Whimsical World of Grown-Up Coloring

Something wonderful is about to happen in my family.  It’s not a wedding or a baby or a career move – it’s a book. A year ago Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest was published – my story  about my four kids launch into the wide, wide world and my transition from a mom that ran a household –  to someone who was nervously helping her children get their bearings during this next stage of parenting. Now I’ve had the honour to work with my oldest daughter as she makes a dream of her’s a reality. Her truly lovely adult colouring book, Alice in the Womb, will be published this month.

_25A0448My daughter, Shea, (Zoë in Text Me, Love Mom) is an artist and mother or two little girls. She studied at Emily Carr and then received a MFA from the University of British Columbia.  When she learned she was pregnant with her first baby she found comfort and relaxation in creating fine pen and ink drawings of the transformation of that odyssey of egg to tiny baby.  These  are a series of accurately drawn images of the development and wonders of growing life, but are surrounded by a whimsical fantasy world of flora and fauna, birds and bees, and butterflies.  Shea always intended this wonderful palette of drawings to be published as a fine art book for women to discover page by page, and curiously suggested that some of her audience might like to colour them in with any variety of crayons, pencils or brushes adding brilliant or muted colour to this dreamlike collection.


Neither of us imagined that thousands of people would have  discovered the calming and creative world of adult colouring as her first beautiful book is about to be released.  Her younger sister, Rose, (our Lily in Text Me, Love Mom) just did an elaborate photo shoot of the artist, her studio and her little daughters so that Shea can now invite an audience of colourists to sign up for preorders of Alice in the Womb._25A0132

If you would like to preorder copies of Alice in the Womb (it will be approximately $18 CAN and it is perfect for colourists, art book collectors, new mothers or shower gifts) private message Shea your email at https://www.facebook.com/sheaproulxartbooks .  All photos by Midnight Train Photography.

Them’s the Breaks – Re: Wall Street Texting Interview

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.”
– Arthur Miller 

Well, I said that if Sue Shellenbarger didn’t cover all the tips I gave her about texting to your adult kids that I would post them here.  And it turns out that indeed, I must. Shellenbarger wrote me a very kind email apologizing because her editors at The Wall Street Journal decided that they wanted her ‘Work and Family’ column today to focus on parents texting to the teens that they live with, sometimes while they are together in the same house, in fact even the same room.  So, though she read my book Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest (available on Amazon), she was unable to cover any of the advice and idiosyncrasies I discussed with her in a half hour interview that I prepared for by chatting with my four twenty-something children about texting with parents.  Zoë, Cole, Hudson and Lily gave me tips both practical and slightly challenging, but all sensible.

 My twenty-seven year-old son, Hudson, said that the ethnography of the millennials is such that texting has become its own language.  He says people will text yeah, or nope because yes, or no sound abrasive and formal in text. Growing up in the culture, it becomes second nature to understand the unwritten rules of text, but as boomers we sometimes behave like Jane Goodall.  He is right.  I still find some of us boomers texting as if we’re engaged in old-school letter writing, instead of going back and forth with messages like the younger set do. My oldest son, Cole, has often advised, “Mom, you can’t send too many texts and they can’t be too long, keep them direct and I’ll get back to you asap.”

real letters

What I’ve realized myself though, is that texting is different for each gender.  My two daughters will engage in longer text messages quite happily, though both Zoë  and Lily agree that with texting being so prevalent phone calls are reserved for their closest friends or family members because calls now seem so intimate.

I’ve learned from communicating via text with my kids that being negative gets me nowhere.  As my kids (and I) mature that’s been a positive lesson, of course. Instead of starting with the demanding, Hey, how come blah, blah, blah?… I’ll turn my text around to a positive request.

When all four of our kids were still at home, ours was a noisy, active household, now when it’s quiet and I’m missing that, I’ll send out a text to each one and wait for those little ding-dings of communication back.  It lets me imagine them in their world for a minute. We all know that it can be annoying to be with a friend or family member who is texting away to someone else, and to them I think – love the ones you’re with, but with a few text lessons from millennials we can communicate better with the ones we love.IMG_0426

Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal On Texting My Kids!

