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How I Made It Through My First Mother’s Day As An Empty Nester

Mother's Day in the Empty Nest

*Update: Since the first publication of this post, we’ve moved to Dallas, but I’ll always have sweet memories of this first Mother’s Day in Austin without the kids. In spite of the fact that it was so different from all the others before, it was still so good!

Since we’ve moved to Austin, and since everyone in the family lives somewhere else, we just can’t be together on every single important occasion.

That can be a little hard, especially since we spent so many years living near extended family and celebrating together.

So, in the way that only he can, my sweet husband made Mother’s Day very special for me this year, in spite of the fact that the kids couldn’t come.

How I Made It Through Mother’s Day Without the Kids

No kids? No worries.

We would have a great day anyway, declared my man. We would celebrate the joys of my own motherhood, reminisce about the blessings we’ve both received from our own moms, and do a few things that I thoroughly enjoy.

Here’s how my sweet man treated me to a very memorable day. Feel free to try some of his sure-to-please ideas if you’re also facing a day that could get a little lonely.

Coffee Like I Like It

My husband and oldest child are news junkies.

Not me. I’ll even go so far as to risk being called shallow here to say that really, just a few interesting current event tidbits discussed over dinner is all I want. Or need. Like ever.

Except when it comes to the news on CBS Sunday Morning. I like to watch the whole show, every minute. Every personality profile is fascinating. Every story is enlightening. But, I especially love when Jane Pauley is reading her part of the script.

Isn’t she like everyone’s calm and classy big sister?

Watching CBS Sunday Morning in my jammies with a big mug of coffee like I like it (one part cream to three parts brewed flavored coffee) is a very relaxing experience. Indeed, what a great way to start off my first Mother’s Day without the kids.

How I Got Through Mother's Day Without the Kids
Photo – CBS Sunday Morning

Went to Church

There are so many great churches in Austin where people gather to worship.

And while I know the church is the people, not the building, still, if there’s a prettier church building in Austin, I’ve not seen it.

So, next on my hubby’s itinerary for us was worshiping in this beautiful place called Riverbend Church.

The message was extra special because the focus was on a the story of a Biblical mother named Hannah, who cried out to God for a son.

And God answered Hannah’s prayer. (See 1 Samuel, chapter one for more.)

The pastor called his wife to the stage to talk about the prayers of a mom, and what she said resonated with me so clearly.

“A mother can’t not pray.”

How true. Moms love their children deeply and are willing to pray all night, fast all day, and do it again and again in order to bring the needs of those children to God on their behalf.

I have read all of Stormie Omartian’s books, including: The Power of a Praying Parent years ago (so motivating) and The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children recently (so comforting). Nobody knows the subject of parental prayer better than Stormie Omartian, and I consider these books to have affected my prayer life more than anything else.

(*Update: Church was a huge part of our Austin experience. We ended up at a different church than where we began, but we’ll always be thankful for the things we learned at Riverbend and the friends we made while there.)

How I Got Through Mother's Day Without the Kids
Photo courtesy Riverbend Church

Lunch at Flagship Whole Foods

One of my favorite Mother’s Day celebrations when the kids were younger included a fried chicken picnic on a rare wind-free spring day in Amarillo.

This Mother’s Day lunch at Whole Foods was a picnic of a different kind, but not a bad substitute. While we watched the rain come down, we enjoyed an indoor picnic for two.

The food was truly delicious. It was a simple lunch of salmon, veggies and an Honest Tea. Whole Foods in Austin is, and probably always be, one of my favorite places. It’s just a hip and happenin’ place to grab a bite to eat in downtown Austin. It’s also a great spot to people-watch, especially on a day when you hope to blend right into the crowd yourself.

Over lunch, we talked about our mothers and things we appreciated about them.

Mike’s mom was 44 when he was born, the last of her four children.

Her name was Obie.  She was funny, endearing and absolutely devoted to her son.  However, while he was well cared for, Mike’s mom and dad never cared all that much for each other.

Over the 35 years of our own marriage, we’ve done a lot of hashing out what caused the divorce of our moms and dads. We respect our parents for many good things about themselves, but occasionally, we have a pretty good laugh about the dysfunction of it all.

That’s what happened today.

As we nibbled those last few bites, I learned something new about Mike’s parents that he hadn’t ever told me before. He was recounting the story to me of one time when they drove 50 miles to see a marriage counselor after a big weekend hullabaloo. During the drive back home after their session, they stopped at a bar, got “tooted,” and went right on continuing to have regular weekend hullabaloos.

In his characteristic way of expressing difficult subjects with a touch of humor, Mike said this about his parents’ counseling session:

“I guess it didn’t take.”

Who knows what you’ll find out over lunch at Whole Foods  with a bottle of Honest Tea. (See what I did there?)

How I Got Through Mother's Day Without the Kids
Photo courtesy Whole Foods Market

Two Book Stores

Now, seriously.

This next part of our day really, really, triple-really shows how much my man loves me.

While a relaxing browse through BookPeople is a sho-nuff  treat for a book lover like me, my husband never seems to share my zeal for that experience.  In fact, if it weren’t for me, he might never step foot inside a book store. And if he did, you would never catch him just wandering up and down the aisles.

Nope, my man would rather read a newspaper than a book any day. And his second choice would be an informational podcast. He enjoys it when I read to him in the car on long Texas road trips, but the guy just doesn’t read of his own volition.

So if Mike is willing to meander through category after category and section after section of socks, bookmarks, books and journals, he’s really doing it for ME.

And THEN…since I had a 20% off coupon to Barnes & Noble, we went there, too!

More meandering.

More leisurely looking.

My man has learned that I’m not planning to buy nor read all the books that evoke my repeated oohs and ahs, but he sweetly acts interested and doesn’t say a single, solitary word about it.

Like I said, my man loves me a whole, whole bunch.

Can you believe I didn’t buy any books, though?

I did find a few cute gifts for other people, however, and, of course, I took pictures of books I want to read later, including the following titles.

Have you read any of them?

Cupcakes for Two

Since we had recently seen Gigi on Undercover Boss, we Googled to see if there was a location close to us, and there was. We had tried once before at a different location, but they were all sold out.

So, in the rain, we tried again today. This time, we were successful.

However, dear friends, my my honest critique about Gigi’s isn’t all that affirming.

The cupcakes are lovely, but the store itself offered less than I expected.

A young mom and her little girl bought pink cupcakes and ate them at a tiny table inside the store. No music, no cute plate, no coffee. They were eating their pretty desserts out of a recyclable cardboard bowl. On Mother’s Day.

After watching the show about Gigi’s success, I wanted this to be the Cadillac of all cupcake shops,  but it just wasn’t what I had envisioned.

However, they do have very pretty cupcakes.

(*Update: Currently researching for a blog post about Texas cupcakes, so I plan to give Gigi’s another try!)

Gigi’s Cupcakes in Cedar Park, Texas

How About You?

So, there you have it.

I got through Mother’s Day without the kids!

Thanks to my man, it was still a fun occasion, filled with sweetness and surprises.

What about you?

Were your kids home for Mother’s Day? Did they treat you at their own home instead? How did you celebrate?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Encouraging everyday intentional adventure and a slow stroll around a great book store with someone who loves you bunches,

Blogging to encourage intentional adventure!

PS: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through a link, I may receive a small commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you. Read our full disclosure policy here.

PSS: Here are a few other posts you might enjoy.

An Elaborate Mother’s Day Picnic

Mother’s Day Gifts for Every Kind of Mom

Mother’s Day Gifts for Minimalist Moms

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