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Cindy Johnston

Seriously, I'm thisclose to crying reading this! I know how you're feeling and looking at the two of you in that photo...gosh..I do! But as I'm sure you know it gets easier with time! Hang in there Karen! It'll all be fine! :) Have a great day and maybe catch a nap!


I am so dreading this day. :( He's lucky to know that you are always there for him and have loved him all his lovely life.


the world would be a much better place if more people had a mom like you. : )

Libbi M.

wow! i almost started crying reading this. knowing my time is coming soon too. have a wonderful week.

Sarah K

This has to be really hard for you since you guys clearly have a special bond. Thank God that you have been blessed with more children to keep your home full of life and activity. Stay strong.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

That is such a sweet photo! Mine isn't turning 18 for 5 more years and I already get weepy just thinking about it! So I completely sympathize. Hang in there, and remember, he'll always be your boy.


My eldest son is only 4 1/2 and call me paranoid but I dread the day when he'll move out of home and go to college, so I feel for you Karen. Great big hugs!

cindy b.

Karen...I've ALWAYS told my kids that no one is above working in food service!! 110% agree with you about building character!! ((HUG)) to you today!!

Anilu Magloire

Oh, man... Now I'm all covered in goosebumps and teary eyed. Be strong!!! Mine is still 6 and I hurt every time I think about this same thing...


Just about to cry reading this. I remember how sweet that kiddo was when he was five. I thought of you getting home last night as I talked to Ross A LOT yesterday. He kept texting me and asking bout stuff, as he was cleaning his new place and thinking bout how fast the moments go. In fact I asked him did it look weird to look at your room empty? He said it hurt a lot! :( I love you and KNOW your in my prayers and thoughts today.

Jen Spain

Aww... that's sad. I'm (hopefully) a good number of years away from that day, but it makes me sad to think about it all the same. I worked in restaurants too when I was in my teens, and it does build character, although I think it takes a while to be able to appreciate that! (((HUGS))) to you today.


just reading that makes my heart hurt...hugs to you today!

erin cobb

Thinking of you, friend.

Kris Van Allen

My eldest leaves for Texas Tech in August. It's one day at a time, watching and helping him get ready to leave the nest.

I worked for years at a food does build character!


Oh, pull at the heart strings, Nellie. That cute little pic of you and Ross is enough to make me cry too. I'm so sorry you're sad. Hope your day/week/month gets better. :)

(CHEERS to Ross for getting an honest-paying job!!)

tara pollard pakosta

that's soooooo sad!!!
you are allowed to wallow for awhile!
how close is he living to you?



Oh Karen...sending a big virtual hug your way!


On a positive note - you don't look a day older!


I just want to give you a big hug.....but I just wanted to say that from everything I have read here he sounds like such a fabulous young man.....YOU did an awesome job!!!

Christine Edwards

Oh, my heart goes out for you. That's just a sweet photo of the two of you. And even though this may just be a small blip in the grand scheme of things, it's a big deal to you and that's what matters. Chin up!

P.S. I totally agree that everyone should work fast-food at one time in their...they'll appreciate those other crappy jobs they get later on so much more.


But you've raised him right and so he's not really gone... :) He'll be back a lot. :) I'm sure of it.


It's okay for you to feel so sad at him going! But you seem like such a wonderful mother that he's well prepared to face the world, with you behind him of course.

And from what you've said about him and the way you talk about him, I think, deep down, that he'll always be your little baby boy (:


Start brainwashing the other 3 so they never leave home. My 20.5 yr. old may never move out, I'm okay with that right now. I can't even imagine it. I'm sure Ross will be fine, he seems very level headed!


I've done it three times now and it really doesn't get any easier:( But it's also so exciting to see them off on their own (sort of) and to experience new things through them! My middle one just bought her first real car today, one that she has saved for and it was such fun sharing that with her!!
And believe me, they do come home A LOT. And they bring new friends with them.

teresa b

Oh Karen.. if I could I'd give you a great big hug!

Leonie -Australia

I'm going through the same emotions Karen for the third time, I actually think it is worse this time being the baby of the family that has left, you really don't expect them moving to cause such an empty feeling, hoping it starts to feel better for both of us soon :-)

Melissa Grogan

Hang in there... Mine leaves in a month. (sigh). Sending you hugs, kleenex and chocolate... It's nice that you gonna miss him, I've been talking with other mom's and they all seem to be glad that they are leaving. My son ... I wanna keep him another couple of years!


i have been following you for at LEAST 4 years, and i have absolutely no problem with you being debbie downer.. you help keep life in perspective for the rest of us. so many people see you as a photography/scrapping supersstar, and forget you are just a regular person with all the same problems. it's nice sometimes to know that someone is facing the same thing.. that we are not alone.. and we can share & not be judged... take care Karen, you will enjoy watching him spread his wings, content with the knowledge you raised a darn smart boy :)!!