Texting, text, text, text. Text, text, text. Texting. It’s what we see all around us.  We are all staring down at our phones. Aliens spying from the heavens would believe it is the way us humans choose to communicate.  Sitting in a restaurant recently, gabbing away with a big group of family, we observed two young women sitting opposite each other in a booth waiting for their meals, but not looking at each other, just  texting, texting, texting.  One of the teens in our party suggested that they might be texting each other.


I titled my book about the years my kids were departing home and all the transitions and escapades and sometimes strange and frightening times – Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest (available from Amazon).  It’s doubtful as I first started typing  away in my little office –  looking out over a snowy back yard, and then fresh buds of spring turning to leafy summer foliage, followed by autumn leaves scattering across the yard, and so it went round and round the years – that I could possibly have imagined how much even I would text.  Text, text, text. Text, text.

My pace was slow walking along Vancouver’ False Creek Seawall while texting my eldest daughter back in my home city. Walking and texting – one of those things you say you won’t do, but you do. The ding of an old-school style email interrupted the trill of another text.  The email was from Sue Shellenbarger, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal and the author of their ‘Work & Family’ column. Shellenburger was asking if she could interview me about how parents and children communicate via text.  Wow, could she ever.  It’s a hot topic that I am known to go on about a bit too much, even as I continue to evolve my texting style with my twenty-something kids.  I’d tell her how the guys text differently than the girls, how my peers text differently than young people and that my sons have actually given me direction on how to illicit responses from them.

Nervous about being interviewed, in the next forty-eight hours I met up with or called, and yes texted, Zoë, Cole, Hudson and Lily. It was fun, and again educational to chat purposefully with my kids about texting.  I took copious notes and referred back to my own book. Shellenbarger was a calm and reassuring interviewer.  We had a long and engaging conversation.  I don’t know how that will translate to what appears in her Sept. 9th column in The Wall Street Journal.  It’s always curious to see how an interview is interpreted into a column.  I’ll share a link to it in a blog post next week, and if she doesn’t cover all my tips on texting with adult kids I’ll share those, too.tmlm with backpack

Vancouver, Canada’s most splendid west coast city has had a dry, hot summer. We were there to see our son Hudson’s film, Faith, win the  Audience Choice Award in a student film festival.  The weather turned the next day and the rains beat down as I drove to our cottage in B.C’s interior on the shore of Shuswap lake. Yesterday the clouds hung low, with rays of sun dappling the still green leaves only intermittently.  There was a melancholy mood to the day as I prepared for my upcoming departure to our Calgary home, stacking lawn chairs, scooping water out of the paddle boat before covering it for winter, bringing in a geranium too beautiful to be ravished by fall storms.  Yet, during all that I was involved in text conversations with all four of my kids. That isn’t a common occurrence anymore.  Days and days can go by without me communicating with some of them.  (The boys anyways.) They all had something novel come up and were sharing it with me; exciting, frustrating, a new challenge.  Each kid’s texting was representative of their personality, from fervent and fast-paced to calm and sporadic. kayak with feet

Today is different.  They’ve all gone back to their other tasks. It’s my sister and a friend whose texts trill to me this morning. The lake is calm. The sun is out. I vow to leave my phone in the house and go out in the kayak to paddle and wonder what Sue Shellenbarger will make of our conversation about text, text, texting in her ‘Work and Family’ column in The Wall Street Journal next week.  Stay tuned.

From Baby Bottles To Coffee Cups – It’s Show Time

My four kids, who so patiently let me write and share, and even blog about the exploits of their leaving home and first forays into the wide, wide world are all artists of one sort or another.  Were my children scientists or psychologists or even just shy – they might not have been as calm about their mother using their experiences as artistic fodder.  But they ‘get’ it– ie. art imitating life and vice versa, though of course there were a few  “No Mom, better leave that out” warnings to heed.


