Present Participle List for October 2018

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life62 Comments

It’s October, my favorite month of the year, and you probably have noticed (or not) how little I have been posting about my personal life in this space.

That’s going to happen from time to time so this is a small update of what’s being happening around here.

Watching my daughter establish her life in law school has been a real joy for me. She is loving it and getting into the groove of being a graduate student. She’s made some fellow law school friends in her house where she lives and she’s out there doing it. I love the fact that she comes home for Sunday dinners and that she’s just five miles from home. I realize that once she graduates, she could go anywhere for work, so I am staying in the moment and enjoying it. And yes, her handwriting is like a tiny, tiny typewriter and our Bitmojis are on point.

Watching (yes, I’m gonna use that twice) how Cole is adjusting to college life. And when I say watching, I really mean taking any info as it comes with gratitude. He is finding his way, and that is all I need to know. Some of you may have sons that talk a lot and tell you everything. Cole tells me what I need to know, and that’s okay by me. He’s becoming independent and that makes me very proud and happy for him. He played in his first collegiate ultimate tournament last weekend. I think he is going to make SUCH a great college player. I’m not just biased. He’s really good. (#87)

Watching (third time’s a charm!) Dan adjust to teaching his third/fourth grade split. This is Dan’s third year of teaching and he is in a new grade, for the third time. He really loves this career change. He is planning to write about his experience and share it here on my blog. It’s no small thing to change careers at the age of 50. He works more than I’ve ever seen him work. 12 and 13 hour days at school, and more every evening once he’s home and on the weekends. But the trade off is having passion in his work and that is something I’ve been fortunate to have for the past 19 years as a self employed person. Dan had lost that passion in his old career and has found it in this new one. I am really hoping he gets tenure for year four. (And yes, I helped him make that wall and it pretty much rocks. Student names covered for privacy, but Aidan wrote them all using a white paint pen.)

Watching (hello #4) what life is like in this partially empty nest. I’ll tell you what the downsides are first, okay? One downside is the worry of it all. Now that is a bit neurotic because I have learned that worrying is really a waste of energy and time, but I have experienced a little anxiety that is not normally part of my overall being. Mostly worried about Cole. A little worried about Aidan. Not too much for me and Dan, but you know… it transfers. Another downside is connecting to the pain that a phase of life that I once knew, being a mom with children living in my home, is over. True, Cole will be back in the summer (I hope!) but those years of being a family under the same roof are coming to an end. One part of the pain is wondering if I did enough to help them both become responsible adults. I know I’ve worked really hard for the past seven years since starting therapy to become a mother who gives them what they need. It’s still my job to give them what they need as adults, too, it just looks different. And in a sense, that’s a real positive.

Another positive? SO MUCH LESS LAUNDRY! I had no idea my son created so much laundry.

Another positive is just being able to get into a flow with whatever I’m doing. No driving anyone anywhere. No school pick ups. There is a freedom of schedule that is really nice.

And so far, it’s feeling just fine.

Now is also a time that Dan and I can continue to work on our relationship, too. And that is always going to be something we need to do.

So that’s my update.

It’s going well, friends.

I used to write a lot to sort out what was going on in my head. I think I have become strangely introspective over the past through years, to the point of thinking about things internally and working them out in my mind, as opposed to in a public forum like a blog. I do miss telling stories, but I need to figure out which ones can work in this space. I’ll be working on sorting that out.

One public service announcement: as it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my reminder to you: get your mammogram if it’s your time and your year. I just had mine last week and thankfully, the results were normal. Here’s to all of those brave people who are facing cancer.

Cathy ZielskePresent Participle List for October 2018

62 Comments on “Present Participle List for October 2018”

    1. #1.2
      mary

      Me, too. Some days are better than others…. today is one of the ‘others’ days. But, it IS all good. And just like our young adults, I’m learning to be patient in this ‘transition’ time – not to try to figure it all out, have all the answers, and be truly ok with sitting in the transition.

      One thing for sure: I’m more and more grateful for the little family I tried to raise. So many of those memories warm my heart on days when I miss them….

      Keep posting, Cathy….

  1. #2
    Anna L.

    “connecting to the pain that a phase of life that I once knew, being a mom with children living in my home, is over.” – oh, that is a dagger in the heart. You seem to handling it okay so far – good for you. I have 2.5 years before I’m there. Sigh.

    1. #2.1
      Cathy Zielske

      So far, so good. I do feel that knowing I did what was needed more than ever in their last full time years at home, helps. I have grown up a lot myself over the past 7 years. It was needed, for sure.

