By Selena Conmackie
Guest Blogger

Hello, 18-year-old me.

In my mind, I think I’m still 18 years old, holding onto my high school diploma, with leis up to my face as is a tradition in Hawaii when celebrating a momentous occasion as such.

Then, I remember I’m not and go to the fact that my teenager is entering her junior year in high school and suddenly she is closer to being the 18-year-old me than I really am.  

18-year-old ME is not amused and rolls her eyes as I try to convince “her” we are older… a lot older. 

Lots of changes are coming. “We” need to prepare. 

My 18-year-old me is asking for a chocolate bar because I am bringing in some serious old-person angst. 

18-year-old ME is not amused and rolls her eyes as I try to convince “her” we are older… a lot older. 

Lots of changes are coming. “We” need to prepare. 

My 18-year-old me is asking for a chocolate bar because I am bringing in some serious old-person angst. 


Where to start?

As a military kid, my daughter has been in quite a few different schools than her cousins back home in Hawaii. She has also lived in a couple of different states and experienced education based on the culture of the area. 

My husband (her stepdad) and I have considered possible PCS moves according to when she would be entering her high school years and how that would look for us all.

So when my husband dropped his retirement packet last year, there was a sigh of relief as we knew our kid was done being the new kid in class and would get to graduate with friends she had made from middle school — as we also decided to stay put ”for now.” 


What does this all even mean?

Looking at the calendar of so much that’s happening this year:

  • Daughter getting her driver’s permit
  • Daughter entering her junior year in high school
  • Husband retiring after 24 years in the Army
  • Husband making this duty station a possible “gonna stay here for now” home
  • And all the things that come with shifting our life from being active-duty military to civilian (miltaryish) life 

Lots of transitioning happening. And it feels like we are on a bullet train hurtling a trillion miles an hour where we need to be really READY when our stop arrives. 

Letʻs start with my kid. She is my only child. And I LOVE being a mom. Daily. 

Yes, I grow white hair when her sass status is off the Richter.

Yes, I grumble when I’m picking her up from a roller skating rink late at night.

Yes, I get the door shut in my face because “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!

I am genuinely sad knowing that life is shifting for her, and us. I joked with my husband that it will just be ”us” in a couple years and, I donʻt know… it feels strange. I thought about my mom dropping me and my kid off at the airport this past summer trip home to Hawaii and her driving away from HER kid. My heart was sad for her, sad for the future me. 

“Alexa, define Empty Nester?” I ask into my phone.

“A parent whose children have grown up and left home. Are you ready for that?” She responded.


Truth moment:

Iʻm overwhelmed. 

With emotions. Leaving the military life that I’ve gotten used to these last 7 years, watching my husband transition into being a “civilian” and how he navigates that. Getting into the car and my daughter being the driver, and listening to all the college discussions amongst her pals. 

Yes, overwhelmed with a lot of emotions. There is this shift in my universe that feels like a lazy susan being moved so me/the dish is in front of something/someone new. 

I recently read a friend’s story she had written being an empty nester ALONG with her husband being deployed. Iʻm seeing that being an empty nester has different scenarios. Will I survive mine?  


18 again.

Iʻm dramatically overwhelmed. 

My 18-year-old me hands me a bit of her chocolate bar and shrugs, “Whatʻs for dinner?”


About Selena Conmackie

Some call Selena their Social Media Gal, Website Designer Extraordinaire Guru, Genius (their words, not hers). But she’s also a Military Spouse following her husband with her kid and dog in tow to wherever the Army sends them. So, just add Rockstar Mom and Ah-mazing Wife to her list. H A U O L I is the name of her small boutique business. It means Happy in Hawaiian and has a special meaning that became the inspiration for her new journey. Her goal is to help your business to succeed — and social media plays a part in that. She enjoys the game of hashtags and algorithms and helping her clients optimize their online presence.


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