Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons and, most of the time, we don’t realize the lesson until the moments have come and gone. Lessons like, “I was just tying your shoe laces, what do you mean you’re getting married?!” Or, “You’re in 6th grade, what do you mean you’ve rented an apartment on campus at the University of Delaware?!” So it has gone with the first three children now and so to it will go with the last two who are entering high school in the fall. Such a happy, joyous time for them. Such a tumultuous, heart-wrenching time for mom.
A lifetime is spent making major decisions in your life. First, when it’s decided that you and your partner are going to have children, do you continue to work or do you stay at home. If you continue to work, there’s daycare, aftercare, in-between care, what if they’re sick, etc., etc. If you are fortunate enough to be able to stay home, all of those problems are whisked away (bonus) but something is lost. You have pretty much given up who you are, your identity and your life, to benefit and give to the life of your children. You do it willingly and, if dissatisfied along the way, you can shift from one paradigm to the other. Either way, you are consumed with their well being and care; the day-in-day-out grind that we all experience.
The problem is, nobody ever warns you about that day when it’s time for them to leave. Oh, sure, you left your nest and really never gave a second thought about what your leaving was doing to your parents. Because you’re not supposed to think about that stuff. I would be mortified if any of my children thought they couldn’t move along to the next phase of their life because it was going to have an impact on me. I’m ruining you forever, no!
But, the fact is, it does render the parents – and I dare say, specifically, the moms, to spiral into state of total confusion. How can any of this be possible? You’re not old enough! Wait! Just a few more years – a few more cuddles, a few more kisses, a few more hugs, need me just a little bit longer….
Allowing oneself to wallow in self-pity for a short period of time is fine, providing you never let your child know that is how you’re feeling. Trust me. I’m Catholic. I have experienced, first hand, the guilt that can be thrust upon you. But take heed, shake off the pity party and allow yourself time to find, discover, remember, reformulate, exactly who you are – not who you were, that person has been shelved – now, find the person that you want to become. What has the potential to be a sad, depressing time of your life can, in fact, be a time of self-discovery, of remembering who you were and what you’d like to do now, in this moment, this new moment of your life. Remembering that child that you were before life took over is imperative. The carefree, all I need to worry about is my school work, really and maybe work this part time job for some extra cash, channel that person back. Take the life lessons dealt to you specifically over the years, think about the lessons, good and bad, and incorporate them into a new, improved, re-invented and whole new wonderful self. Take as long as you need. Take your time doing this project because it’s about you. You are important. It’s time to make yourself a priority. Self-love is a great thing.
Be excited. Excited for your new adventure of a whole new life.