  2. #3
    Teal

    I would love to hear Dan’s take on making big changes! Interesting how some happen to us and some more purposefully.

    1. #3.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I have been reminding him that he promised to do this. He meant to put together a post over the summer. I will keep reminding him. Funny, but his undergrad degree was in journalism. He was always a good writer. I need to make this happen!

    2. #3.2
      Kathy Stechschulte

      My husband is also 50 and has been considering making a change to teaching. He is completely burned out working in the corporate world. Would live to hear Dan’s story.

    3. #3.3
      Julie

      I’m turning 50 this year and have always wanted to teach. I’m totally interested to hear how Dan did this- what kind of training he had to go through to get his job and how you managed the whole thing financially. He is *such* a role model.

      I saw an inspirational story recently (sorry, can’t remember the source), but the point was that around age 50 our energies move into a mode of wanting to “give” rather than “take” and– if we follow these energies– this can be our ultimate gift to the world.

  3. #4
    Jeanie W

    When I left for college, I left my mom and dad alone at home. Sometime later my mom confided to me that she thought ALL messes would go away when I left, and she was surprised to find that I wasn’t the only one creating all the messes around the house. Hmmm, imagine that!

  4. #6
    janel

    “Watching” you over the years has been such a pleasure. I am a few years ahead of you on your life journey and all the stages that you are going through are ones that I also experienced. You have expressed it well. When the kids are little you feel like change is never going to arrive, but then, in a heartbeat, it has happened and it smacks one in the face. Enjoy this “season” and I know that with your 30 Days of Gratitude, you will have it recorded beautifully. Happy Fall!

  5. #7
    Kristi

    I moved to third this year….. I figured you may have helped with that awesome bulletin board. Teaching is no joke. Especially a new grade each year! So much to learn and create. I love watching your family grow and change…..

    1. #7.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Kristi, I didn’t know that. Weren’t you 5th grade for a while? SO much to learn. I cannot fathom how hard your job is. I see how hard Dan works. So much respect for teachers.

  6. #8
    Patty

    My kids have launched. Yes I cried and had to keep their bedroom doors closed when they left for college for the first few months. But watching them grow in the careers they have chosen and loving being adults is so amazing. Plus, my husband and I can watch what we want on TV!

  7. #9
    Nan Harrison

    It is a big adjustment with many surprises and lots of the amazing unexpected. And then, it’s likely they marry and have grandchildren and then oh WOW Oh WOW. The joy is unimaginable. WATCHING doesn’t even cut it!!! I’ve definitely switched to ACTIVE voice. Enjoy!!

  8. #10
    Andrea Grimes

    My husband, just a few months shy of his 50th birthday, (and having an MBA and working in finance his entire adult life) entered nursing school. He’s now 56 and an RN working with hospice patients. He loves his job and is a wonderful nurse. It’s been a joy for me to see this transformation and a real testament to our children that it’s never too late to change courses and make your life what *you* want it to be. In other news, our youngest is a senior in college, and while the transition to empty nesters was hard for me (less so for him), I really like the flow of our lives now. When the kids come home for breaks or holidays, it’s lovely seeing them, but when they leave, I’m okay with that now, too. Life flows. I’m just along for the journey.

  9. #11
    Maureen

    I appreciate your honesty about working through having an empty nest. Personally, I have taken an opposite view of your blog and I read it more as insight from what a parent goes through when they send their children off into the world. I was the youngest of 2 and I left home (and my home state) 14 years ago. At the time, I didn’t give it a second thought as to leaving my family and friends to pursue my career (and life). Now as I happily face the prospect of moving back to my home state (and neighborhood that I grew up in) I am really starting to see things from my parents point of view of being excited about the next phase of life and having both of their kids within easy driving distance again. Watching you send your kids out into the world and everything you are feeling, I can’t help but wonder if my parents were the same way about having an empty nest and a child so many miles away from home for all these years. Your blog has given me alot of perspective from a “parents point of view”, which I am guessing, most kids don’t stop to really consider when they are first making their way on their own in the world. Not sure if all that rambling made sense or not. I know what I am trying to say but the words are not coming out right completely. On another note – Is that a wrist brace on Dan’s arm? I hope he is ok.

    1. #11.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I definitely realize how self absorbed a human I was when I left. Never even considered my parents feelings, really. Not that our children owe us that. I don’t believe they do. We need to give to them. The joy comes from giving, which is something I have learned.