Colleen S

Oh... Hang in there Mama. I can't even imagine. My thoughts are with you.

gina f.

Every mom is allowed tears when one of their kids moves out. Hope his first day of work goes well!

TerriB in Oregon

I have sent off four children and it doesn't get any easier. But to watch them grow and mature (kind of) is a wonderful thing. He is a good kid, with a smart mother who taught him well. And just remember, he will come home, they always come home!

laura c

I have done this twice now and always wondered how I was going to survive especially because with my oldest two, I spent a good deal of time being a single mom. Our bond is really deep BUT....everytime, I want to wallow, I remind myself of how excited I am for all the experiences, opportunities, adventures ahead for them. In my selfishness, I want them with me but in my love for them, I want them to experience the whole world. It's all okay. You are a wonderful mom and your son will always want to come home. :)

Michelle (aka mybelle101)

{{Hugs}} Karen! I have 11 years 'til I need to worry about that, but just the thought makes me teary-eyed. I cried at the end of Toy Story 3...

Your family is so close, I'm sure he'll be back often. And probably wanting food ;)


You get to be Debbie Downer my dear. . .without apologies. It's tough even if it isn't the worlds greatest tragedy. I remember crying all the way home from driving #1 to college.


You can totally be debbie downer! its a sad time for you, your firstborn out of the house when you went through so much together ..... cry all you want :)


Awww...Karen, I know just how you feel. My big boy went to college last year, and I cried and cried ( and didn't get too much sympathy from my husband, since he was only 1/2 hour away ) - but there's just something about that empty bed, night after night when I do my midnight rounds. Again: you've laid a GREAT foundation, he will come home. Often :)


awww. On the bright side.. you still look just as young as you did then :-)

Robyn :)

So what if there are bigger problems...your world is your family and it is sad that one has moved out. Take all the time you need to grieve. He'll be home with laundry before you know it LOL.

You can always take a trip to BK to see him too.....

Shannon Laux

Oh How I dread that day! My oldest is 7 and I don't look forward to it! SUPER hugs to you. I can't imagine! So proud of Ross and that photo makes me teary eyed! Best wishes for you both. How are the other kids handling it?


My oldest boy is only 8, but I'm already starting to think about "that day". You have to read "The gift of an ordinary Day" by Katrina Kenison. Amazing book.....


Karen I totally relate. My oldest (Mr. Independent) moved out at 19, despite from coming from a very loving happy home, he just had a need to be on his own. Has totally supported himself ever since and lives only 15 minutes away, renting a little house. I'm very very proud and I still miss him not being in his room (it's still there for him) even though it's been almost 2 years :(

Six months after that my baby left for university a 12 hour drive away.

I can tell you about crying oneself to sleep!LOL

lynda p

you have every right to be a Debbie Downer. I cried reading your post and seeing the picture. i can't even imagine what it's like having your 1st child not "there". i remember when i had our 1st son, and him in the stroller was too far away from me.
i hope u have a better week ahead.


ya know, I have a lump in my throat reading this, even tho I've survived it with 3 sons of my own. You've done your job, and I think you've done a great one. Now watch him spread his wings and fly!
okay, now I'm going to go cry.


Hugs Karen I know it must be terribly hard for you. My two oldest daughters have graduated but are going to the local Jr. College so I have not experienced this myself yet and I can only imagine. My twins however have informed me they want to go away for college so it gives me two years to prepare LOL. Hugs


You're not Debbie Downer you're Karen Kindly and like all kindly folk you will be back to yourself in time. When my neighbors son moved out she came over to cry on my mum's shoulder. Somehow my mum got her laughing and through the laughs the one thing I remember was my mum saying, "Better to shed a few tears now than to shed a few tears when he's 40 and still living in the basement." Well, something like that.

Kim Bolyard

dont ever be sorry about missing your kids...My daughter went away last year to Arizona you need to know I live in there are no weekend visits and I have never missed her more...and cried myself to sleep many of nights in fact the whole plane ride home I had to wear my sunglasses...I know we are all proud of our kids and we raised them to be wonderful independent adults....

