Hey friend, I'm Tessie! Along with my family, I'm in the process of renovating a 100 year old historic home. I'd love to share the process with you!
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I said goodbye to my oldest daughter, Cora. I dropped her off in New York City, and once again felt the bittersweet emotions of goodbye.
Who knew that motherhood would be so full of goodbyes?
The first big goodbye came at age 18 as I dropped Cora off at college for the first time. She was moving from Minnesota to Utah to attend Brigham Young University. Minnesota to Utah felt far and scary, but I set her up in her dorm, met her roommate, and proceeded to bawl my eyes out as I said goodbye and walked away.
Saying goodbye was surprisingly hard. I never was much of a sentimental mom. I wasn’t the mom crying on the first day of kindergarten. In fact, I was quite the opposite. Always anxiously anticipating the next stage of life. Excited to have a little bit of free time and think a few more of my own thoughts.
So when I dropped her off at college, I had no idea how much my heart would hurt. I wasn’t only her mother, but she had become a friend. I had gotten used to having her there to talk to, go shopping with, and bounce ideas off and I wasn’t sure how our relationship would change. Perhaps, she would never live at home again and it felt like my family was shrinking.
A year later Cora decided to serve a mission. She came home for a few months to get ready then I found myself saying goodbye again. This time it felt harder. She was traveling all the way to Singapore. On the other side of the world where she didn’t speak the language and where I could only talk with her once a week. Her mission was hard. Much harder than any of us had anticipated. Talking on the phone with a piece of your heart halfway across the world, hearing the tears but not knowing how to help… that was difficult.
She was supposed to be gone for 18 months, but after 7, we received the news that she was coming home. The pandemic was beginning and all missionaries in her area were coming home right away. We were shocked to have her coming home, but it felt like such a gift to have our entire little family under one roof again.
Later that year, Cora decided to get married. She had been dating a boy since before her mission and marriage felt like the natural next step. In Dec. 2020 I found myself saying goodbye again. This time it was for real. She was getting married. I didn’t think she would ever be coming home again. I thought this was the last time.
But, as life has a way of doing… things ended up being not what we had envisioned. It was quickly apparent that Cora wasn’t happy and slipped into a deep depression. She left her faith, stopped going to school, stopped reading, stopped playing music, and stopped being the person that I thought I knew. It felt like she was unraveling and I had no way of knowing why or what was going on. Even though we had always been close, we didn’t talk much during this time and it felt like another forced goodbye. One I wasn’t expecting and one that I didn’t know when it would end.
At Thanksgiving, she came home and told us that she was gay and wanted to get a divorce. It honestly was the hugest relief! To finally have an answer to all the confusion and unraveling was like a giant weight being lifted off. Of course, there was no question that she would always be loved and welcomed in our home no matter what, but I had to give myself time to say goodbye again. Say goodbye to the version of Cora that I had in my head and embrace every part of my new Cora. Together we worked through it. She came home. We reset. She found herself again. We processed and we both began to heal.
Slowly parts of Cora started coming back. She started enjoying books again, playing her music, and spending more time with the family. She worked, she rested and she began to dream about a fresh start. The day she got into NYU was the win we had been waiting for. After many upsets and setbacks, NYU was full of possibilities.
Four days ago, Cora and I flew to New York and began the process of creating a home for her once again. We got her moved into her apartment, discovered some fabulous shops, ate lots of yummy food, and made 5 trips to Target.
As we were eating breakfast one morning Cora thanked me for making our home a safe space. A place that she could come back to, a place to rediscover herself, and a place to reset. A place where she felt SAFE. It was the best compliment I had ever received. I’ve made many mistakes as a mother but to know my children feel safe and know they are loved unconditionally makes me think that we must have done something right.
Then today, I said goodbye again and left her in that big old city. It never really gets easier. Saying goodbye tears at the heartstrings of a mother’s heart in a way that’s hard to explain.
I am discovering that motherhood is a series of goodbyes. We say goodbye, we grieve the loss, we love, we hope, we celebrate the wins and cry bitterly at the lows, but we continue to love, and continue to create safe spaces to come back to whenever they need it. It hurts so bad because it means that you have created a connection that is hard to leave. You have created a safe space.
So I will take the heartbreak, I will take the goodbyes time and time again because it means I love you. It means that I love you enough to let you go, watch you grow, and make your own mistakes. And as a mama, I will always be here. I’ll be here to learn from you, to offer advice when asked, to watch you fall, to watch you succeed, and most importantly to hold a safe space whenever you need it.