      Still… i have learned a lot over the years. I continue to do so.

  10. #12
    Mary Jo Stewart

    Great post, Cathy. Thanks for sharing. October is my favorite month but I often find myself becoming introspective. As the leaves change color and begin to fall, I tend to wonder if my choices have been good ones that benefit anyone other than myself. I have been blessed to see my adult kids become compassionate, intelligent and independent adults, in spite of me or because of me. I worried (and still do) about them for years but like you discovered that it was a waste of time and energy. Things tend to work themselves out. Thank you for the mammo reminder. Mine was overdue but scheduled for next week. I have a young friend (only 39) who is just starting her breast cancer journey. She inspired me to get off my rear and get it done. Next up, colonoscopy, ugh.

    1. #12.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I’ll tell you, the prep is worse than the procedure, and you gotta do it! You’ve got this!

  11. #13
    Keianna

    Glad to see you blogging again. Miss your words and fresh honesty. And I must be emotional bc I almost cried reading about the household changes and your desire to want to give your kids what they need to succeed. I feel that same deep push for my young one.

  12. #14
    Sue O

    Get your mammograms. Since 2003 I have had call backs for more diagnostic mammograms, and over the years, 5 mammograms. I have to admit I was growing tired of these “false”alarms for calcifications, that were always benign. BUT this 5th biopsy that I just had turned out to be cancer. I just had surgery yesterday to remove the area, plus they took 4 lymph nodes to check. I have hope that this was all found early.

    I will admit to being very angry about this, as well as scared out of my mind. I have an almost 3 year old grandson and a to-be- born-anyday granddaughter who need me. So yes, get your mammograms!

  13. #15
    Tamara_r3

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing some your new normal so openly. I have 1 already out with #2 to follow in a few years. I hope to be as mindful about things as you are. All the best!

  14. #16
    Sheila

    As a working mom with a 13 and a 7 year old I often long for the day they’re out of the house and I can have a few minutes to myself. Thanks for the reminder to cherish this time in my life too. I’m sure it’ll be over before I know it!

    And yes – get those mammograms!! My younger sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer (thankfully stage zero!) and one of the breast cancer genes, so I’ll be tested for that too.

  15. #17
    Betsy

    I love reading your updates in whatever way you tell them. Our nest is empty after 25 years and it is an adjustment, a BIG change! We are trying to redefine what “home” means to us now. Both our children are in graduate school across the continent so I worry constantly. Our youngest tells me everything even stuff I really don’t need or want to know, but I love the sharing so just smile and say hummmmm. Our oldest? Sometimes the only way I know she is alive is to post a cute dog photo to Instagram and see if she “likes” it. Would love to hear about Dan’s experience although he needs to put his energy into sheparding his charges through the school year. Keep on keeping on!!!

  16. #18
    Glenda Thorne

    Have missed your posts lately, so was so happy to see this one. Love your musings and comments . Being older, but not wiser, I have been there and done that! Now a grandmother, still worry about our 2 grown children and watching our granddaughters grow up, way toooooo fast ( 13, 10, 8). Believe it or not, I still have our children call us when they arrive to a destination ( on a trip) or come home. My parents ( in their 80’s) still call me while travelling and vice versa. Parenting never stops , no matter the age, so embrace it, enjoy it and live with it. Enjoy your October as we will be celebrating our Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. Thankful for everything and everyone in our lives.

  17. #19
    Kathy Stechschulte

    My husband is also 50 and has been considering making a change to teaching. He is completely burned out working in the corporate world. Would live to hear Dan’s story.

  18. #20
    Debbie

    This is just the beginning! Start praying for wonderful spouses, and that you all get along! Speaking from experience! Then comes grandbabies, that change everything! It is so exciting to see your children parent, and watching your family grow!

    1. #20.1
      Cathy Zielske

      My sister in law has grand babies and OH it looks like fun. We are a ways off from those years!

  19. #21
    Lynne Moore

    Another downside: people still ask what those kids are doing. My answer (a bit snarky) “I don’t know, they are adults and on their own. So far so good.” Upside: my husband gets more conversations with them. He talks to our son almost every weekend about work & married life and such. My daughter texts him more with updates and fun stuff than when she was living here. 🙂

  20. #22
    Cathy

    My son graduated and is A college Freshman too..he lives at home and commutes to the University. I don’t seem him much but I miss him. BUT I get to now keep the house in order and play with all my art supplies and make Stuff! I feel guilty but love my new found time!

