I’m spending a lot of time these days looking inward and getting to know myself again. Like it or not, it is the fallout many women face when the kids go off to college, and “momming” is no longer a part of our daily job description. It happens regardless of whether we are stay-at-home or working moms. I have to chuckle at myself sometimes. Who in her right mind really misses doing all that laundry, volunteer work, sporting events, etc.? What we really miss is the connection with our kids, and we flop around like fish out of water trying to figure out how to do this next phase of our relationship.
Sometimes I feel sorry for my oldest son, Matt. Poor guy, he’s always been the guinea pig. I’m pretty sure I owe him an apology. I just hope he can forgive me and offers me special dispensation for doing the best I could with what I had during his raising years. Lacking the desired parent manual, I panicked when he left home for college all the way in Arizona. I suddenly feared that I hadn’t done enough to prepare him for “real” life. I remember crying the first day I dropped him off at middle school. The world have gotten a little bigger and a little meaner overnight, and I felt awful for having failed to let him know that he might be bullied or that his shoes would be stolen during gym one day. The day we turned our back to leave him in a city 1200 miles away, I crumbled feeling the weight of failure all over again. There were so many things we had never talked about. While it was likely that he would never be faced with most of them, I wanted to write a life manual with all of the things I’d ever learned or watch someone else learn so that he could reference it in a pinch! I wanted him to study it to be prepared for all of the what-ifs in life. Crazy mom!
In May, he wraps up his four years of college education, and I’m so proud of how well he has welcomed and accepted the responsibility of this transition to adulthood that this time offers. He’s learned a couple of tough lessons, and so have I. But as this spring rolls around, I am keenly aware that it is time for me to step fully back in order to let us both move forward into the next chapter of our life. I’ve finally begun to understand that I have no power to protect my sons in spite of my best efforts. I am acknowledging that we did a good job of raising them, and that the rest is in God’s hands.
I’m sure Matt will be miffed that Blake is the beneficiary of this new mom. Like everything else, Blake always gets the good stuff a little sooner in life than Matt did! I guess that’s the price us oldest children pay (I’m and oldest also). It’s tough to make this step, but I know that it is the only healthy option that allows us to grow a new relationship and propels me forward to be my new self. It’s the renewal and rebirth that spring brings…
April 1, 2014 at 5:48 PM
Thank you so much for sharing so candidly about your insights and experiences. I’m looking for a few women like you who are exploring the question of “what next?” If you’re interested in learning more about it, drop me a note. You can also read my story on my blog.