To My Beautiful Daughter

Today, my youngest left for college and I wasn’t there to see her off. As I’ve talked about in other posts, I recently moved from Chicago to Arizona. My daughter and I had planned to move together, and she would attend college out here. At the last minute, she decided she would attend her first year in Illinois and then move out here after the school year. As sad as I was about that decision, I completely supported her in it, and only want her to be happy with her choices.

With a new job and the financial strain of having just moved across country, I was unable to manage a trip back to Illinois to see her off to school. I have been devastated about this, and it has caused me to feel a tremendous amount of guilt. What kind of a mother can’t find a way to be there for her daughter at such an exciting and life-changing time in her life?

Although Megan had her father with her for her move, I still feel as though she needed her mom. Here I am in Arizona, with a job I love and a life I love… but I missed out on one of the most important events in my daughter’s life. I told my daughter that I would probably only be able to swing one trip back this fall… so it would have to be either move in day or parent weekend. She said she would prefer that I come for parent weekend. But ugh… the damn guilt is eating me alive.

So proud I am of her. What a beautiful, generous, intelligent, and savvy young woman she has become! She is growing up and making adult choices for herself, and I see her as being smart way beyond her years. When I shared my feelings of guilt at not being there, a good friend offered some terrific advice. These were the words she said to me, which offered tremendous comfort:

“Remember, Patti. Your daughter is capable and brave, and it is an honor for you to witness the new ways she is expanding her life that are fully in line with the natural order of things. You may not be there with her today, but you can find new and meaningful ways to show her love and support.”


So to my beautiful daughter, I say:

Megan, I love you more than I can ever fully express through words, but of course, I will try! 🙂 You are the light of my life. You inspire me with your passion for life, your love of others, and your compassion for the students you’ve worked with over the last four years. What an amazing special education teacher I know you will be. Lives will be forever changed for the better because of you… trust me on this. You have a sense of self-respect that is admirable. You make me (and everyone you meet) laugh uncontrollably… especially when your chin quivers and your eyes tear up while your gut aches from laughing.

You love and respect your big brother, and I know that the two of you will always have each other’s backs… long after your father and I are gone… I take a great deal of comfort in that. I have not always been the best mother, but you loved and supported me through both the good and the bad times. I have gradually witnessed you grow from the sweet little chubby cheeked child, into a tall, beautiful young woman who carries herself with amazing grace. I love that you have my eyes… they are identical to mine and I love that we share that trait.

And so it begins, my sweet girl. May your college experience be filled with wonderful adventures, many lifelong friends, and a world experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Enjoy every single moment! I will be with you, in your heart and always right here, every step of the way.

I love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. (Robert Munsch)

Love, Mommeg




See Ya Later



Last week, I piled everything I own on a truck, hooked my car up for the tow, and drove from Chicago to Arizona. To say this was challenging would be putting it mildly. However, the real challenge was leaving behind my kids, who I hope will eventually join me permanently. My 22 year old son is already out living on his own, but my 18 year old daughter will be staying behind her first year to attend her freshman year of college in IL. She is planning to move to AZ next year to attend school here. But for now, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. I did not realize how much I would miss her. I kept saying to her, “Meg, it’s okay. It will just be like you are leaving me to go to college a little early.” The truth is… I was the one leaving her.

I was in my 30’s, married with children, when my parents decided to pack up and move to Nevada. I was devastated, and thought they were being selfish. But as time went on, I understood that it was something they had desperately wanted to do, maybe even needed to do. They spent the last years of their lives enjoying life in the mountains.

So as Megan and I packed up all of our things, we had different boxes for her. Some were labeled “Arizona”, for when she comes to visit, and others were labeled “college”. We sat on the floor of her room packing those boxes, and I believe that is when the reality of it all set in. I always worried that I would have such a rough time when my baby left for college, but here I was doing the leaving first.

Saying goodbye was heartbreaking, for both of us. But it isn’t goodbye… just see ya later! As I drove away, with tears in my eyes, hauling everything I own in that 20 foot truck, I realized what I carried on that truck was just STUFF. What I really have is love… love for my children, love for the friends I left behind, and love of the life we have all built together. None of that goes away… life changes, relationships change… but they don’t end. Meg comes out to visit this weekend, and I cannot wait to see her! When she leaves to go back and prepare for her first year of college, it won’t be goodbye. We will just say, “See ya later”.

~ Patti Crowley


My Awesome Empty Nest!

me and megIn less than two weeks, my youngest will be graduating from high school. As a divorced mother, I can do one of two things. I can either be distraught, cling to her tightly, and cry myself to sleep at night, or I can do something else entirely.  I can dream of all the things I will be able to do in my new awesome empty nest.

The possibilities are endless! I can dance naked (okay, okay so I’d never be naked at my age) around the house listening to the music my daughter hates. I can cook all the things I avoided because my kids didn’t like them. Oh, I can’t wait to smell up the house with pan-seared tilapia, asparagus, & brown rice! I will actually have complete control over the DVR for a change. It will not be filled up with One Tree Hill and the Voice – although I admit that I kinda like the Voice so that one can stay. The second bathroom will remain clean – what a concept!! There will be no dirty laundry strewn across the floor of the loft outside my daughter’s room to step over. There will be adequate space for my shoes by the back door instead of four different pairs of Converse in every imaginable color.

With no one waiting at home for me, I can run to the gym after work without hurrying home. Without anyone to need a  check for the myraid of senior year activities, which are causing my wallet to feel a little thin these days, I can indulge in spending on ME. I can turn the second bedroom into an office, or a guest room, decorated to my liking. With no one else parking in the garage, I don’t have to worry about anyone opening their door into mine when parking too close.

Who would have thought the day would actually come when I would be an empty nester?  The idea of it should be cause for celebration.  I should be doing the happy dance right now. So why do I sit here typing with tears in my eyes? Why do I long for the days of little chubby arms wrapped around my neck whispering “Mommy”? Why do I wish that I could have one more day of sitting on the floor watching Barney with my little ones, while dinner is cooking in the kitchen? Why does my house already feel quiet and bare? I have a few more months before she leaves for college. Will I celebrate when she leaves? No. I will kiss her goodbye, watch her leave, and thank the dear Lord for placing her in my care for 18 wonderful years.  I will pray that I have taught her well, and that she will continue to grow into the beautiful, kind, and generous young woman that she already is. I will pray that no harm comes to her, that she makes many wonderful friends, and that she thinks fondly of her time with me. I pray that one day I will actually feel like celebrating, and you will find me dancing (almost) naked through my empty nest.