I promised them pseudonyms and most approved of their nom de plume.  So Zoë, the eldest, is an artist. Cole, her brother, is a film producer. Hudson, the next brother, is a writer, and our Lily is a photographer.  With my book Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest  just out on book shelves and available on-line our number one marketing and idea man, Shawn MacDonell at CreatiVision  (www.creativision.ca/ ) suggested I put the four of them to work creating a fun series of short, short promotional videos.  Only Zoë was living near her dad and I, so I had to convince the other three to squish creating my mini-productions into our short together time at Christmas.  Hudson approved the scripts, Cole directed his distracted siblings and fit post-production editing into a frantic schedule.  Zoë and Lily created the on-line posters and photos.  It was a blast.

kids in italy sitting-1Of course, none of us are actors and all of us, including their dad and our wee granddaughters have starring roles in the videos.  You can be the judge of whether we make up for talent with moxie – because as that time of year approaches where moms and dads are getting jittery about letting sons and daughters drive away with packed cars and first care packages, or fly to places further afield leaving parents in airports recalling being left in hallways as kindergarten doors closed and new stages of family life evolved, I’d like to share our three videos:

Click for video #1 Out The Door  http://t.co/jsRZFW2IHN 

Click her for video #2 The Internet is My Mom  https://t.co/ckH2qgNv2U

Click here for video #4 It Should Have Gotten Easier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRqo18QaHIw

Text Me, Love Mom – it is a feel better book!

A Different Kind of September with Hugs To Last Until Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again – when the first cool August night makes us think of  September and autumn plans and all the changes that time of year brings. On December 31st we party long and celebrate a new year, but I’ve always felt that more new beginnings take place in the first crisp days of autumn – vacations end, summer jobs draw to a close, cottages are deserted, pencils sharpened and smart outfits bought for children to greet new teachers and classmates.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When it wasn’t new teachers, but rather professors, and the classrooms were at universities far across the country, and the biggest change was that another of my four kids was flying off with belongings packed and rooms left oddly clean, Septembers brought a pang to my heart.  But there were days heady with adventure, and new cities to find the very best sushi and pizza shops in, and funny stories to be texted and copied and pasted to each other.IMG_4192

When my youngest, Lily, did an exchange in her third year to the University of San Francisco State I flew down with her to help with the move into her apartment and kick around that city for a week.  I was there to calm her on the first day when she had to start classes with red spots over her fresh face.  We were never sure if they were mosquito bites from a broken screen or hives from nerves. The fire station down the road from her place had a drop box for unwanted babies and I told my baby to go there if she needed help.   How could they refuse her?

Lily is a bold girl and was anxious to explore  Haight Ashbury and skateboard through Golden Gate Park on her own.  But on a particular Sunday she called home in tears to say that her  phone was missing and with it the numbers of new contacts and friends.  I told her that her friends would catch up with her.  “No Mom,” she told me through her tears, “I’m the new one here.  I still had to be the one to contact them.  I feel so lonely again.”  Afterward she  had some sad days, but she made it through them. This year’s students new to college will all make it through – not necessarily by finishing a school year – some of my four had false starts.  Still, I understand the September mood that will come over  family homes as kids set off on grand new journeys and moms and dads and younger siblings adjust to not having that one kid there – coming in late, messing up the kitchen, misplacing car keys, drinking the last of the milk – and how, oh how that will be missed.  IMG_3675

Try out Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest  – the story of Zoë, Cole, Hudson and Lily leaving home – it is a feel better book.  Recommend it to a mom you know, or dad, sister, auntie …  It’s at http://www.amazon.com/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712 .

The Secret of Staying Married …..

