The Next Step Is A Big One And I’m Going To Be Honest With You

by Sherry Riter in Alyssa,Family,Lessons of Life,Love,Relationship

I know that YOU know something is going on even though I haven’t said anything directly. My pattern of blogging, tweeting and posting around the webby world has not been “my” normal. So it is time for me to come clean, let my heart hang out and tell you what is happening.

When I was four years old I not only loved dolls, the kind that look like babies, but I wanted mine to become alive. I always asked for babies that ate and wet because that was as close to a real baby as I could get at the time. I remember thinking back then that all I wanted was a real baby and when I got “big” someday, I was going to have a real baby of my own.

After babying my younger sister and dragging her around everywhere I went until I graduated from high school, I finally got married. Long before I got pregnant, my sister had my niece and they both moved in with me and my first husband. That’s when I was able to baby my niece and even my sister again. Eventually when I hit thirty years old, I had the wonderful privilege of giving birth to a beautiful daughter. So for the last almost twenty-two years, my arms have been full while Alyssa and I have lived together. We’ve laughed, cried, played and talked and talked and talked.

My plan as her mother was two fold:

  1. I would NOT give her my fears and insecurities.
  2. I would give her the best parts of me.

Many times over the years I saw Alyssa confidently navigate one experience or another. Little things she did and some of her thought patterns reassured me that Alyssa had gotten many of my good traits and character strengths. Overall, I feel that I have been a successful mother and motherhood has fulfilled me. The whole mothering experience has made me a better person.

Having one child means that I put all my eggs in one basket. Everything I could do mother-wise I have experienced with Alyssa. Being a single mother much of the time also brought the two of us closer together. Alyssa knows me not only as her mother, but sees me as a woman with hopes, dreams, weaknesses and strengths. She knows me just about as good as I know her.

In my own mind I identify myself as a mother and my thoughts are always on what I can do to add happiness to my daughter’s life.

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that I love my daughter more than I can express. Being her mother has been and still is the ultimate happiness of my life.

If you love hard,
don’t apologize for your superpower.

Nothing ever stays the same and Alyssa is now a beautiful young woman. She needs to test her wings in a big way and our lives are going to be different now.

Alyssa has moved to the other side of the universe and I’m lost inside the four walls of my home.

alyssa moving black and white 01-2015

My daughter hasn’t literally moved to the other side of the universe, but it feels like it. I’m on the east coast and she’s on the west coast. To me that’s the other side of the universe.

I wake up in the morning and my first thought is, “Alyssa isn’t going to need me to do anything for her today. Her bedroom and bathroom are empty. Her car isn’t parked outside. I won’t see her beautiful face when her work day is over.” I’m so lost. I try not to cry, but tears just keep on taking over at their whim.

I’m happy for her and SO PROUD of my daughter. Alyssa has a wonderful career which she has studied hard to improve her skills and expand her knowledge. She has obtained a new job and arranged everything from traveling across the country to moving into her own apartment. It hit me today that obviously I have been a good mother and had fulfilled my plan as a mother. Alyssa has been confident enough to move on her own to the other side of the country and has everything arranged to live there successfully. Knowing that I had a big part in helping Alyssa develop the wonderful traits she has now is comforting because I’m struggling with feeling like a nothing right now.

I really am lost. In a way I feel like something has died inside of me.

Well, I have a dog and turtle that rely on me for their existence, but I don’t have a daughter coming home today or tomorrow or the next day. My constant mothering days are over.


This is “normal” for children and “normal” for me to feel the emptiness of the nest, but “normal” isn’t feeling all that great. It feels empty and lonely.

Stay patient
and trust the journey
will be for your
happiness and progression.

Part of me wants to runaway, but to where I have no idea. The other part of me wants to hide, so that’s what I’ve done. I’m pretty much avoiding everyone so that I can cry in private peace.

I don’t want people to try to comfort me because there is no comfort anyone can give to me.

I don’t want people to ask how I’m doing because I don’t want to tell a lie and say, “Fine!” nor do I want to tell the truth.

I don’t want people to give me advice because I just want to grieve, cry and try to get my mind around this new kind of life that I’m facing ahead.

So today I cleaned every little nook and cranny in the refrigerator. Since that didn’t make me feel better, I went into her very empty bathroom and cleaned it from the top to the bottom. Stuff is cleaner and I’m more tired, but there’s still that tender, empty space in my heart that is missing my sweet daughter’s presence. Alyssa’s not just around the corner or even an hour away. She’s ALL THE WAY on the other side of the country and it feels so very far away.

I know that it is going to take time and effort to find my own path without Alyssa around. I’ve learned to be patient with myself, so that won’t be a problem. I guess at this point, there’s nothing more to do than just take it one day at a time. I’ll continue to celebrate my daughter’s successes and do whatever I can from this far away. The real struggle will be figuring out what I’m going to do to fill this big hole in my life.

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kenny Sellards January 27, 2015 at 12:42 am

Well… you pretty much told me not to do any of my first impulses so I shall just thank you for sharing and remind you you have friends out here. *hugs*


2 Sherry Riter January 27, 2015 at 1:18 am

Thank you very much Kenny. {{{{hugssss}}}}


3 Philp Bond January 27, 2015 at 1:15 am

Children become teenagers develop ideas thoughts and their very own path. While my Son lives forty kilometres distant, my Daughter is 17,000 distant different paths different persons yet I’m proud of them both.


