Posted by: chlost | June 19, 2014

It’s just life

When it gets to be a long time in between posts, I find it difficult to figure out what I want to write. It’s now been quite a while since the last post. Which means that I have no idea what to type.

I guess that I will just see what happens if I let my fingers go and just put the letters on the screen.

We have had a lot of change around our place.

For the past 9 months or so, our son, daughter-in-law and their 3 little girls have been living with us. It was a busy, noisy, messy place. I will admit that I was beginning to be annoyed by some things. Not the kids. But my son and daughter-in-law seemed so depressed and tired that they would not clean up the dishes after a meal. The kids’ toys were everywhere. Clothing was strewn about, shoes in a jumble in the mudroom.

Believe me, I am no clean freak. But it was getting to be more than even I could stand. I know that they had virtually no money, yet we would see new things coming into the house. My daughter-in-law was working as a waitress and would often have cash tips. Craigslist was apparently therapeutic for her.

I know a bit about depression. All of the signs were there, and both of them seemed to be overwhelmed. Yet our roles were a bit fuzzy. They are adults. We tried to talk to them, but were often stonewalled. The kids were cared for, but it seemed that it was becoming just a chore for them.

I was relieved when they began seeing a couples counselor. There were many ups and downs. Each week it was something else, a rollercoaster of a crisis heading toward divorce, then a newfound focus for their relationship. I babysat and played with the girls as much as possible. My husband’s patience with the little girls is much less than mine. He would often become frustrated.

Suddenly, our daughter-in-law decided that she no longer wanted to be living here. I understand that. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to live with your in-laws (even if they are as perfect as Merle and me!) It was rather amazing to watch. She made up her mind, and suddenly they were in the process of moving. There were a few days where it was unclear if all of them would be moving or only she and the girls. Finally, with the help of their counselor, it seemed that they cleared the air and they were determined to stay together as a family. Then daughter-in-law’s mother was suddenly in the picture, and she offered them the free use of a small house that she owns in a very small town about 2 hours away. The plan was that the girls would finish the school year here and the next week they would move into that house in that small town, near daughter-in-law’s family.

And suddenly, our house is quiet.

No toys are on the floor, the stairway or the furniture.

There are no dirty dishes on the counter.

The bunkbeds are gone.

And only the dog greets me at the door when I get home rather than the running hugs of three little girls.

It’s been a long week.

This is going to take some adjustment. The empty nest syndrome- again. We went through this when all of our kids moved out, then again the previous time our son and his family lived with us, and now this time.

It isn’t any easier this time.

Just before they moved, Merle and I went to my nephew’s high school graduation. He lives in Virginia Beach with my brother-in-law. This is my sister’s only child. She passed away about 4 years ago. We took my 84 y/o mother, my oldest granddaughter, and met up with my other sister and her husband to drive half-way across the country. It was a two-day trip, two days visiting, and two days to come home.

I love road trips. I’d rather have a little more time at the destination, but overall, it is fun to be on the road. It was the first road trip for our granddaughter. At age 7, we thought she would be able to enjoy it. Everyone expected that we would have at least some meltdowns, some behavior issues, or some sort of fall out from sleep deprivation or boredom.

But she was awesome. We had a great time. She did not have any problems whatsoever. We gave her the portable GPS and she watched the little car icon on the screen as it moved across the country. She told us the directions as they came up on the screen. She gave us the travel time and mileage information. It was perfect for her. This was her first time staying in a hotel, and her first time at the ocean. My nephew played Mario Kart and Wii bowling with her. She loved it all.

I loved watching it all through her eyes. As she ran along the beach dodging the waves, squealing with delight, laughing and jumping up and down….I was nearly in tears myself.

Of course, we had to justify to her younger sisters that the reason that their older sister was able to go on the trip and they couldn’t, was that she was 7 years old. Now, when each of them reaches 7, we have promised that they can go on a road trip with us as well. The middle granddaughter who is now 5, has already decided that she wants to go to California to see the ocean. I’m not sure what that leaves for the 3 year-old’s trip. We’ve run out of oceans.

On our way home, we stopped at my mother’s birthplace, and where my sister’s remains are buried. My brother had made all of the arrangements for a marker, and it was just recently installed. My brother-in-law had never done anything with my sister’s ashes. He sent them to me, and my siblings and I made arrangements for the burial of her cremains there. My brother-in-law has never asked about it. We have volunteered information to him so that he knows about it, but he is not at all interested. I don’t think he could find this town. I am not sure he remembers the name of the town. My nephew has never asked about it. He is 18 years old now. He definitely does not know anything about the town. So I sent him an email with a photo of the marker, and just a little note about it.

He hasn’t responded.

And that makes me very sad.

As I watched him graduate, and as all of the photos were being taken, I began to cry. My sister had to be there in some sense. I could picture her standing at the side of my nephew with my brother-in-law on the other. She made it to all of my kids’ graduations, and I know that she would have been happy that my sister and I were there for her son. Not one person from my brother-in-law’s family was there. One of my sister’s best friends was there, along with his mother (who was also a good friend of my sister) along with our Midwestern contingent.

My sister-I am sure of it-is glad that we were there.

That long long road trip was worth it


There was the ocean!

Alex Grad 2014 Mark's 095

Alex Grad 2014 Mark's 119

Alex Grad 2014 Mark's 111

Life does go on.



  1. That is a lot to go through in a fairly short period of time. I’m sure you will soon adjust to your new state of ‘quiet.’ The road trip sounds fun… looks like she had a good time in the water! I remember road trips with my aunt and uncle as a kid… it was fun to go somewhere without parents. It always felt like they had more fun! (Didn’t even occur to us that my parents were so exhausted by us that there didn’t leave much room for ‘fun’ 🙂 )

  2. Life is full of ups and downs, isn’t it? Hopefully there are more ups. Here I thought you had just been lying around eating chocolates and watching soap operas all this time. I still owe you the nickel tour of the farm if you need another road trip.

  3. Wow. lots going on!

    Do you think your BIL and nephew are just too sad about it to want to go to the gravesite? People handle grief in such a wide variety of ways.

    • I hope that is it. But I think it is more likely likely just a lack of emotions overall. My bil is a retired military person who has always kept emotions in check. And we don’t anticipate a visit…just some curiosity as to where it is. I cannot imagine sending a spouse’s remains to someone else and not wanting to know where they are. But maybe that’s just me.

  4. That’s a lot to process in a short time. I’m glad you had the joy of the road trip, and more to come, to balance the scales.

    When I feel rather overwhelmed by commitments and responsibilities and envious of my sister’s calm and ordered life, I think to myself, which would I rather, to stand to one side and have an easy life or be in the thick of things with the ensuing rough and tumble. On the whole I think I prefer the latter path, but it would be lovely if the rough and tumble were just a little less bumpy!

    I hope the empty nest feeling passes soon and that you can still spend plenty of time with the girls.

  5. Great way to build memories. Glad you were able to take the granddaughter. As for oceans, the Pacific looks a whole lot different in Oregon than California so perhaps you can make two trips! Life with grandchildren is good. Enjoy these days.

  6. Been away for awhile, too. Glad you had an enjoyable road trip with your granddaughter to mix in with all the rest.

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