– To read Text Me, Love Mom – the book go to  http://www.amazon.com/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712  –

Nearly 60 years have passed between the quiet Friday night wedding service in 1955 in King City, Ontario uniting my in-laws and the boisterous three day celebration on Shuswap lake B.C. for their diamond anniversary. If fresh faced Bill and Norma, at just 20 years of age could have peered ahead through those six decades would they ever have imagined the four kids and their spouses, thirteen grand-kids with girlfriends and boyfriends, and a grand-son-in-law and the two adorable great-granddaughters?


Their long marriage was celebrated from midday until the round moon rose high in the sky over three hot August days. The sun shone gloriously. The moonlight was brilliant.anniversary cake (2)

We swam, we floated, we boated, the athletic wake-boarded, the musical raised their voices in song.bango

A raucous cribbage tournament united us. The anniversary couple told stories, siblings reconnected and cousins shared on the dock in the starlight.


Feasts were made and devoured, voices rang out, the little ones danced and twirled, and we laughed and laughed and laughed long into the night. Thank you Norma and Bill for that wedding night in 1955 and for showing us your journey of love.  XO  lucy sleeping on beachchair

Summer Blogs – Short and Sweet – like the season

mom and rose

My summer blogs are going to be short and sweet – like summer itself. Summer passes by all too swiftly – it’s only fifty-five or so days until a new generation of moms and dads will be giving their eighteen-year-old kids a hug good-bye that is supposed to last until Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s a kid that’s been trying your patience staying out all night because of a melancholy summer romance, or just hanging out with friends they’ve had since grade school.  A kid who is supposed to be a ‘young adult’ but perhaps needs to be reminded to shower sometimes, or find their bedroom floor, or hasn’t exactly floored you with their organizational skills – due of course, to that still developing frontal lobe excuse.

I’ve been there. Dreading a September that won’t involve getting back to the usual routine but instead will leave an emptiness in an otherwise busy house. A September that will involve wondering how often is the ‘okay’ amount to check in, instead of seeing my daughter come in the back gate after school still reading a book while she walked along.


They left in other ways, too. My son went of to be a lift operator on a ski hill six hundred miles away. He had cell service at the tip top of the mountain and would call in the early morning – probably the time of day he felt loneliest. But that same son went to film school years later and helped me direct my very own short, short video about that crazy, early time of learning a new way of being a family.  The video goes along with the story that those changing times led me to tell with my book, Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest.(available on Amazon). Share the video with those moms and dads, sisters or aunts that you know that are going to have a different sort of September. It’ll make them smile.



Summer Cottaging Above The Forty-Ninth Parallel

Ah June – summer finally, in the place we live, where for a brief time we are tricked into forgetting how far north our ancestors managed to settle – up here above the forty-ninth parallel. I love summer, the exquisite season of heat, long days, sweet flowers, and travel back and forth to the briefly warm lake.

My lofty goal is always to stay at our lakeside cottage for longer and longer stretches every year. A dear friend reminisces fondly of how, as a kid on the last day of school her mom would have the station wagon ready, and then would ceremoniously draw the curtains on the city living room for the summer, before they all piled into the car for two long months at the lake. I long to be of that ilk but am unable to achieve it – always called back to the city for a worthy occasion.

And so I make these epic drives – our cottage isn’t an easy two or three hours away – no, we built our retreat a seven hour drive for my husband, but what stretches to a crazy ten or eleven hour journey if I am doing it on my own.  We’ll gather on the edge of the truly mighty Shuswap Lake (889 miles of shoreline) this July long weekend.

boys dive Three of our four kids will packed rushed bags and join us from different directions to barbecue, boat, debate musical tastes, and laugh late into the warm night, with sticky smores on our finger tips (okay, my finger tips). There’ll be other weekends packed with family or close friends, and after one full of farmer’s markets, bear sightings and cool swims, I’ll choose to drive back to the city. No matter how early my jump into the lake is – the one to refresh me for the epic trip home – by the time I’ve tied up the kayak and canoe, watered the thirsty geraniums, gathered up errant towels and bathing suits, taken the whip cream and sausage that would go smelly from the fridge, pulled the blinds and found the car keys under a hat – noon will be ticking in. My first stop is for a latte over ice and those super healthy cookies to take for the road at my favourite, EcoTreats in Scotch Creek.

