Slate river stones

Slate river stones

Goodness, the last two weeks have flown by like an eagle diving for lake trout. (OK, that’s may be the weirdest metaphor I’ve ever typed.)

Goodness, it’s so very challenging when our grown children fly off into the friendly skies after visiting for an extended time, leaving us walking along on the river of our lives.

One wonders what to do next.

One looks at at least one hundred photographs depicting river walks, beach walks, wood-splitting expeditions, cribbage games.

I’m at loose ends. How to return to the routine after two weeks with a daughter who has led one along river paths, over waterfalls (literally) and along secluded beaches?

May I simply show you a single photo of river rocks along the Slate River and wish you a Happy 4th of July weekend?

With tender heart, Kathy

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in July 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to Tender

  1. Brenda says:

    Kathy, I am so glad you have had the opportunity to reconnect with your lovely daughter ❤ I have been longing for an opportunity to reconnect with my oldest son but he is busy with his own life and dreams. Treasure every moment and all the moments in the past. Look forward to many more and cherish the moment you share right now. My tender heart reaches out in understanding toward yours ❤ Happy 4th my dear friend ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I hope you can reconnect with your oldest son soon. It is hard when our children are busy with their lives. Yet precious when connection does happen.

      • Brenda says:

        Thank you, Kathy ❤ There is more going besides him being busy and it breaks my heart because I think our time together will be scarce.

  2. lisaspiral says:

    It sounds like you had a wonderful visit. Those partings are hard, but you know you’ll have more. The photos and the memories are always yours to treasure. Happy 4th.

    • Kathy says:

      You are so right, Lisa. It was a wonderful visit. It’s hard to regain bearings and routine, though. Thank you and Happy 4th weekend to you, as well.

  3. Oh boy, now I’m siting here with sweet tender tears running tracks of love and understanding down my face. Walking along the rivers of our lives, surely, feeling a bit alone without those little birds we used to walk with, teaching them the streams and crevices of the life ahead of them, never realizing how empty the stream would be, without them.

  4. jeffstroud says:


    I can only imagine what that experience maybe like! I feel your longing and sadness. Yet the sweet memories that walk along the river paths of heart and mind will comfort you back to daily everydayness…

    P.S. maybe it is time for a New York trip!!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I remember that day when K and I met you. Yes, the longing and sadness seem to accompany the joy and happiness of the visit. One doesn’t seem to exist without the other, does it? Thank you for stopping by and sharing your tenderness.

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    KathyI definitely understand what you ae feeling. I’m seriously considering moving to San Antonio to be closer to Celeste and family. If I can sell my condo I will be on my way and not look back. So glad you had some precious time with your daughter! Happy 4th and 5th.

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I know what you mean. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live close to our family? I wish you luck in your desire if the Universe agrees. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and many fond thoughts.

  6. Susan D says:

    Beautifully poignant, Mama …

  7. Robin says:

    I think that’s a beautiful way to sum everything up. And oh, a tender heart. What wonderful possibilities that presents…

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, did you think the sharp slate stones and the title “Tender” kind of felt discordant? I was trying to express two things in this post. And am now thinking of the wonderful possibilities you suggested.

      • Robin says:

        I’ve been thinking about your question, Kathy. No, I don’t think I did feel it was discordant, but maybe that’s because I worked with slate when we installed a patio at the old homestead. It’s tough stuff, durable in many ways, yet easily broken if you drop it hard or hit it sharply with something hard. A little like the durability and the tenderness of the heart, maybe?

  8. bearyweather says:

    Missing someone is tough on our hearts … because they filled a part of it while they were with us. Your words explain the empty nest feelings very well. (my best friend moved away (western SD) 3 weeks/4 days ago, so I am feeling it, too). Memories ….
    Keeping in touch helps a bit, making plans to visit helps …. it is very different not having them with us every day … knowing things will not be the same again. But, that does not mean that they can not still be great.

    • Kathy says:

      Alas, bearyweather, those empty nest feelings… I am sorry to hear about your best friend moving away. You must care for her very deeply. You are right about how it’s not the same as having our loved ones near, but we can still have a great relationship from afar.

      On another note, my daughter bought me a camera for skyping on this computer. So now I’ll be able to see her in person and meet her cat in person, too. Sort of!

  9. Oh the fun, energy, beauty, and exhaustion! Thanks for sharing the beautiful “one” picture.

  10. Karma says:

    A beautifully sweet blog post. Although mine hasn’t permanently flown the coop yet, I think I’m starting to understand that tender heart feeling. The joy the daughter brings when you get to spend time with her, the heartache when she leaves.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, it seems like every passing year brings some different dimension to the *tender heart* feeling. It’s like the joy and heartache exist hand-in-hand. One doesn’t arise without the other. It’s a lesson to learn how to hold both feelings sacredly.

  11. john k says:

    Wait till they come back with your Grandchildren. (They stopped in at Java before coming to the house.)

    • Kathy says:

      I saw some pics on Facebook of the Parade, John. Wonder if we saw your grandbabies when we walking along the sidewalks of Baraga? Hope you are enjoying this holiday weekend.

  12. I had to read this when I saw the title – I just love that word, tender. I think your opening metaphor is great! A very touching post, and a good reminder to me as a grown up daughter, to be aware of the effects of my coming and going…love and hugs, Harula xxx

    • Kathy says:

      Harula, there are so many mixed feelings in these comings and goings. I am thinking of this as both a daughter who comes & goes to my parents, and a mama who watches her younger ones arrive and fly off. There is that sharp longing to hold them nearby, always, and a simultaneous enjoyment of returning to one’s own life, one’s routine. Today I still feel tender, cautious, unsure. It’s as if my daughter’s departure opens a door into possibility and closes another door very tenderly.

