My mom was diagnosed with ALS in February, followed by two feeding tube surgeries, a move back east and rapidly progressing symptoms. One sibling had a bad fall with complications. Another sibling needed a brain surgery and still needs a different surgery.
And yesterday, the longest night of the year, I’d started my year-in-review that often morphs into me beating myself up about all the things I didn’t accomplish that I intended to, like:
only 16 blog posts/28 newsletters instead of 52
no speaking gigs
just a few books sold and no marketing plan
still piles and piles of mama’s files to be gone through
my messy, messy house
The list of what didn’t get done, or done well, could go on and on.
Love and pride in the amazing human being that is ready to loosen or break the apron strings,spread their wings and fly.
Appreciation for the interesting, joyful, fun adult companion and friend they have become in addition to being my baby.
Sadnessto see them leaving and moving beyond me even though I know that is what I intended.
Nostalgia for all the sweet memories and the years that passed so quickly.
Frustration that we didn’t savor the moments more while they were happening, not really understanding how fleeting they would be
Trepidation about the new adventures and adversity the chicks might face without us, no longer needing us to be the guide.
Fearfor myself: who am I now? Will I be able to shift smoothly into this new stage and bring my attention back to prioritizing my needs and growth after so many years of focus on preparing the chicks to leave the nest?
Worries I try to hide :
Will they be ok? Will they find love? happiness? security? Will they still want to talk? laugh? visit? How do we adapt as a couple? Why does everyone else seem to transition so easily? How do other mothers get through the day with no tears? Why do some seem so happy to send their children off? What’s wrong with me?
Hope. Can I turn the emptiness of loss into the space to bring forth new creative projects? Maybe ones that have been put on the back burner? Or completely new ones for who I am now?
Joy and Gratitude for all our blessings and choices and new things ahead.
Sigh. Smile. Deep breath.
Cue up Bill Staines song, Child of Mine.
One that has been making me sniffle since those days of what seemed like endless rocking chair time. Especially these sections:
There is a road, and that road is all your own
But we are here, you need not walk alone.
To face, not fear each coming new unknown
Is the way to lift your wings
Child of mine, where spirits fly above
There is but one that belongs to you
So let it grow and it will thrive on love
For it is love that sees us through.
You have hands that will open up the doors,
You may have the hopes this world is waiting for
You are my own, but you are so much more
You are tomorrow on the wing, child of mine.
(excerpted lyrics copyright Bill Staines, Child of Mine)
I’ve learned a lot from my child. Guess I’ve still got things to learn.
There are so many people I would love to acknowledge for their support, influence, and contribution to our parenting experiment. I know if I started naming names I would invariably forget to include someone and maybe hurt some feelings. Which I would never, ever want to do.
First, of course thank you to our mothers, our parents, Dale’s grandparents.
There are a few surrogate mom’s, adopted mom’s, big influencer’s for me who are no longer here. I tip my hat and give thanks to Ruth Hood and Esther Yanai. I miss you. They modeled different types of parenting and relationships and gave me new ideas.
RosemaryPowers, who I consider Dale’s goddess mother, and often our saviour when sleepless nights were just too much. She babysat Dale once a week from his birth until ..I don’t remember but it was priceless, lifesaving, and much appreciated. Thank you.
And, then the very long list of friends, parents of other kids Dale’s age, neighbors, unschool and homeschool moms, preschool and school teachers, college buddies, WFoL friends, 4H leaders, music teachers, mentors , our larger community….more experienced parents who shared their stories and gave advice when asked. Time and again. Thank you,
And maybe you didn’t give us advice, per se, but you gave Dale attention, love, affirmation and direction that he needed apart from us. Thank you.
Thank you all. I hope you know who you are even without me saying your name. Thank you. It made a difference. It shows.
Your turn:Are you lucky enough to have multiple mother figures in your life? Who are they? How have they helped you in your journey?