fruit in car Time travelled from the cottage – twenty minutes. Okay – get moving. Next stop – absolutely favourite fruit stand for juicy cherries or early peaches that I’m convinced are tastier than any to be found in the entire city back home – time travelled – another hour and a half. Concentrate now – third required break is from boredom of driving – so the town of Revelstoke.IMG_3233

I’ll wind my way into town and here I get out and move around, usually walking and talking to whoever I catch on the phone, circling the Alpine style streets of tall homes and flowery yards before I find one of several bakery cafes for another iced coffee drink and something gooey and sweet to help me with the longest stretch over the
Roger’s pass and over the Rocky Mountains. During this hour and a half of high mountain driving with no services, I tell myself, for the zillionth time, to pretend I’ve never seen it before and so to pass the time being spellbound by the epic beauty – but I have seen it and seen it and seen it – so when that part of the drive is over I am so ready to ease the car to a stop in Golden, B.C. Golden of the amazing wooden bridge and the last
B.C. fruit stand. By this time the fruit that I’ve already bought hours back smells ripe and succulent in the car, but I pack in more – some green pears, some tart apples and a medium sized watermelon.golden bridge

My good husband is calling now, reaching me in this slice of cell service, never understanding how I cannot be home already. I push on, strict with myself now and contemplating a five hour energy drink for what is still a three hour drive. The little plastic pink bottle makes me feel awake just by looking at its magical capabilities all sealed shut in the cup holder. I manage to make it down through the mountains, past Field and Lake Louise, even Banff, but stop at Canmore just have to use the Tim Horton’s washroom and I don’t even want the six mini donuts that I reason can help the teeny bit of travel I have left to go zipping by. Oh, and I wash those down with an Ice Cap, calling my honey to tell him -that I don’t understand it either. Perhaps, I’m lifted up by aliens somewhere along the route, who are after my bounty of fruit and the secrets of relishing a short summer, and then deposited down on the highway again. I mean really, how could it take me twelve hours to do this cross country bountiful escapade?

(To read Text Me, Love Mom – the book about the hectic chaos of four kids being launched into the wide, wide world – during that next stage of parenting, click on the following links: Link to Amazon.ca http://www.amazon.ca/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712

Link to Amazon.com  http://www.amazon.com/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712 )

IMG_4608fruit in tent

Teenage Sympathizer

Hey, I have so many mom friends and relatives who have a son or daughter graduating high school this June.  I love all that buzz of buying ‘that dress’ or do you rent or buy the son a suit? – and banquet tickets, famous commencement speeches, and then the after party and after, after party … It makes me think about the chapter I wrote in Text Me, Love Mom about the first time our family spun our way through all that…

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.

– Hesiod, Eighth Century BC

One Wednesday late in June, my husband,Will, arrived home and politely inquired as to why so many of our daughter Zoë’s friends were gathered in our backyard again. He had yet to notice that the boys were in their boxers. Forever a teenage sympathizer, I handed him the ice for his drink and said calmly, “Some of them just wrote their last exam. I think they’re feeling celebratory. Let them be.”

“Will there be another party when the rest of them write their last exam?”

“Seriously, Dad, this isn’t a party,” Zoë told him, wrapping a towel around her bikini-clad body. “It’s just a few of my friends celebrating a bit.”

Zoë’s a good kid. If it were a party, she would certainly have let us know. Eight kids having a water fight, with the boys in boxers and the ones of age knocking back a few beers, followed by a session of whipping up nachos in the oven accompanied by rap music, was definitely not a party.

