Partially Empty Nest

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life52 Comments


She's leaving today on an 8-day good will/mission trip to El Salvador.

Without us.


Yes, the people from church will take good care of her, but my baby is heading to another country and I won't be there with her.

This kid. She's such a pistol. She's always gunning for new experiences; things that will broaden her horizons. When I told her, "Hey, I'll leave Skype on so if you get access to a computer you can ring me up," and she said, "Mom, the whole point of this is to enrich my world with other things, not technology."

TouchΓ© kiddo.

Join me in wishing my girl safe travels.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to curl up into a tiny ball for just a little bit and try not to think about the fact that in just a few years, college will be an adventure that likely takes her away for more than just 8 days.

Time is a bullet train.



Cathy ZielskePartially Empty Nest

52 Comments on “Partially Empty Nest”

  1. #1
    Karen d

    Prayers fro her safe return & for peace to you while she is gone. And, yes time is a bullet train!!

  2. #2

    Oh you poor girl Cathy, I hear you my daughter went to Africa and is always looking for an adventure. She is the complete opposite of me.

    Will keep all of you in my prayers and for safe travels. I know she will do great, you have raised her well.

    Such a sweet baby picture of her!

  3. #3

    Safe travels to Aidan! May she have a wonderful experience. And huge cyber hugs to you, Cathy! Sigh! What a cute picture. The leaving comes all too fast.

    Sending love,

  4. #4
    judy in huntsville - al

    from experience I can say that these little flights away make the ’empty-nest’ a bit easier to bear. But, as we all know, motherhood never ends — and i’d leave skype on just in case she realizes it too—

  5. #5
    Susan A

    Time is indeed a bullet train. I was a mess when my 13 yr old daughter visited London with my parents this past summer. Two days of crying. And she was with my parents! But she had a great time, and I know in my heart that it helped her grow so much more than staying home with me ever would have. Be kind to yourself–and prayers for Aidan and her group’s safe travels!

  6. #6

    Aidan will love the experience and you will survive. A few tears may be shed, but you will get through it. The first time is the hardest (witness the week my DD1 spent at a college program during her junior year of high school). After that it does get easier. I promise!

  7. #7

    πŸ™ This post made me tear up (a lot) this morning. Good lord, I’m not going to do well when my littles (rapidly becoming not so little) move out. Safe travels to Aidan and hugs to you.

  8. #8
    Sherry Eckblad

    They grow up way to fast if you ask me. Our niece who I am sure was born just 2 years ago left on a mission trip with her school one week ago to Vietnam. They will be returning next week.

  9. #9
    Jen K.

    I have tears for you Cathy–I welled right up when I read this post and my oldest is only 12! Oh my, I’m glad I have time to get used to the idea of my Bear going off on adventures without me or his dad. It’s supposed to happen and it’s going to happen and it’s good for both that it does happen, but gosh, I don’t want it to.

  10. #10

    I hear you. I have to put myself out of my body right now. I did the same thing when she was 4 months old and I had to go back to my full time corporate job, putting her into day care. Totally had to separate my mind from my body. Sigh.

  11. #12
    jacquie d

    Wishing Aidan a safe and wonderful journey. I too feel your pain Cathy. My only biological daughter moved to the U.S. for 9 months when she was only 19. I honestly cried for 2 weeks. She now lives in Dallas permanently, and although I don’t tear up as much as I used to, I still miss her terribly. Hang in there Cathy…Aidan’s return will be euphoric!

  12. #13
    Dianne Nelson

    These are hard but joyful times as well. I’ve always felt that as much as I notice and feel my children’s changes, I am grateful that they are growing up and moving in new directions. Here’s prayers for safe travel and safe return for your precious daughter.

  13. #14

    I feel your pain Cathy I just wrote my High school seniors deposit check for college…..HPU as in Hawaii Pacific. 13 hours from Chicago and her momma. To add insult to my injury she and her 2 girlfriends are planning a back packing adventure through Europe this summer. So move over I’m joining you in that little ball. At least she will not be going off to college for several years. But hold on to your hat it goes fast.
    At least her twin brother will be attending our local junior college.

