chronicle of an empty nest foretold

Off they went, both my little people, for a week. A week of Irish dancing and carrying on with others from different parts of Europe, in Poland. Parents and grandparents scoured social media for updates from the festival or dancers. It’s entirely possible that one of us actually waved with excitement at a screen on seeing a pic with daughters in it. (Technology, eh?)

pier jumping not dancing

And back in Belfast we looked at each other, and around us, a bit like meerkats. Is this what the rest of the world is like? What do people do with their days?

We had adventures, doing things we don’t normally get a chance to do. There were cocktails, afternoon tea and a fancy lunch or two. We explored Parliament buildings, listened to music in a pub, and went to a different beach. We watched a box set, read multiple novels and had boring financial conversations with someone who understands these things. The house stayed tidy. There were no random explosions of energy or noise. No complex taxi arrangements negotiated with known unknowns via snap chat. No daytime TV. All was calm. Ordered.

We’ve had fun, of course. But yet…

Half of us are missing. Jake keeps having a sniff about to figure out where they’ve gone. We haven’t laughed as much. I remember now that watching soap operas is meant to be a social activity. My arms have ached with the empty. I didn’t start counting down the days until they were half way through; now I’m at hours. They’re coming home today, and I’m very excited.

A week, people. It’s only a week. They’ll be grown up in the blink of an eye, and we’ll all be laughing at my excitement of today.

This evening chaos, noise, squabbling and laundry return in full force. My arms and my heart will be overflowing.

(Expect the next post to be grumbling about chaos, noise, squabbling, laundry and teenage attitude.)

#2 Challenges

We all face challenges in life, we all juggle our own things. Health, money, family, jobs, or the lack of those, all impact on how we go about our everyday. Sometimes we muddle along fine, sometimes we struggle. I can get overwhelmed, and practically paralysed by anxiety at times. I ignore the issue until I have enough mental energy to deal with it- isn’t denial an interesting thing? Not always useful, I’ll admit, but often underrated.

Dealing with challenge is beautifully considered in the wonderful book We’re going on a Bear Hunt- “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, Oh no! We’ve got to go through it.”


What can help in getting through?


hearts minds

Reach out, connect, get help, offer help.

Being open about vulnerability- that may be the biggest challenge of all.




day 2 of Helen’s 3 days 3quotes blogging challenge

#1 reminders

I want to write, to share, to learn. To laugh more than to moan. To connect. But, in recent months I’ve been doing the typical ME thing of boom & bust- busy or too exhausted to think, never mind do. (It’s a common problem for anyone living with fatigue- we get so excited to have a wee bit of energy we do all the things while we can, and then take ages to recover. We need to pace ourselves. I’m good at that when I’ve not much on. Pass an interesting opportunity across my horizon, and all thoughts of pacing vanish. I get caught up in the fun and the challenge and forget that I’m meant to be conserving limited energy.)

I’m trying to post more regularly, to get back in the habit of taking time to reflect. In a few weeks the school routine will be in full swing and I’ll have all the space I need. Expect posts about the empty house and all that means…

In the meantime, I’m accepting Helen’s blog challenge: 3 days 3 quotes. The challenge is in limiting myself to 3 quotations- my pinterest quotation board has hundreds of images which have made me pause, smile or sniffle.


air mountains

plan b

Bloggy buddies, these are the reminders I need to take time to celebrate, to breathe in the world, and to just get on with things. What works for you?