Our lawn is dead, the weeds are thriving. The house isn’t just messy, but grimy, dusty, disorganized on every level.

But OH MY we’ve had a fun summer.

Swimming, hiking, cookouts, two trips, a homecoming, a farewell and so many family dinners on the back patio where we laughed until our sides hurt (and Gabe snorted milk out his nose).

A few days ago I looked at our dead lawn as fair payment for our golden summer. Now we’ve dropped off Xander at the Missionary Training Center in Provo and it just seems sad.

There’s so much around here to clean and dust and organize, so many weeds to pull, roses to deadhead, errands to do. School starts Monday and we’re arranging lessons, gathering supplies, running errands. Within minutes of Xander’s drop-off my inbox filled with requests from various people asking “Can you do this this and this for me?”

And I have no energy.

All I want to do is sleep and cry and mourn the end of an era.

Because while there’s much to celebrate about a child serving a mission, it’s also a loss, a profound change in a family, a sort of death of the-way-things-were. And I really loved the-way-things-were.

I can’t even talk about how much we miss him.

People seem to think they are funny when they say things like, “You’re practically an empty nester!” and “What are you going to do with yourself now?”

Do they say things like that to other people with a 13 and 15-year-old at home? I have friends who are still having babies. Miracle babies, but still. I wish people would stop acting like I’m a geriatric.

And while Gabe and Mary (and my other children who have not evaporated into thin air) still need a lot of attention, I AM TERRIFIED about what comes next. I’ve lost all faith in my writing abilities. It will take me weeks to catch up on my inbox and goodness, I can’t even fathom how I’ll  get the house and yard back in shape (let alone make a real trip to the grocery store).

And yet…

Hans, Gabe and Mary are washing the dishes, sweeping the floor.

Every hour or two, my phone beeps or the doorbell rings with a kind message from one of my friends…chocolate, Kleenex, handwritten notes.

And while my overwrought emotions insist (illogically, I know) that everything good is behind us, I see traces of green in our dead lawn, sparks of light in the night sky and the insistent heartbeat of life moving forward.

August 16, 2017
August 26, 2017



  1. Danielle

    August 21, 2017

    I understand. I really am going to be an empty nester by next week. I’m not sure how I will handle it. People ask me all the time if I’m getting prepared for it. I don’t know how to answer. How DO I prepare for it? I get asked if I’m sad. Kind of …but I’m so excited for my kids to have these wonderful experiences that I had when I was young that I’ve mostly just focused on that. I have two children. My daughter returned from her Mandarin speaking mission the same day Xander went into the MTC. My son just graduated from high school and will be attending BYU for a year before going on his mission. My daughter is also heading back to BYU. (We live in Arizona) I think if my son would have gone on a mission this summer it would have been harder on me so I’m glad he decided to go to college for a year first. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in your feelings. 🙂

  2. Sarah

    August 26, 2017

    It seems that no matter how much we know and anticipate change in our families, the reality of it still offers a surprising blow. My oldest just started first grade and while I know I still have much time at home to relish with her, part of me feels like her childhood just ended in one fell swoop! Each season is sweet and challenging, and endings are always hard. Sending lots of love.

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