Just then, two of the more manly looking boys skidded by the kitchen window in their boxers and socks. As Zoë’s dad leapt out the deck door to grab them — not that there was much to grab them by — I became a full blown supporter of their… youthful charm. “Come on. Come on. They just finished high school. Twelve years. Of course, they’re giddy.” Zoe’s much younger sister, Lily, and her friend, Heidi, waved at Will from their post in our dilapidated tree house. The younger girls looked entertained, as if they had balcony seats to a reality TV show.

Will waved back at Lily and Heidi but yelled at the others to get dressed or all thunder would break loose. They might have been unfamiliar with that expression, but the guys rushed back into their jeans. Will stepped back inside to demand further explanation. “Wasn’t there a party for this already?” he asked Zoë. He turned to me. “Didn’t they call it graduation? Wasn’t that the night we spent a zillion bucks dressing Zoë up so she could sit at a banquet for two hours, have three dances, and then change back into her street clothes in a washroom cubicle like a superhero, before vanishing for the real celebration out of our sight? Furthermore, wasn’t there a party here three days later, after we watched five hundred of them march across the stage?” His excitement was elevating to match theirs. “And what the heck was last Friday? Wasn’t there a whole lot of teens in a celebratory mood here then, too?”


“Oh, Dad, that was the last day of classes. Cole’s friends were here, too.”

Will pointed to a tall boy from four doors up the road. “Cole’s friends are here now, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Dad, you can’t count Jacob,” Zoë said. Jacob, our son Cole’s closest friend, was now helping to distribute the nachos. He was almost a member of our family, but then that was true of our younger son, Hudson’s pals, Robin and Mark, from around the block, and Lily’s entourage of blonde twelve-year-olds — Heidi and Charlotte, who were Jacob and Robin’s sisters, and Mattie from across the street. This was a popular strategy with our four kids — pointing out that the number of friends that each of them has over isn’t that out of line — say two or three a piece — resulting in Friday nights with a dozen or more kids sprawling about the house.

“That was the last day of classes,” Zoë explained again to her clueless father. “This is the last day of exams…” She lowered her voice and stuffed a nacho into her mouth, mumbling, “… at least for some people.” Zoë and a few others still had four more days before their last exam and then it would be their turn to be giddy and celebratory… and in their underwear.

“You see,” I said, “maybe this is the universe’s plan to help us let her go away to university in Vancouver. If they drive us insane over the summer, it will be easier to separate.” I choked on the s-word. I really did need to grow up. I needed to be a Shirley Partridge type of mom, hip but mature enough to set some rules, take back the stereo and put on some Fleetwood Mac instead of Bowling For Soup, and take her shopping for school supplies and a sensible raincoat. As a responsible mom, I would study tourist guides of Vancouver with her and teach her how to grocery shop for ripe melons and reasonable cuts of meat.


But I wasn’t ready for all that. There was something magical about the summer after high school. I felt more like Lorelai Gilmore, the mother-as-friend from television’s Gilmore Girls, than my generation’s sensible Shirley Partridge (though she was a singer in a pop band). The moods of the kids around us were contagious. At that point, we still had Zoë’s eighteenth birthday party to plan, as well as some sort of big family gathering before she officially went away. Forget the grocery shopping lessons, bring on the nachos, I thought, kicking off my Clarks so I could take a run through the sprinkler.

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There are people who love their empty nest.  I’m just not one of them.photo 9 I had my kids in a cluster. When our youngest daughter was born, my oldest daughter was five and a half, and she had a two-year-old and four-year-old brother – I’ve done the math and it doesn’t make much sense to me either.  So we had babies, and toddlers, and the easier years of grade school-ers it seems now (only now) and then Holy Cow Batman, a house brimming with teenagers – loud (or disturbingly quiet), emotional, angst-y, experimental, lovelorn, sneaky, wonderful adolescences – followed by, because they left in a cluster, too – quiet.  Just me and their dad, with all the varied interests we always had and time to pursue them, inside that quiet.  I didn’t like it one bit, and he wasn’t so crazy about it either.  We’re people-people and our people were gone.  We didn’t necessarily miss driving them places, or their taking our cars, I couldn’t honestly say I missed cooking for them and grocery shopping for them – I mean, seriously, that was a ton of work and my cooking got less creative, not more, over the two decades, while the kids all swung towards that annoying health conscious fare.

