy, pain, anger, and jubilation. It’s completely exhausting.

What have I gained from all this?


Clarity on what it means to keep family structures positively in place. How to listen intently to the emotions behind the ill-chosen words. How to dig deep and recalibrate a personal lens and shift it to a lens focused on compassion.When to stop talking and let it all play out. How to find internal joy and create space for love in the chaos of change.

It’s been a humbling and lovely experience all at once.

Would I do this all again?

Absolutely – but for a shorter period of time.

Will I continue to write about multigenerational/intergenerational families and in-law dynamics?

Yes! This is a topic near and dear. I greatly enjoy supporting my readers, clients, and community. It’s a full nest will stick around.

Will I ever live in a multigenerational household again?

I’m counting on it!





September and Autumn

The breezes taste

Of apple peel.

The air is full

Of smells to feel-

Ripe fruit, old footballs,

Burning brush,

New books, erasers,

Chalk, and such.

The bee, his hive,

Well-honeyed hum,

And Mother cuts


Like plates washed clean

With suds, the days

Are polished with

A morning haze.

~John Updike, September


image: mentalfloss.com

Message to my younger self

I have been doing a lot of decluttering and purging this spring and summer. It feels good and so necessary.

Sometimes I wonder if other people have been dumping their stuff over here. Where did it all come from?

Plus, we may move to another state or opt to move into a different house in Colorado. I want to be ready as possible fir that transition.

During my decluttering mission – I decided to organize some pictures and I found this gem of my mother-in-law and me.

Aren’t we both so cute and coordinated in our orange? (Totally not planned.)

The picture is from April 2005 during a spring break visit. My mother-in-law was still living in Minnesota, my daughter was 5 ( turning 6 the next month), and my husband and I thought we would parent one child.

I remember this being a fun trip because my mother-in-law’s brother, and his family (wife and 3 kids) had traveled to Colorado, too.

I also remember feeling down in the dumps because I was very unhappy with my work situation and I was missing Chicago – and my life there – tremendously.

In looking back and seeing how things are now – I wish I could have eased into my fear of change and not used so much energy raging against it. I also wish I had given myself more room and space to dream big – so I could have gotten on with things, like having my second child, sooner.

Here’s a message to my younger self:

Hey girl!

This transition to Colorado has been a real bitch. Just admit it and stop keeping a stone face. Heck, shout it out loud when you go on your next hike.

The career situation is an F’n mess! You can’t find your fit in what you’re trying to do – and that’s OK, too. Work and learn and then you’ll be prepared to run your own show. You can’t see it now but your life is going to be so fun and amazing when you branch out on your own. You’ll see.

Don’t worry about doing the right thing or having the perfect plan. Whatever you commit to will be great and just right for you. It’s OK to change your mind and change it often if you want. Do what feels good.

Stop telling yourself that you’re having one child. You want two, but three might be pushing it. You’ll figure out how to keep the train on the right track for you. You’ll figure out how to support your husband’s growing career, his travel schedule, and raise happy children without loosing your mind. Tap into your unconventional creativity – the answers are there.

You and your mother-in-law are going to change the world and start a movement. You two will have people thinking about opting into a multigenerational lifestyle so they can co-create the life they want and need.  That’s what smart women do.

You will help people understand the importance of healthy in-law dynamics and maybe even become the mother-in-law whisperer – or something cool like that.

Enjoy the ride and stay in the moment. You are going to shake things up and have a blast doing it. And…when the second baby comes, you will loose the baby weight.



What message would you relay to your younger self?