Empty Nest…

Sunrise YWG AirportIt has been two weeks since we dropped our daughter off at the airport. Our son left the day before.  Both are univeristy students – one in the east, one in the west. Unfortunately, neither are close enough to just ‘drop by’ to visit.

This past September marked the second year of an ‘empty nest’ for us. I was caught off guard by how difficult it was – I thought it would be easier this time. But I really struggled.

Perhaps it was a combination of events.  Harvest was long, drawn-out and challenging. There were seemingly endless days of rain and grey skies. I missed the sunshine.

Last fall we had out-of-country and out-of-province company so the house wasn’t empty all the time. This year our daughter home didn’t make it home for Thanksgiving. It wasn’t the same without her here. And as fall moved into winter, the hours of daylight lessened and my spirit waned.

Normally when December 1st rolls around, I eagerly prepare for Christmas – decorate the house, send cards, wrap gifts, bake and listen to carols. Not this year. All that I cared about was having everyone under one roof.  The rest just didn’t matter.

It wasn’t until our daughter arrived home on December 16th that the decorations came out and preparations began in full swing, with enthusiasm. We waited until our son got home a few days later to decorate our tree – together, as we have done since they were old enough to help.

We celebrated the holidays with all of our usual traditions, including cooking smokies and smores over an outdoor fire on New Year’s Eve. I soaked it all in with deep appreciation.

When the festivites were over, it was time for them to return to their lives and for us to return to ours. It had been a wonderful holiday, relaxed and not rushed, with just the right amount of laughter and affectionate harassment.

Care packages were assembled, hugs exchanged and off they went. I thought I would cry. I thought I would be sad. Surprisingly, I was okay. I had received exactly what I needed – time together as a family of four.

So tears did not fall when we returned from the airport to our empty nest. They were replaced by feelings of gratitude and contentment. All was well. Plus with a fridge full of leftovers, I had a reprieve from cooking, and time for a nap…

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Prairie Waves

Praire Waves for blog post

Prairie Waves

North winds howl, snow swirls.
Under night sky mighty hands
create beauty from raging storm.

Morning brings sculpted drifts.
Sun reflects on diamond crystals.
Prairie waves of sparkling white
turn bleakness into brilliance.

Sandi Knight
January 2008

 

Final Farewell

For as much as death is a part of life, we frequently get it wrong when attempting to offer comfort.  Support often needs no words.  We can be there for each other and simply allow the grief.


Final Farewell

A river of cards swells across the dining room table.
Overwhelming sadness grips my heart.
Sympathetic words echo in my mind.
Some offer comfort; others try…
“The suffering is over.”
“It was meant to be.”
“She’s at peace now.”
“It’s a blessing.”
Why do they feel the need to rationalize death?
No amount of logic will fill the vast emptiness I feel.
I have lost someone I love.
Allow me my sorrow.
Allow me my tears.
Allow me to grieve.
In time, I will move on, but not yet, not today…
It is time to reflect on a lifetime of memories,
to celebrate the time we had together,
to say a final painful farewell.

Sandi Knight
February 16, 2010

Happiness in a Cookie

This oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe always gets rave reviews — a favourite amongst family and friends for almost 15 years.  It is the cornerstone of university care packages for my now grown children and always made when they come home to visit.  The aroma and melt-in-your-mouth goodness of this fresh-baked cookie is delectable! 

Adapted from a Cranberry Oat Cookie recipe in a 2001 Robin Hood Baking Festival booklet.   


Happiness in a Cookie

P1070882

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ¾  cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F (180ºC)
  2. Cream together butter, sugars, egg, water and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon to creamed mixture, blending well.
  4. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  5. Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets.
  6.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges are golden-brown. Do not over bake.
  7. Let sit on baking sheets for 2 -3  min. before removing to cool.

Notes:

I  normally use 1/3 cup semi-sweet and 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips but sometimes substitute 2/3 cup mini M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces.  If you don’t like chocolate (seriously???) use any combination of raisins, cranberries, walnuts, pecans or coconut.

Mini Reese's Pieces ~ Perfect for Halloween!

Mini Reese’s Pieces ~ Perfect for Halloween!

Storage:

What isn’t eaten immediately, can be stored in a resealable container on the counter for 1 -2 days or in the freezer for up to a month.  Generally they disappear pretty quick…