No, I just liked them moving around the house, someone to shout out to from my office to the kitchen table. When their dad worked long hours there was always someone to meet me on a patio (free food – why wouldn’t they?). Their dad actually was happy when they’d come in late and tell him the movie he was watching sucked and they’d find something together to stay up to.

So maybe I’m making some of you sad, those that aren’t too excited about the empty nest either. But don’t be too sad because they come back.  Honestly, they do.  I remember being so forlorn when our youngest left us to all that quiet.  I mean, who’d know I’d miss being jarred awake to cars pulling up outside, and shouts of good-bye over even louder music. I was expressing my dislike of our uncomfortable new quiet to a neighbor woman, about fifteen years my senior, and she told me, You should enjoy the break, they’ll return for this or that reason.  Believe me, she said, they do that.

Well, she didn’t know my kids, I told her. My eldest was living with her boyfriend in another city. The second eldest was determined to be part of the film industry and there wasn’t enough of that work here, third child would be most determined to not move back home and the baby, who’d just left for university had been exploring new cities since a high school exchange to Italy. That ship had sailed – it was their dad and I, and grilled cheese sandwiches from there on in.  That wise neighbor gave me this little half smile that said, who cares about all that, kids come back.cropped-cropped-cropped-better-nest.jpg

Some days I feel like that Million Little Pieces guy.  I published this book, Text Me, Love Mom, Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest and guess what? The nest was empty, and (be still my beating heart) it will be empty again tomorrow morning, but it’s not empty now and over the last few years they’ve ALL had cause to return.  In the book, I was writing about the chaos of it all, the challenges of iparenting from far away, and the turmoil of our family getting its bearings again.  But over the years all our kids have needed a short term place to perch between; a job, a relationship, a school program or a decision. Usually just one of them at a time, never more than two.   Thank goodness the place to land – was home.

Both boys have made separate sojourns home for a few months to refuel, work, or wait for the next film project to pick up.  I’d go to the gym with them after having let that lapse, and we’d work out in our own corners. My oldest son would cook me the best eggs, eating his standing at the counter – I don’t know why.  The youngest son loves breakfast out.  Breakfast isn’t really my thing, but he’s a funny guy (when he’s not a serious guy) and the conversation was worth it.

The daughter that is all of their big sister, married her boyfriend and moved back to our city with their two small daughters and while house hunting they ALL moved in for three fun months of early mornings, an amusing messy toddler, a baby to snuggle, and all the glorious chaos of that.  Finally, a  year ago, when the house was too quiet again after all of that commotion,  our youngest returned from living in Montreal and then LA for a short time, to work and establish a photography business here,  but tomorrow morning she will drive off again with a packed car and an adventurous spirit and that chapter will close, too.

She humored her dad and I with a long walk on Sunday, though so tired from a late night with friends. This past week I’ve anxiously treated her to lunch out, and a bit of shopping.  But really new summer blouses and lunches on patios in the late spring sunshine are only ways of lingering with this person I will miss.  We will text and talk.  We always do.  But I’ll miss waking in the night to her coming in, I’ll miss  that she liked to buy the groceries for me –  it was like having a mom here instead of being the mom, I’ll miss her newly blossoming green thumb, I’ll miss her telling me, Mom, you look pretty.

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The neighbor was right.  They do come back and now she’s off again.  More than anything I will miss a ‘kid’ in the house to call out to from this little room where I write.

To read more about Lily and I – along with the chaos of four kids being launched into the wide, wide world – during that next stage of parenting, click on the following links:

Link to Amazon.ca  http://www.amazon.ca/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712

Link to Amazon.com  http://www.amazon.com/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712