4 Sherry Riter January 27, 2015 at 1:19 am

{{{hugsssss}}}} Thank you for sharing Philip.


5 Teresa Custor January 27, 2015 at 1:29 am

You are a good mom and that never ends. She will always need mom, just differently. Sherry, Mom hates to tell you that feeling inside cannot be filled, we just get used to it. Our arms ache. Have you ever noticed how I hold you girls tight and bury my face in your hair. Trying to smell you and feel you, so when you are gone I have it with me. Some how the Lord knows our feelings and he helps us live without such intense pain everyday. I have cried a thousand tears for I do not love Alyssa different than you. She colored her Nanny’s world beautiful. I will pray everyday all day and every night for her safety and happiness. She has a lot to learn still and she is gonna learn it in a hurry. The newness will wear off and she will miss mom, I promise you that. I love you and I am here to cry with you. This time I have no advice, no magic words, no way out. We just have to live with it. I am lost in an abyss of sorrow also. Not just for Alyssa, but for you.


6 Sherry Riter January 27, 2015 at 12:25 pm

{{{hugssss}}} I know how much you love Alyssa too. I don’t have to thank you for loving my daughter so much and giving so much of your time and effort for her, but I want to tell you thank you. Thank you for giving her the best part of yourself. I love you too Mom. {{{hugssss}}}


7 Terri January 27, 2015 at 4:59 am

I whole heartedly understand the “loss”, of which only a mother understands… Your daughter is a very beautiful young woman,as is her mother… You, (YOU) have, as you stated help nurture, love, care, shape, mold her into this intelligent, strong beautiful individual….you are terrific..!!! Time to blog about all of this…or journal the happy sad light and dark of your grieving… If you choose to share publicly or privately, write, write write… But also know you have not only touched your daughters heart, you have also touched millions… Take time for you, something mothers rarely do ALONE… You will persevere… Love and Blessings to you…


8 Sherry Riter January 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Thank you for your sweet words Terri. {{{hugssss}}}


9 Mary Garner January 27, 2015 at 7:59 am

My dear friend… My heart aches for you. This is a trying time in life. Please be careful to fill your empty spaces with things that make you happy. You are such a beautiful person and this too shall pass. You can now focus on the inner strength and beauty that makes your light shine. Alyssa is shining thanks to you and now its your turn. Know that you are loved and God has a plan for you. He will lead you to it if you let him. There are two gifts we should give to our children: one is roots, and the other is wings.
As you enter this next step in life, take the time you need to find yourself and your own happiness. You have much to give in this world. Alyssa is blessed that she was given you as a Mom. Just think what your next masterpiece will be……… Much Love and Godspeed.


10 Sherry Riter January 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Thank you, my dear friend. It was almost like we were sitting at lunch together again. {{{{hugsssss}}}}


11 Bill Kelly January 27, 2015 at 8:52 am

Hugs. Thank goodness for Skype. Mine is out there too. You will visit when the time is right, and get to relive those mom days all over again, and make new memories. Hugs.


12 Sherry Riter January 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Thank you Bill! I was thinking about Skype last night. I’ve got to get it all set up on my computer. {{{hugssss}}}


13 Kim Sands January 27, 2015 at 9:37 am

Dearest Sherry, I too have felt that pain like every mother who’s children leave to start their own life. I have two boys. What I can tell you is that they do come home and they want to! This next journey becomes an adult friendship but you know what they still need mothering even at 27 and 29 years old! Our job is never over. The mothering is for different things like helping them with finding a new apartment ,advice on a new girlfriend or career move, but they also love it when they come home for me to make their favorite pancake breakfast the same as when they were 2 and 4 years old. They love for me to come visit ! I’m on the west coast and my oldest is in New York. My youngest is in Costa Rica and I’m going to visit him next month, he invited me. You are such a beautiful writer with a beautiful soul I hate to see you sad but that’s of course part of life.
Kim Sands


14 Sherry Riter January 27, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment, Kim. It’s nice to hear from a mother that has survived. LOL 😉


15 Joan January 27, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Sherry, I have three ideas how you can fill the big hole in your life:

1. Fly out to my house and clean every little nook and cranny in my refrigerator. Why just the other day I was thinking, “My refrigerator sure needs to be clean.”

2. And while you’re here I have a bathroom that needs to be cleaned from top to bottom. Why just the other day I was thinking, “My bathroom sure needs to be clean.”

3. Or my best idea of all! Write a book about empty nest syndrome or about how you overcame PTSD that lands you on The New York Times Best-Seller Lists. It won’t replace having Alyssa live near you, but think how proud she would be of you when she can tell her clients, “My mother is a best-selling writer!” 🙂


16 Sherry Riter January 28, 2015 at 1:46 am

Very cute Joan. I would be very happy to come help you clean if I actually could spare the time to travel ALL the way across the country. Yes, I know all about writing the book. First there’s a few things I’ve got to do and then I am going to write my book.


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