Cindy Welch

I am a mother of two college graduates, I feel your pain and tears. While we love all our children with equality, there is something special about your first born son, a connection that occured at birth. I know it will get easier, but unfortunately this will not be the first milestone, nor the first tear as he grows up and needs you less. Oh sigh. Hang in there.

nancy in ks

Oh Karen. Karen. Karen. Karen. You're making me relive memories and now I'm feeling all soft and mushy.

It's been awhile since my three left home, but those first few years: well, I think parents of kids 1 day old to 17 yrs. think life is always going to be like it is now. (At least I did.) Life revolving around kids' schedules, always the laundry, arguments, happy traditions, busybusybusy, always multitasking and thinking about groceries and meals, but there is so much of life after they leave home. So many years. Except for people who have like 19 kids, the part of life after the kids leave is much longer than the part they are with us. Beginning the transition of a family with kids at home to when they leave the's so emotional. It gets better when the transition is over, except for the realizing that you can never recapture the family like it was earlier. It's still good, but it's very different, and nostalgia can capture any mom in a minute. The best situations are the ones where the kids have been raised to be conscientious, responsible, unselfish and mature. Then they multiply the joy of life over and over. But that transition part? Dang it's tough.

(You write so well!)

mandy friend

I think we should drive over there and TP their new place...or at least their cars. Watcha think??:)Cali Rae says she's holding out for some little resteraunt but may resort to Burger King!


I know it's hard...2 of mine have moved out and only Jake is left. But it's exciting too...watching them start their new life. You'll be fine :)


I'm sure it's hard for every Mom to let go of their child. But I think it's extra hard to let go when you've been a single Mom raising your child. My day will come in a few years and I've raised him alone since he was 8 months old. I'm already trying to talk myself into being a tough guy. Be proud of yourself for doing such a wonderful job.


I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you.
Moms....the best/hardest job ever.


There will be lots of tears my friend...but that's ok and after the tears the sun does shine!! I totally understand where you're coming from. Hang in there!!

beth p

I can't say I know how you feel but if all things are relative my oldest two (ages 7 and 8) are heading off to summer camp for a week for the first time Sunday and I'm already a mess thinking about it! Congratulate yourself that you raised an independent young man ready to take on the world...that's no easy task!!


Debbie Downer is alllowed tro show up anytime. It just shows that you are *real* and it is ot all peaches and roses! Hugs and Prayers for you and Ross. Bonnie G


>>>>> alotta of 'em.


I love the relationship you two have! I keep wondering about Ross and Cali- did she go off to the same college as him or are they doing a long distance thing?


hugs. alotta of 'em.

Jennifer Camplin

Be strong... cute pix by the way!!


It is alright to be sad about your son moving out! Don't feel like you shouldn't be sad about this, the fact that you are sad shows what a good mom you are! I also agree about working at fast food- I think it should be a requirement to graduate from high school!!!


BIG Hugs!!! Don't worry~it gets a little easier to accept as time goes by~it does feel really lonely in the beginning though. When my daughter moved across the US to go to college~Nestles Choc Chip cookie dough made me feel better, LOL (right from the tube with a spoon!!). just wait until you see him out on his own and turning into an adult~makes a mama proud :)

Jamie V

So super sweet, the two of you.

... i've actually started whispering in the ears of mine when they are sleeping, to never move farther away than an hour's drive from mom, and phone her every day when they do move away... we'll see if it worked in about 5 years when the oldest graduates.

Michelle Last

You poor poor thing, the house must feel very strange right now x


Karen, you are not Debbie Downer. You are a mother who is protecting her children. You put a smile on my face every time I visit. P.S. Josh Downs is a cutie pie!


Another teary moment! You are so incredibly honest and fresh, its a pleasure. What a lucky boy your son is to have such a special mom. I wish Ross luck and you many more proud moments from your children.

Carrie P

You're just separated for a time, he's not gone!
I understand that feeling, hate it every time my boys leave for school, count the days and find excuses to see them again.


Aw, thinking of you and Ross and sending hugs. I'm still far away from that day and can't bear to think about. And you are right, fast food builds character ... and tolerance for people! :)


I feel like crying reading this. My oldest is only 7, and I am wondering how I will feel when that day comes. I just don't wanna think about it. I cried a lot when he started kindergarten. I can't imagine how it must feel to have him move out. My heart is breaking for you.


Totally with you on this one... mine left for Afghanistan on Sunday. We have kinda the same story as you an Ross... had him very young, and grew up with him... You did an amazing job with him. I'm always in awe of the stories you have of him.

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