  14. #15
    Heather Johnson

    You have such a way of writing–I just love it! Every time I read a blog post I think you should turn it into a scrapbook page….the “journaling” here is just too good!

  15. #16
    Robin G

    This post brought me to tears! My daughter and I will also be going through this this summer as she will be going on a trip to Europe on a music ambassador’s trip for 16 days. I know this will be a wonderful experience for her with great chaperone’s but goodness I will be walking the floors and I know crying with my baby so far away. Please let me know how you get through it as I could use all the help I can get. Praying for you and your daughter.

  16. #18

    why do you do this to yourself? She leaves for a short time and you go through her BABY PICTURES? She’ll be back, mama…

  17. #20

    ok… sitting at my desk quaking with fear that my eldest is only two years from college…

    i won’t just be in a ball – I’ll be sucking my thumb and rocking…

    she is one amazing young woman!

  18. #21

    I feel your pain. My oldest daughter just informed me last night that she graduates high school in 9 weeks and leaves 8 weeks later for college. YIKES!!! We’ve raised them well…they’ll do great…

  19. #22

    Wow, Aidan can’t possibly be old enough to travel?!!!! Ugh, I’ve been a Zielske follower for too long. I still remember Cole being tiny and Aiden’s beautiful tiny grin. Talk about growing up to fast. I may join you in that ball position. Yeesh.

    Wishing Aidan a magnificent voyage.

  20. #23

    What a sweet picture. Sending commiserating Mom hugs. Totally there with ya’. My daughter sometimes talks about being an astronaut and I tell her that’s fine, as long as she doesn’t leave the planet without me. I mean, can you imagine??? Hope the 8 days goes by fast for you and wonderfully for her.

  21. #24
    Design Editor

    Eyes watering! Sending wishes for safe travels! This will be a huge experience for her.

    I’m sending this post to my best friend whose 8th grader is traveling to France on a school trip next month. She’s starting to freak out. Misery loves company, right?

  22. #25

    Will be praying for mom and daughter. I can sympathize with you, Cathy. I was a basket case when I sent my 16 year old to Sweden and Denmark for 2 weeks last year. Grateful for the experience he had but to let them out of the safety of your arms is not an easy feat.

  23. #26
    Sherri P eh

    I’m with you Cathy! My almost 17 year old went on his third mission trip last year, and the farthest so far, to Guatemala. It is tough to let them go and then have no communication, when we have so many options to stay in touch! But where they go, Aidan’s right, they disconnect from technology and reconnect with other people and cultures in life altering ways. They come home to us forever changed, and even more remarkable and worldly human beings! I look forward to hearing all about it, here, when Aidan returns! Hang in there Mama!

  24. #27

    We think the toughest part of parenting is when they first arrive in the “nest”.
    Not true!
    The toughest part is when they leave the nest – & if we’ve done our job, they leave happy, confident & prepared for the world.

    Aidan will return, only to leave again – & you probably feel a little lost each time, but you will be fine, & your relationship with her will only get stronger.

  25. #29
    Tammy B

    Have a most excellent time Aidan! Good on you for taking this trip! I’m sure your mama will be just fine without you – she’s tough!!

  26. #30

    When my eldest daughter was 22 she and a friend made plans to travel to Greece. When I woke up the next morning the plans had changed – 4 weeks backpacking in Southeast Asia. Yikes! Skype did come in very handy and the stories she told us after – spiders the size of her head, open huts for sleeping and monkeys on the beach. She still loves to travel, last December, spur of the moment and on her own, she flew to Paris for a week. I was envious but not able to take the time off work. It does get easier, Cathy (for me, not my husband though) but we always feel better when she arrives home.

  27. #31

    A bullet train indeed. Sniff. Raising adolescents is such a sad-happy time of life.

