And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

And yes, this week, I have one.

It’s hard not to have one in a week of some really nice pats on the back. Tomorrow night, I will walk onto the football field at the high school where I graduated way back in the dinosaur days of 1978. I’m being inducted into the school’s “Wall of Stars”. I grin goofily every time I say that. I didn’t feel like a star in high school. I don’t feel like a star now. But I am so honored to be a part of this.

Then, out of the blue, I saw myself featured in a tweet by the Authors Guild. I was their “member spotlight”. They quoted me as saying, “There is no better way to know what was going on with the human condition at any point in time than to read a book.” I do truly believe that. I can’t help but wonder what books will say about our 2020.

But that isn’t what I thought of when I began to consider what my Moment would be, particularly after not having a Moment at all last week. And really, it’s no surprise where this new Moment comes from.

As parents, when we raise kids, we want a lot for them and we hope and dream of what they will be. We want them to be smart, to excel in whatever they choose to do with their lives (and please let them choose something great!), we want them to be talented and to be liked and to just have the best that life can offer. We want them to have an easy time of it.

With the induction into the Wall of Stars, I was asked o record a two-minute video, where I had to offer, among other things, my advice for high schoolers today. I told them (I think – I haven’t viewed my own video) that like everyone else, I will tell them to follow their passion, whatever their passion might be, and to look for that right path. But then I told them to never ever equate “right path” with “easy path”. Because right does not equal easy. Right can be, and likely will be, very, very hard.

And yet we want our kids to have it easy. I know I do.

But you know, more than anything, I wanted my children to grow up to be good people. Caring. Compassionate. Empathetic. Thoughtful.

This week, my daughter Olivia had to do an assignment for her 3-D art class in college. She had to “deconstruct” two different items and form them together into an art piece. She sent me a photo of what she’d done. She plucked leaves from her bonsai tree and scattered them in a loose circle. And then she snipped apart pieces of green aluminum wire. I looked at the photo and thought, Well, okay…

And then she told me the name of the piece.

Mama’s Empty Nest.

And I burst into tears. Because she caught it. The swirl of the nest, green and rich with life. Clearly a place that had been active and involved and connected. Now…empty.

Olivia is my fourth and final child. She is the last one to leave the nest. And while joining the world at large, moving ahead to greater things, following her passion, but bracing for a curvy up and down path, just as I said to do in the video, she took the time to look over her shoulder and see me. And create exactly how I feel.

I’ve raised a good person.

Actually, I’ve raised four good people, because they have all, at different times of their lives, done something or said something that let me know that they actually see ME.

I’ve had 11 books published, and I hope to announce the 12th soon. I’ve built a strong, compassionate business from nothing and made it a success. I’m about to be inducted into a “Wall of Stars”.

But my biggest accomplishment is putting four nice, compassionate, kind, empathetic people out into our world. And watching them move through 2020.

Oh, these kids.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

Mama’s Empty Nest

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