Overnight.

****Trigger Alert****Don’t read if you are already feeling sentimental. 

Several years ago I purchased a reclaimed piece of barn post at The Randolph Street Marketplace. I knew I wanted to use it in our entryway to hang coats. It is truly stunning. But, for a family of 6 it really wasn’t big enough for all of our coats. It was constantly overflowing. Much less when kids had friends over….the shoes, the coats were just hanging precariously. It was so bad, that I kept my coats in my closet, in order to sort of make room for everyone else. Form vs Function. And, I chose Form! I wish I had a picture from all the years of chaos at our entryway. 

Overnight our overflowing chaos turned to what you can see below. Order.

Overnight we became empty nesters. Overnight we went from a family of 6 in and out of the house to 2. 

For 25+ years I have had anywhere from 1-4 kids at home. Saturday at 3am we officially became empty nesters. For 18 years it was just me and my #babygirl. Then it was 3 kids for several years. Then 2. Then 1. As each moves out I close their bedroom door, as it saddens me to think someone might be in there. If the doors are open my heart skips a beat as I expect to hear music bumping out of them, or to see someone brooding, or waiting for silliness, or friends spilling out of their rooms.

As of this 3 am Saturday, I have 4 closed bedroom doors. 

If my beautiful master bathroom wasn’t upstairs I would just want to shut the whole upstairs off and live downstairs, as it just breaks my heart. 

This year has just been WOW. Right? Just WOW. The first 6 months were challenging. Worry and anxiety were all I knew. Our businesses shuttered over night. But, I felt as long as we are together and all healthy, everything else would be ok. The past 6 months however, have been the most difficult. At the beginning of December we lost my step father to Covid. My mom has had to handle all of this alone in Vermont, as it was not safe for us to be around her. My daughter lives in Austin, TX and they are coming out of literal darkness with no roads due to ice, no power and no water. And just now, the youngest has moved out to be ready for College and live with his mom, as she lives in Colorado, where his College is. I can see the positive in that we would have “lost” him this past August if the world had not imploded, so we got “lucky” with that. 

How is that I have lived here in Chicago for over 7 years? How is that we are empty nesters? How is that we are now in a whole other category of life? How is that it has been a year since I have done anything? How is it that my life cycle is on the “other side”? And my next life event will be that of planning my daughters wedding? (Not yet, but probably sooner rather than later?) 

Incredible. I just wish to have a moment back. A moment with my baby girl. An ordinary moment in our old house. A fun moment when we were exploring somewhere new. A moment when all she talked about was horses. A moment. 

A moment when I moved here and we were all sitting around the dinner table and someone was super irritating. A family vacation where we simultaneously loved and disliked each other! A moment when I would make dinner for 4 and no one would end up coming home. Or, a moment when I cooked dinner for 4 and we had 7 at the table! A moment when my face was fuller and my hair curly. When my first description of myself was that of a mother,/step mother, as if there was nothing else that I could possibly ever be.

School dances. Sports. Ice bucket challenges. Thanksgiving dinners. Messes everywhere. Our traditional Christmas Eve and NYE dinners. 

I am reminded of all of the times people say to someone younger, or just in a different phase of life….”time flies”, “don’t blink”, “cherish your time”….and right about now I want to scream that out loud to our 4 kids. Live your dreams. Live a wonderful life. A good life. A true life. Make your life as big and wonderful as you can. As it will pass so very quickly.And in a blink of an eye you too will be an empty nester.

So, now what? I have allowed myself to cry. A lot over the past few days. It is so odd to watch our people grow and mature and take on the world. To watch their worlds unfold and become larger, as ours slowly start to diminish. 

I am feeling the need to take a breathe. To allow myself to feel all of this. To wonder who I want to be now. Who we want to be as a couple. Where our careers need to go. The conversations have already begun as to what now?

I can not be 100% sure of where we will land. What the next phase is going to look like. 

I know this season might not look like what we thought.

But, no matter the season you are in, no it too will pass. The good and the bad. Treasure each season and learn from them. Give a hand up to those coming on your heels.

For myself, I do know that I want to empower myself. I want to feel joy. I know I want to soar majestically. More than that, I know I want to share joy for life and to energize others. I know I want to empower myself and those around me. And even those I have yet to meet.

What season are you in? I look forward to hearing from all of you, and having you share what it is that you want for this next season of your life. And how do you plan on executing these visions?

If you know me, you know I love me some Michael Franti and Spearhead. And, often, when I am feeling low. When I am ready for my next leap, ready to soar… these lyrics dance through my head. I hope these words help you a bit too.

“So we can love deeper

Fly higher

See clearer

Burn brighter

Feel more than we ever did before

Yeah we can swim oceans

Climb mountains

Dance like nobody’s watching

Live life like we never did before

And through the highs and lows”

I want us to all to fly higher. See clearer. Burn brighter. Feel more than we ever did before….through the highs and lows.

Much love all!

Allison

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