    I hope she has a safe and amazing adventure.

    And I hope you can sleep while she’s gone! πŸ™‚

  28. #32

    wow, so proud of your adventurous daughter. and brave. and inspiring. my son is 10 and I keep thinking…he’s been with me 10 years…10 years from now…yeah I sorta just pretend that’s not going to happen.

  29. #33
    tiffany h.

    Prayers for Aiden on a safe and educational journey. Prayers for you (and your family) for peace and calm when thinking about/missing your girl.

  30. #34

    How awesome for her! And how awesome of you and your family to trust and let her go onto a wonderful experience.

    Very cool.

  31. #35

    Funny…before I started reading this post, I looked at the baby picture and thought to myself, “that baby sure looks like Aidan.

    Not that I want to strengthen your urge to retreat to the fetal position, I MUST pass on John Mayer when it’s fitting.

  32. #36

    ahhkk…my heart is just catching in my throat as I read this! I only have 3 years until my Peanut heads to college….I feel that fetal position coming on!! Hang tough girlie, at least it’s only 8 days!! That said, WOW! What a great opportunity and experience for her!!

  33. #37

    That post just oozes love Cathy! You have such a special relationship with your girl – time and distance may alter what that looks like, but it’s a bond that nothing will ever break πŸ™‚

  34. #39

    I am so right there with you as my son is going to Guatamala in June with our church. So fabulous for Aidan. What an amazing adventure she will have. Hang in there and hug Cole just a little bit more these upcoming days.

  35. #40

    Our son turns 21 this weekend – so we’ve been looking at baby pictures, toddler pictures, primary and secondary school pictures, and university pictures to make a slideshow for the party. Very salutory. While it seems like yesterday, all that (bullet train) time has actually gone past. Amazing.

    Yes, he’s left home. He comes back though!

    And as an aside – how unmistakably ‘Aidan’ your daughter is already in that baby photo!

  36. #41
    Nita K.

    Safe travels to Aiden! I know the mommy feeling. Mine are still little, so no long trips yet. Hugs to you.

  37. #42
    Angie Hall

    Hugs to you, Cathy. My daughter Kayla (15 1/2) and I will be starting the first leg of our college road trip next month during spring break. For years, I’ve been teasing her about my getting her room when she leaves, about counting down the months until college…now that we’re getting ever so close, it’s kinda sorta SCARY!

    Kayla also wanted to go on a mission trip to the D.Republic this spring break. I couldn’t’ bear the thought of her being that far away…but I know one day she will be, and then I, too, will curl up in a ball and well, ball my eyes out.

    Blessings to you both.

  38. #43

    Cathy, stop looking at the photos!!!!
    Aidan, I hope you have great adventures and safe travels.

  39. #44
    Kendra B

    Wishing safe travels to Aiden! Stay strong little marshmallow (mom)!! Maybe focus on all the scrapbook pages you two can do when she gets back????

  40. #45

    May God keep her safe –
    – and use her well.
    And when she comes home,
    May she have great stories to tell!

    Proud for you, and for her.

  41. #46
    Dorothy F

    Safe trip Aidan and enjoy! A great experience for Aidan and an eye opener for Mom. Hang in there, Cathy, your baby is growing up.

  42. #49
    Kirsten Juenke

    Awwww Cathy- I remember when my big boy went to 5th grade camp up at Warm Beach, and there was no such thing as Skype. Ha! Or anything close. And then he went to Leadership camp at Mount Olympus (somewhere on the south side of Mt Rainier….no cell towers….), and I agonized for days. Luckily he is at the UofW and my anxiety has lessened…and you’re right, how do the Missionary Mom’s do it?!!??!

  43. #50

    Oh my I feel your pain! My Aimee went to Europe with a singing group in 11th grade and you are so right, it starts that sinking feeling that college is coming and this is what its like. Big hugs to you although I doubt you really need them! Mine is now living halfway across the country from me and all I can tell you is it SUCKS! but we survive πŸ™‚

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