Family Life


The other day, a friend asked if my husband and I will be “empty nesters” now that our youngest son has finished high school.

The simple answer is yes. Come September, that is what we expect will happen. That’s the natural order of things, right?

The kids grow up, they move out, start their own lives. They stay in touch, they come home for holidays and special occasions. If they live nearby, they might drop by just to say hi, have a meal, take the dog for a walk.

But then, they return to their homes. They no longer sleep under your roof. They are no longer living in your nest.

Here’s the thing, however – life comes at you fast. And sometimes, when the unexpected happens, your nest is the best place; the most convenient, or comforting, or cheapest, or safest place. Sometimes, the kids end up back in your nest, even if only temporarily.

My husband and I expect that we will soon be empty nesters. We enthusiastically support our sons’ steps toward independence; we are proud of the young men they’ve become and are still becoming. We’re also looking forward to life as a couple, just the two of us, for the first time in decades.

We also know that the nest may not always be empty. And, that’s okay with us. We, like all parents, want what’s best for our children – even after they’ve grown up. If what’s best is for them to return home, we’ll always make room for them to do so. I suspect most parents feel the same way.

While the simple answer is yes, the real answer is more complicated. The term “empty nesters” may only refer to a period of time, not a permanent state of being.

So, here’s a cuppa for all of us who watch as our children fly from our nests, knowing that it’s a good and exciting and happy part of life. And, here’s a cuppa for all of us who know that, should the time come, we’ll also open our arms and our hearts to welcome them back.

Family Life


My youngest son graduates from high school today.

It’s natural to think about time on a day like today. From a linear perspective, I see the years by looking back and remembering. I see the future when I imagine the moments to come.

But some believe that time is circular, not linear.

If so, I am now and still always will be rocking him to sleep, reading him bedtime stories, admiring his LEGO creations, taking him trick-or-treating, helping him pack his camping gear. I’m listening to him as he describes his scientific experiments and short story ideas. I’m laughing at something funny he says. I’m watching him blow out his birthday candles and buying him new shoes again and again and again as he grows from tiny baby to young man.

And, I am now and still always will be watching him extend his hand to accept the diploma that signifies the end of one journey and the start of another.

Regardless of a linear or circular perspective, time is a continuous event. As is my love for him. Never ending.

Family Nature


Today’s cuppa celebrates our backyard garden.

I can’t take credit for it. Husband and sons did (and do) the work. My allergies keep me from spending too much time out there. But, I appreciate what they’ve done, support their efforts, and clap merrily whenever new flowers, or vegetables, or fruit appear. You could call me the Garden Cheerleader.

We have several varieties of tomatoes, two blackberry bushes, a grapevine, a few potato plants, some dill, jalapeños, garlic, and onions, along with numerous roses and a honeysuckle vine. Most are growing well, especially the tomatoes, although it’s a race to see who will end up eating more of them – us or the bugs. We also have kale, which is one of my least favorites but is growing exceptionally well, mocking my disdain.

One of my grandmothers grew up on a farm in Minnesota. My other grandmother had a Victory Garden during WWII. I like to imagine them joining me as cheerleaders, celebrating nature in our backyard.

Family Holidays Life


When I was a little girl, my mother would sometimes sing me to sleep.

Her voice was warm, with a soothing edge, and she’d gently rub my back while she sang. As I listened, I imagined a soft darkness flying overhead, tinged with mellow orange and yellow, peacefully cloaking the world. Then she’d kiss me goodnight, and she’d leave the room with the door slightly ajar to provide a sliver of light from the hallway.

I didn’t inherit my mom’s singing abilities, but my boys and I had our own bedtime rituals.

For my oldest, it was glow-in-the-dark stars on his bedroom ceiling and holding hands while we whispered stories to each other, some true, some imaginary.

For my second son, it was rocking chair snuggles with my off-key lullabies, sometimes songs that we knew, sometimes songs that we made up together.

And for my youngest, it was books, and books, and more books – the best ones being those that involved the two of us searching for something or counting something or being part of the narrative in some other way as we cuddled together against the pillows.

Treasured moments, each one. Simple acts of timeless love and peaceful joy.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Family Life


Most days, there’s an intentional choice behind my cuppa selection, actively connected to specific thoughts or feelings.

This is not one of those days.

I woke up this morning with the Pokémon theme song in my head. This cuppa once had a picture of Charmeleon on it. So, here we are.

This cuppa does remind me of when my sons were younger and how much fun they had with all things Pokémon. While those memories weren’t the reason for my cuppa choice this morning, I will enjoy them while I sip. And, I’ll be grateful for health, and happiness, and loved ones.

Here’s hoping you have good memories of your own to enjoy today.

Family Fun


Each time I use this cuppa cup (given to me by my sister in honor of our Norwegian heritage), my internal dialogue goes something like this:

Thorvald the Viking!

Lutefisk – ugh.
Reminds me of fish paste. Also ugh.

Who would make Cream of Lutefisk? Is that really a thing? No, of course not. It’s a joke. But maybe not?

I might have had a hard time being a Viking, not liking the dried and salted and preserved fish options. However, I like Lefse. So, I’d be the Viking eating the Lefse while all the other Vikings ate the fish options. That would work.

Except Lefse is best with butter (lots of butter, mmmm butter). As long as I had Lefse and butter, I’d have been an awesome Viking.

Except I wouldn’t call myself Thorvald. I’d be Solveig. Such a pretty name but still fitting for a Viking.

By then, I’ve finished pouring my coffee, and my internal dialogue shifts to something else, such as how much coffee creamer to use and whether to sit at the table or on the couch while I drink my cuppa.

I usually come back to thinking about Lefse, however. Mmmm, butter.

Family Life


Today’s cuppa celebrates love.

My husband and I met in high school. Our first date was on April 21. Several years later, also on an April 21, he proposed.

We don’t have any special celebration plans to mark this anniversary today, but that doesn’t mean the day isn’t special to us. Perhaps that’s also a good way to characterize our relationship.

We’ve had oodles of great moments, lots of happiness and joy.

We’ve also had some heavy, tough, real moments when we’ve not been at our best.

Each day is meaningful and significant to us. Each day has been, and is, and will be a simple tribute to this life together that we continue to choose – intentionally, gladly, gratefully.



I respect neatniks and sometimes wish I were more like them. But I’ve gotten comfortable with who I am.

Most of the time, if the dishes are done, the laundry is folded, the trash is out, and the bathrooms are clean, I’m good. Bed-making optional, depending on mood. Grateful for my husband, who bought this cuppa cup as a joke and has never considered himself exempt from these responsibilities.

We are both glad our boys have outgrown LEGO. Cuts down on the sweeping.