Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.John Lennon, Beautiful Boy
Between the hours of three through seven-ish, I have a hard time regulating myself. I often feel depressed during these hours. I’ve never understood why. Recently, I had a friend suggest that part of the issue might be that my kids are older. I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant until she explained that during those times when kids are younger a parent is usually quite busy with homework, after school activities, making dinner and bedtime. With my kids being 22 and 15, I have none of that. Everyone is on a different schedule and doing his own thing.
I wander a lot. It’s not like I don’t have things I could be doing, but it’s just not the same. I miss the chaos, the fast pace of it all. It’s too quiet now. And that quiet is way too loud for me. I feel lost. I feel useless. I realize I’m not useless, of course, but the writer in me needs to find a fitting word and that is the first one to come to mind.
So what’s the solution? That’s what I’m trying to figure out now. I’ve been going to bed earlier and earlier so that I don’t have to face the silence. That is not a solution. I’m trying to busy myself with things – art, music, reading, writing, cleaning – but nothing takes the edge off. I can’t concentrate on those things.
My time as a mom has changed. But I haven’t changed with it yet. I didn’t know how empty their growing up would make me feel. I didn’t know how much of me was wrapped up in being their mom. I didn’t know it would be this hard to watch them find their way without me.
I know I’m still their mom, but they aren’t still my babies. And that makes me hurt in a way that I’ve never hurt before. Growing pains?
I don’t know how it’s going to look for me, but I know that I need to shake off my roots and replant myself in a bigger pot. They are growing, but that means that I have the opportunity to grow as well.
If you’re reading this and you have small children, hug them a little tighter today, appreciate them a little more today because before you know it they will be independent, and you will feel a little less needed. Be present in all moments, not just the big ones, because that’s where life happens. Don’t blink.
However, remember this: You are their home base and they will always circle back.