  13. Ah, Sweetheart, my heart goes out to you…you describe the feelings perfectly, and seem to also understand that quiet, and movement, and just continuing through the “river of our lives” will sustain us, and the joy in those simple things will come back. Take care!

  14. Carol says:

    I know the feeling well, Kathy. My summer visit with my kids – who aren’t “kids” anymore – begins the end of this week, and a month later it will be my time for that empty nest thing. But oh, the joys of that month!

    • Kathy says:

      I am so happy for you, Carol. You will have fun with your big kids… I guess it’s worth it, the empty nest feeling, a balance of yin/yang that many of us go through. P.S. How lucky that you have a month! I thought two weeks was high treasure.

  15. I feel ya Kathy! All three of mine are grown and gone. Tenderly, Patty

  16. What a gorgeous photo!! May I borrow it? I don’t know what I’ll use it for, but I’d give credit. I’m a Michigander originally, and my mom was from the U.P. I’ve always loved rocks, and my dining room is graced with a very large (wall sized) painting of rocks along a stream by the North Carolina artist, Jeremiah Miller.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, indeed, Joanne, you may borrow the photo. I am glad you enjoyed the picture. I will send it to you in a larger size if you like. Thank you for enjoying it.

  17. Barb says:

    Sweet remembrances of a great visit. I hope you both didn’t get eaten alive by those monster mosquitoes that I hear roam the UP! Kathy, I linked you on my recent post – a thanks for the wonderful maple syrup.

    • Kathy says:

      It was a lovely visit, Barb. If you want to read more about biting insects, you might want to stop by today’s blog. (Although skeeters weren’t specifically mentioned.) So glad your baby loved our UP maple syrup and I am still chuckling about the email he sent! Will visit your blog very very shortly, I do so hope.

  18. I am with you Kathy. We have a temporarily empty nest here and there is a lot of tenderness and relentless checking of phone messages. Still no call. Still, no call. And again, no call. Sunday night thoughts of you! And great anticipation for our upcoming time together for the Giving Motherhood a Voice book tour! xoxox S

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Suzi, I find that girls call more than boys, but maybe that’s not in every family. Our boy does call once a week, and I do cherish that phone ring. Yes, the tour is getting closer! Can’t wait to see you again and put our toes in Lake Superior. Hopefully, it will be warm by then.

  19. ladyfi says:

    What a gorgeous shot!

  20. Karen says:

    Love your photo, the water is so clear and still.

    • Kathy says:

      Karen, thank you. These rocks must have been in a quiet pool in the river, because much of the river rushed on by ceaselessly.

  21. You make a difficult situation palpable, somewhat. Does it improve with years and they grow older as you grow older? Does it help to know that either of you may fly away with the eagle? Does it help to know that this ,too, will end and that the river will still run and your progeny will walk beside those streams and hear the stories of long ago? This life is a strange marvelous thing, unique in all of the complexities of living and being and then transcending to a higher universe.
    A lovely photo and a marvelous expression of the aloneness we feel when they go!

    • Kathy says:

      Linda, you have more ponderings than there are river rocks today. *grin* I never thought of us flying away with the eagle. I am now. Life IS a strange marvelous thing, indeed.

  22. Gay Herron says:

    What a wonderful blessing to have her home for two weeks, and that she returns to her life with memories of those two weeks always in her heart. Life is hard, bittersweet, precious and fragile. I have two grown sons, with busy lives and little time for home visits anymore……cherish those days! God Bless Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Gay Herron. You are so right about the many facets of life. It’s hard when our young ones (now grown) can’t get home as much. We probably won’t see our son at home this year (although you never know) but we were lucky to see him and his wife a couple weeks ago in Lower Michigan. Wishing you an impromptu visit from one of your two. (It could happen, right?)

  23. Heather says:

    I often leave family visits with tears in my eyes. Separate lives can be so hard sometimes. At least the river is there to console you, and of course you have memories. And phones, and internet!

    • Kathy says:

      Heather, I know you understand. Part of me wishes we lived close to all the extended family so much. Yet no one else wants to live in the U.P., can you go figure? I’m actually now back in routine and feeling happy once again. Some of these partings, though, can really throw one for a loop. Can’t imagine if there would be grandkids in the mix as well. Hey, that’s the first time I ever thought about when grandchildren would drive away. What an interesting thought this morning.

  24. I Wilkerson says:

    The back and forth is hard, but it sounds like you are left with some wonderful memories …

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Inger. Thanks for commenting. Yep, those wonderful memories are worth it. (It took about 24 hours to get “back to normal” after the latest visit.)

  25. Kathy – I think your blog title and single photo summed it up beautifully 🙂

  26. Love the photo of the slate. You ask how to return to the routine after two weeks with your daughter – it seems to be getting more difficult for me to change gears as I get older. Not sure why that should be…

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I so agree with you. It used to be much easier to change gears after the kids left. Wonder why? I hope our brains aren’t atrophying. Yikes! (You can tell what we’re both thinking about lately…)

  27. Janet says:

    Beautiful photo of the slate. At first glance I thought it was leaves in the water. It’s well past the fourth now, I hope things have gotten back to normal for you.

    • Kathy says:

      Glad you enjoyed the slate picture, Janet. Yes, things are back to “normal” now. I am also glad you liked the hiking blog post. It was right up your alley!

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