Kaitlin’s first day of (school) university.

Kaitlyn loves to paint paper plates.

Kaitlyn loves to paint paper plates.

Some of you have been with my family and I since I started the website nearly twenty years ago. Some of you (eek!) have even written to share that you remember doing crafts from the site as children and that you’re now sharing those same projects with your own kids.

What you may or may not realize is that the site and my daughters have grown up together and that, twenty years in, my little girls aren’t nearly so little anymore.

This fall, Darren and I reached one of (if not THE) most significant moments in our married lives so far. Our youngest daughter had her first day of school! But this time round, the school in question was Dalhousie University.

And with that event, we became… Empty Nesters.

Some of you might be tempted to stop reading here as your kids are still young and this “doesn’t apply to you” but please bear with me for one more sentence. Cherish them, love them, worry about them, resist the temptation to strangle them… laugh, cry, hug and share… photograph, blog and journal … soak up every last precious, stressful, frustrating moment because one day, like it or not, you will be me… watching an amazing young man or woman stride out into the adult world armed with nothing but a smart phone, a suitcase and a handful of lessons that you hope sunk in, heh.

Shirreff Hall on Dalhousie University Campus

Shirreff Hall dormitory on Dalhousie University Campus.

A lot of people say ‘it goes by so fast’ but it doesn’t… not really. Sometimes it’s actually achingly slow (like long nights of fevers and colick!). But something happens now and then where a lifetime seems to condense and the past seems shorter than it really was – for Darren and I, this is (so far) the most major of those moments. We can suddenly see Kaitlyn’s entire life in short form and reminiscing about it has become our favourite coffee chat.

Entering Shirreff Hall the first time.

Entering Shirreff Hall the first time.

For those of you with older kids… don’t be scared. If you have the means and they have the desire, set them free into the world. Eighteen seems so young to ‘be on your own’ these days, but we know Kaitlyn has what it takes (with a bit of bankrolling from the bank of mom and dad). We trust that she’ll thrive and we know that she’ll give us a shout if she gets in over her head.

Photo wallpaper was a top priority.

Kaitlyn’s top priority was to make a photo collage on her dorm room wall.

So she’s off to live ‘in rezz’ at Dalhousie University… I think of this as the kindergarten of adulthood. No full blown responsibilities yet (the meals are provided!) but with the independence from mom and dad that she needs to prove to herself more than anyone else that she has what it takes to keep clearing those hurdles life throws at us all.

I know she can do this. I can handle it too *gulp*, right…?

This is the oceanside cottage we stayed at during our first visit with Kaitlyn in Halifax.

This is the seaside cottage we stayed at during our first visit with Kaitlyn in Halifax.


All photos in this blog are copyright Darren Guenther.
About Leanne
Wife, mom and the woman behind the scenes of the DLTK's Crafts for Kids websites. The websites are a terrific hobby -- run by (me) Leanne, a mom with two girls as my official craft testers and my husband as my technical support. DLTK are the first initials of each of the people in my family (I'm the L!) Whenever we send out little cards or whatnot, we sign 'love DLTK' ... when I started the website I used the initials. Had I known the website would get actual strangers visiting it, I would have picked a less mysterious name but we're all stuck with it now!

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