  21. #23
    Cindy E.

    I’m so happy you share where you are, and can understand fewer posts. Please tell Dan this 56 year old recently (like this past January) went back to school to earn a teaching degree for elementary education. He’s where I want to be in a couple years. Making a complete career change has been exciting and full of anxiety at the same time. I mean, I’m 56 and had no college at all … starting from scratch! I would LOVE to read how these first few years have been for him.

    1. #23.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Cindy, that is awesome! He told me he will write it up this weekend! What courage it takes to do this!

  22. #25
    lisa

    As for keeping informed about what the “kids” are up to out on their own, and in some cases down the hall even….. Thank God for Snapchat! As a memory keeping mom who always photographed everything they did I live for every screenshot I can grab now. I love your words to describe this stage of life and dealing with the transition. I have more anxiety and worry too and have sometimes felt I may never figure it all out. Trying to just be and accept and enjoy.

    1. #25.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Snapchat has been great for me and my daughter. I don’t love the app in theory, but I only use it to chat with her and with a few of my girlfriends. Screen shots rule.

  23. #26
    Barbara R

    Glad to hear you are handling it that well. I think I went through a little depression, wondering what else is left for me!? Even though my 21 year old moved back home, she doesn’t need me. She works afternoons, evening and all night so I never see her. She comes home after I leave for work and then leaves for work before I get home. Occasionally I see her when she has time off from one job or another. I’m slowly finding my way back. I think the 30 days of thankful might help this year. I allow myself days where I don’t do anything after I get home from work – then I kick myself in the behind and find something fun to energize my spirit again. I have a ton of things to be thankful for and I cannot let the loneliness get me down! I know there are more people like us – just is hard in that moment to think about and keep my spirits high.

    My oldest moved to Montana – just too far away!! But I’m extremely proud of her for graduating with her BSN, passing her NCLEX and working as an RN now in a hospital in Montana. Next year, she will come home, get married and completely be her own adult person – responsible for her own well-being (not that she isn’t doing it now but I still drop my help in once in a while).

    1. #26.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I can understand the sadness… definitely. I felt a lot of sadness when my daughter left four years ago for her freshman year. It’s a little different now, with my son. I know that work helps, for me, and I work a lot. I actually should have written about that. I could use some balance right now. : ) Sending you hugs!

  24. #27
    Alyson

    I met a handwriting analyst years ago and he told me small handwriting is a sign of high intelligence. I’ve been trying to write smaller ever since… 😉

  25. #28
    denazs

    Our grandson, 18 years old, raised by my husband and me, is thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He started July 1 and will probably finish in Nov. Oh, was his leaving hard! I’ve told him that he has been in our house since birth almost continually so, yeah, I’m going to miss him! He is having an adventure so he won’t miss home so much. He did say he was a little homesick now. He has less than 900 miles to hike- from Canada to Mexico.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog posts about Cole & Aiden. They have meant a lot to me through the years especially having a grandson the same age. Thanks, Cathy!
    Now to start on a book for his adventure. I am posting pictures he sends & writing up what we talk when he phones on FB.

  26. #29
    carol ann

    I feel your pain and your change. My son flew the coop 3 years ago and bought a 4 family flat in the city. I have only just now painted in his old room – it sits empty but a few things of his remain in his closet. His being gone has brought us closer than ever. He calls me every day and like your son, only allows me to know what he wants. That’s ok, though. We love each other and that’s all that matters. But when something breaks at his building, it’s full-on family support. So, I’m [watching] too.

    Sending {{{hugs}}}, Cathy! Life is exactly how it’s supposed to be. 🙂

  27. #30
    Kate Haseldine

    I’d like to recommend Angela Watson’s 40-hour Teacher Workweek club to Dan. It’s a yearlong professional development course on teacher productivity. I work a lot fewer hours since taking it, but I’m more effective, and enjoy teaching even more.

  28. #31
    Shawn Wenrich

    This is our second year without my daughter in the house making things crazy and unpredictable. This summer she didn’t even combine her laundry with our which was odd and honestly I didn’t like that, lol! I have also had my quarterly mammograms due to my breast cancer which was diagnosed three years ago this month and successfully treated. I have followed you for years Cathy and I just want to say again that I am so thrilled that you have entered the cardmaking world! I love your SSS designs and the cards you create are always what I would expect from you, inspiring, clean and something I would copy! Thanks for sharing your world with us!

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