I guess I’ll stop worrying if this was the last goodbye. Motherhood is truly a series of the most tender goodbyes and that’s exactly as it should be.
Whether you're sprucing up a closet or tackling an entire room, I designed this workbook with you in mind. I know fixing up a room can be overwhelming, but this workbook will give you a head start in organizing your thoughts and gaining confidence to dive head first into decorating your space.
These are the ways I feel called to LOVE DEEPLY. My mission is to help you create beauty and peace in your own home—because I believe everyone is worthy of love and joy.
This is beautiful, Tessie. I hope my Henry feels like we are creating a safe space for him as he grows up. Thank you for sharing your heart.
This is such a beautiful post!! Thank you for sharing. This is such a perfect way to look at motherhood. I really appreciate you sharing this. 💖
Tessie I am so proud of you! You are a great mother, this is such a treasure that other mothers can and will learn from. Thank you for sharing!
Beautifully written and expressed, Tessie. So much love to you and Cora💗
Tessie such a emotional piece you have written. It touched my heart . The ups and downs of motherhood are truly the highs and lows of life. Thank you for sharing your story and your love of family.
What a beautiful post Tessie. It has brought tears to my eyes
Oh my goodness dear Tessie. What an amazing woman you are and what an amazing woman you have raised. Love you to the moon and back.
Such a beautiful post. Thank you for being genuine. May we all have a safe place in our homes. It would make the world so much nicer.
Thank you for sharing your journey & Cora’s journey. Thank you for sharing how you navigate with love as your guide. So many families are going through varying transitions with their children. While you & Cora don’t need to explain any thing- Having the example of whole hearted people who have gone through similar situations & do it honestly with lots of love is invaluable. Thanks for sharing! Cora looks so happy. I’m so glad she has come through that dark period & is thriving. It is a tribute to your love & care. Sending lots of love to you & your family.
Feeling all the mama and human feels with this one, Tessie. I want to be that safe space for my kids too. Yours and Cora’s stories are a gift. Thank you for sharing.
Dearest Tessie. You have given the biggest gift to Cora. Unconditional love and a soft place to fall. She will soar on the air you’ve blown under her wings. I love you both so much. I am one proud mama and grandma And I think this post is a perfect fit for the Joyful Home Society.
Cora is one lucky girl to have you as her mom. Your love and support, now and going forward, will be imperative! I am so glad she is finding her true happiness. Her next adventure in NYC sounds so exciting! Love you, Tessie! If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out.
What a lovely story Tessie! I love the goal of making a safe space for your kids. Some days I feel like I make a lot of parenting fails, but being a safe space is something built over years that can’t be erased by little flubbs. Thank you Cora and Tessie for sharing this with us!
Tessie! You are such an amazing bright light and Cora is too! I’m tearing up a bit.
Thank you for sharing your story. Sending you both love and light.
Tessie this is so touching and made me cry. ♥️ Thank you for sharing your heart with us in this post. It was beautiful to read.
Tessie, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. Hope to be like you someday ❤️
You are right! Goodbyes are hard!! Cora is so blessed to have you as her mom! I adore you and look up to you in so many ways!
Becoming our wholeselves & being true to who we are is a life long journey. Love & safety being the cornerstones – to sustain ourselves. Love 💜
Thanks for sharing Tessie. It’s hard to think about all of the ups and downs and goodbyes in motherhood but I love reading your thoughts.
Beautiful mama and daughter. Thank you for sharing your personal journey, and I am so glad that life is so much better. Sending love and hugs to you both. . ❤️
Tessie. Thank you so much for all of this wisdom about motherhood. I will carry your words with me while I raise my two daughters. They really hit home and provide such beautiful perspective on goodbyes. Your Cora is so lucky, and so are you. Xoxo
Thank you so much for sharing this, I am going through a difficult time with my 17 years old daughter, and reading your story helped me to take a proactive action of writing my thoughts, it did help me to feel better. I hope I can create a safe place at home for my daughters as you are doing. Love from Spain.
This beautiful, heartfelt, open and honest. Cora (and all of your children) are fortunate to have you and your husband. You’ve done the parenting job well. Congratulations to all of you.
Tessie, thank you for sharing this beautiful part of your life. I am a mother and a grandmother who has always given my children a comfortable place to land when they needed it. It’s all about the love!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful lives stories! The world needs more love for EVERYONE. Hugs. vic
Hugs to YOU Vickie ❤️
Tessie, thank you for sharing your beautiful “why” for creating a joyful home. I am so moved by your vulnerability, and I resonate deeply with home as a safe space. It makes the work of designing a home so meaningful.