The Beauty of Space (Not the Star Wars Kind) and a Critique Special!

Me and my sweetheart at the very top of the Mitten’s UP in beautiful Copper Harbor.

A few weeks ago, after almost 20 years of first-day pictures, new backpacks, shiny, white sneakers and packing lunches, my husband I finally made it to the empty-nest club. To celebrate, we took our first extended trip without any kids or pets, and headed north to Michigan’s gorgeous and remote Upper Peninsula. It seemed like the perfect way to ease into our new roles- drop our daughters off at school, pick up the ferry across Lake Michigan and have an adventure. It was amazing. We talked, laughed, hiked, ate, rested and looked at each other without interruption for 5 whole days! “This empty-nest thing is a piece of cake,” we said. “We’ve got this!” And then we came home.

Yep, you guessed it. The other shoe fell sometime during the second evening of our newly-found, empty-nest bliss. I looked at my husband after our second or third episode of the West Wing and said, “What time is it?”

“Eight-thirty,” he answered.

“That early?” I responded.

“Yep,” he said.

“So this is how it’s going to be?” I questioned.

“I guess so,” he said.

I’m not sure if we both cried right then, or if a number of tears I shed over the next few minutes were enough for two, but there were waterworks a-plenty. It felt good to let it out after all the busyness of getting the girls supplied, packed up and delivered to school while at the same time preparing for our own trip. It was the end of a very long marathon that began the previous September with the last set of senior pictures, homecoming, etc. You know, all that “last time, last kid” stuff we do to send our babies off into the big college world. We trudged upstairs and went to bed, weary from weeping, while at the same time strangely refreshed.

It took me a while to get back into a routine, especially since a week later we made a trip south due to a loved one’s medical emergency. But after we got back home again, I fell into a groove, and it felt good. It was now time to take care of some long-neglected items on my to-do list, and one of those was my bulletin board.

Ever since I became a teacher (once upon a time), I’ve loved bulletin boards. So there’s always one in my kitchen where everyone can see it. It has a nice calendar and lots of room for whatever notes, business cards, receipts, etc. that I need to keep in a safe place. It’s been our family hub for a long time. So, I started removing every piece of paper thumbtacked to the cork. Everything I touched was outdated or no longer needed. I didn’t find anything important. Nothing. Zilch. When I finished, this is what was left:

The empty cork with lonely thumbtacks and a blank calendar almost made cry. . . almost. But before the floodgates opened, I realized something. That emptiness represented space in my life. Something I haven’t had much of since hearing those first amazing words, “It’s a boy!” Those were the absolute best years of my life. There’s nothing better than being a mom! But wow, that space, that cracked, well-used corkboard space looked hopeful somehow. What to do with it?

The temptation to fill it up to stop the loneliness came. . . and went! Are you kidding me? How about pausing, exhaling and letting God fill the space? Or not fill it! What an incredible feeling- to have space that didn’t need filling, just repurposing.

And of course I’m using my part of that space to write, and write and write some more. In the emptiness, creativity has flooded in (and I’m getting my paying work done too). I’m enjoying my quiet hours more than I ever thought I would. Oh, I still cry. And there are many evenings when I ask my husband, “Is it that early?” I mean hey, we’ve only been at this a few weeks. And thankfully, my kids are close enough to us that if the need for a cup of coffee with them becomes overwhelming we can get to them easily. But that space. Wow.

It’s been a week or so since I cleaned off the bulletin board, and it’s still empty. Even the calendar for October is empty (not the one I keep on my computer, but still). I think I’ll keep it that way a while longer. It’s a great reminder to cherish the space as a gift, rather than fill it with more things that don’t really matter.

Happy Writing!

And as a way of celebrating this new season, I’m running one of my famous BOGO Critique Specials. That’s right! Now through November 17th, purchase one picture book critique at the regular price and get a second critique absolutely free. Just click on the PGWRites Critiques tab above for more information. Looking forward to reading your stories in the coming weeks!

_________________________________________________

Sensibility- Life’s seasons can be challenging. Keeping a positive attitude and looking for the unique joys each one brings keeps us moving forward.

Sense- Find yourself with some unexpected space? Fill it with creative projects. They are the best kind of food for the soul!

_________________________________________________

Aside

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ann Finkelstein
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 18:17:18

    The empty nest is tough. When ours was new, a wise woman told me, “Roots and wings. Remember roots and wings.” We gave them a strong foundation and taught them how to fly.
    I used to listen to audiobooks whenever I did household chores just to fill the silence. I took on more volunteer work and started tutoring more. I try to spend more time with friends.
    It gets easier.

    Reply

    • Sensibility and Sense
      Oct 12, 2017 @ 18:37:38

      Thanks, Ann! It’s funny how we want them to grow up and have amazing lives, but that also means we have to let them go. Not fun but necessary. And you’re right, filling the space with people and things that mean the most to you makes the space feel less empty.

      Reply

  2. ingridboydston
    Oct 14, 2017 @ 19:13:57

    I’m knee deep in the last years phase. Thanks for sharing this that I might have perspective! Bless you!

    Reply

  3. ingridboydston
    Oct 14, 2017 @ 19:14:51

    “Last years of high school” phase..my 16 year old interrupted me…lol!

    Reply

  4. Heidi Sheffield
    Oct 16, 2017 @ 02:12:41

    So beautifully put, Patti. Here’s to welcoming that space.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Goodreads

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,625 other followers

Follow Sensibility and Sense on WordPress.com
The Winged Pen

It takes a flock to get a story aloft.

Angie Karcher

Writing Children's Books

Marirose Sanborn-Smith

Young Adult Fantasy Writer in Michigan

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Dawne Webber

A place to confabulate.

Erin Fanning

Author of mythic fiction, nature essays, oodles of short stories, magical knitting, hi-lo novels, and guidebooks too.

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

lisawroble

wonderings and wanderings in a writer's life

melissariddlechalos

creative writing for the f..f..f...FUN of it

lisarosewrites

Swimming from Shalom to Shazizzle

Blogzone

Practical tips to help your writing dreams come true...

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Blog & website of children's book author Tara Lazar

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Bri Bruce Productions

Design | Publishing | Photography | Art

Author Sandy Carlson (of Michigan)

writers, writing encouragement, writing ideas, craft of writing

revkev43

an integration of society and religion

Michelle Bradford

DIGITAL | DESIGN | INK | PAPER | MEDIA

JulieHedlund.com

Author, Freelance Writer

%d bloggers like this: