My mind has an amazing ability to cut corners to avoid the complexity of reality. I default to the easiest most logical emotion or reason, in turn avoiding the things that may sting even more than that which I think is the root of my feelings.
A few days ago I had a flood of feelings that moved through me, all valid and real. I shared my thoughts with my community. The outpouring of love and support put wind in my sails to pull my little boat out of the deep waters that I stayed into. In reflection, I looked back at those words to dig a bit deeper past the initial emotional release into who is staring back at me in the mirror.
Since that moment of sharing I came down with COVID and spent the week at home mostly alone, my daughter and I isolated to separate parts of the house. Today was the first day I have felt ok which is a gift since I had to talk for 10 hours teaching a birth doula training over Zoom to 30 people. After the training, I was not exhausted as I usually am after a long day, which was surprising especially after having had COVID for the last week. Instead, I was full of energy and a specific energy, a purging energy. I spent the last three hours organizing, cleaning and throwing things out. It was a compulsion I could not deny and one I hope I don’t regret tomorrow with a COVID rebound.
The bonus of having so many things in disarray in my life, is that it makes it easy to deflect emotions. Is it the divorce, is it cancer, is it moving, is it… is it… is it… or is it being in the world as just me. I have been single for the past couple of years and to be honest, many parts of being with myself I love and I am fortunate to have an amazing loving community that I can tap into anytime I want or need. Focusing on not having a buddy in life is a simple cop out for what I don’t want to think about which is an almost 23 year era of my life that is coming to a big shift.
This fall my lovely youngest kid will most likely be going away to school. I have been so thankful for this extra time with her in her gap year. The past couple of years we have grown closer than I could ever imagine or hope for. I am so excited for her. Her brother is wrapping up his last couple of semesters of college and then off to whatever adventures lie ahead for him.
Almost all of my adult life my identity has been solidly rooted in being a mother. My title will never be taken away from me but the change is coming. When describing to expecting parents what it is like to have children, I have said “It is like a part of your heart walking outside of your body.” As babies, toddlers and even young children they would bubble over with love most of the time and are usually pretty cuddly. Then came raising teenagers. They pull away and get moody and every once in awhile there is that one day, like lightning in an ice storm, that they want to talk. I would try to snag those moments every chance I got as I knew it would be a long while before it happened again. This teenage phase felt like the longest break up ever. An emotional rollercoaster that frequently made me question my sanity. And every day I would pour my heart into them even though and especially because I knew the level of entanglement, called parenting children, was finite. Daydreaming and dreading the days that I wouldn’t have them in my day to day anymore.
I love being their mom and I know that will never change. I also know they love me but fuck this empty nesting phase is fucking hard.
I have many identities outside of being a mother and am not necessarily at a loss as to what to do with my days, its just… I cant believe that phase for us is coming to a close. Intellectually I know there are so many amazing things to come with those two humans but letting my adult children fly like an arrow from my bow into their amazing lives… there are not words sufficient. Two huge parts of my heart are going to be walking out in the world making their own way. It is a huge shift with mixed emotions of grief, fear, but also pride, joy, excitement, and relief.
Parenting is hard, unrelenting, heartbreaking, scary, exhausting, confusing, guilt inducing, and so many more adjectives. I will not miss this part of the spectrum, this is where the relief comes in. And for all my fumbles, missteps and not great decisions I must have had equal amount, if not more, of good decisions, saves, and the right words, to balance the scales to make two pretty amazing humans.
A big chapter is closing on my life and with that a purging is underway to make space for what is to come. Both kids are vocal in supporting me on my path forward as well, which I love. I still check in with them regarding what I put out publicly and both of them tell me – go be you Mom, don’t worry about what we think. We love you.
So here we go.
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