Saturday, 29 April 2017

Clickety-clack, Clickety-clack...

To get up to speed: Ok, so now my youngest is away and the other two are back, and I work two days a week at my husband's business.

So, yeah, I am still alive and haven't imploded with worry. Things are fine. After some initial panic and terror and regret (all hers, not mine) and tearful calls back home, my youngest is now happy and doing well on the other side of the world. I was the one saying "no, you didn't make a mistake. You are where you need to be and you are fine. Give it time." She has been gone for two months.
Oh, I need to insert a funny story here; just to share a mom story. After my daughter landed at her destination after a gruelling 2 days of flights and layovers in foreign countries, she was messaging me in the middle of the night (her daytime) in tears saying she was nauseous and couldn't eat and was scared and having panic attacks etc. Then my other daughter who was still travelling, was on a boat in SE Asia and had bad diarrhea. She had had it for 2 days. They didn't want to pay for a cabin for the 3 day long journey so were sleeping on deck, on the floor. It was pouring rain. Now her travel companion was starting to throw up and have diarrhea as well, and "Mum, what should we do?" Then my oldest daughter was getting upset with me because I wasn't listening attentively enough to her while she cried to me about problems with her friends. I handled it though. I got this. I kept my cool, as we Mum's do, and gave each of them the attention and advice that they needed. Crises averted.

But now all is calm. For now at least. My youngest is settling down to find a job and a place to live while my other two are settling back into working life back home and thinking of their next big adventures. My youngest doesn't communicate with me as much as I'd like. But I can't ask for more. I knew she'd be like that even though she swore she wouldn't be. But she's happy and safe, and that's what matters.

So, back to me now. Letting go. That's still what it's all about. That's still my job at this point. Train them, then trust them, then let them go. Trust the universe. Trust that I've done my job right.

I had a realization this morning that I wanted to write about. I guess I had assumed that travelling as my middle daughter did, for three months in countries very different than our own, that she would come back a changed person. More worldly. More... compassionate. Full of introspection and realizations about herself and the world. But she didn't really. If anything (how do I say this in a kind way?) she came back more egocentric and more judgemental than she was before. Just a slight shift. And skyping with my youngest last night I saw the same thing in her. Maybe not the judgemental thing but definitely the egocentricity. At first I saw that negatively and was caught off guard by it, but after mulling it over I realized that it's is perfectly natural and to be expected. It is the pulling away from family; going from Us to Me. From being part of a group to being an individual. From having to take consideration of others to just having to consider oneself. It's all good. Letting go. They are, and so am I. Then reflecting more, I realized that I too must be going through the same process. Less having to consider the needs of the many and just having to consider myself, in many situations. We are all in transition. All on a journey. All trying to figure out who we are, what we like and what we want in life and our future, and then confidently saying to the world "This is who I am".

It's about giving each other space. Yes, letting go, but also keeping the channels open. Moving on and forward, but not burning bridges or slamming doors behind you.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

A New Normal...

I sit here. Alone.
 At a place where I used to come with you.
It's the same... but different.
Still my "happy place", but now tinged with sadness.
But that's ok. My new reality.

You would enjoy this. You always did. 
After a while I won't think that way anymore. 
I will just enjoy it on my own. In my own way.
I won't save shells for you, or comment on oddly shaped driftwood. 
No one to tell it to. To share it with.
But that's ok.

I still like it here. 
I hesitated to come though. All this way; such a long drive, just for me. 
But it's what my soul craved. Needed.
The ocean. The wind. The dunes.
Soon I will bring my camera again. After I get past feeling that my photos lack interest if a loved one isn't in them.
My urge to take pictures will return. 
New sights will catch my eye. New subject matter.
And that's ok. 
A new normal.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


I hurt. 
A piece of me is gone. 
I don't like this feeling.
My body is tearing away.  Piece by piece.
Leaving holes.

That's what it feels like as my children leave.  Like a part of my physical being is gone.
What do I do now?
Part of me is elsewhere.  I am torn.
I am not a whole.  I have a hole.
I am assuming... I am told... 
Eventually the hole will heal.  It will close and heal over.  
Filling with other things.  Other people.

But all I can do for now is ache.
Go through the motions of my day.
Being reminded periodically of the absence.
The ache swells.
Swells and subsides.

The dance of parenting continues.
Holding tight and letting go.
To their rhythm.
Not mine.
Let them go.
Let them grow.

I have to.
Give up that piece of me.  Let it go.
Accept the void.  Look for ways to fill it.
Turn the hole back into a whole.

It's been a long time.
A fantastic, fun journey that we traveled and figured out together.
Doing the dance.
All together we were the whole.
Moving in step.

This is just another part of the dance.
They are ready to grow up so I need to as well.
Ready or not.

But for now...
I ache.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Flying Away...

Wow... Another long break from writing here.  Sorry about that. I know no one is reading this so I guess then I am saying sorry to myself.  Sorry for not writing or journaling.  I know it is good for me.  I also know that once in a while, I like to look back at this documentation of my life over time.

So yes... time has passed.  A brief catch-up is in order...

I am now in my early 50's and my girls are all in their early 20's.  They are all done with school and have been working full-time for the last year or so.  I am very happy to say that all three of them love their jobs and are very happy people.  All three of them still live at home.  As you know, in the past my biggest dread was for my girls to move out and "leave me".  I would say now though that I would be fine with them moving out, although  I really hope that they choose to live no further than a one hour car ride away.  I know and truly feel that my job as a mother is to prepare them for their launch into the world as fully functioning independent individuals.

At this point in time two of my girls are away traveling and the third is leaving in two months.  Deep breath.  I'm fine with the older two and their trips... as I write this they are both off in other countries... poor countries...but their trips are with close friends and the trips are well thought out.  One is gone for three weeks and the other for three months.  I trust that they are capable and safe.  My youngest daughter though is planning to go to the other side of the world, with more of an acquaintance than a friend and is going for an undetermined length of time... possibly a year!  That totally freaks me out.  She is the one with learning disabilities and she doesn't even know what she doesn't know.  And she doesn't want my help or input with planning.  It terrifies me.  She is also the one who still likes to cuddle with me and we do pretty much everything together.  It shocked me to the core when she first mentioned the trip.  I do realize that she and I are too close and that we need to separate, to a degree.  I suppose it is not "normal" for a mother and daughter to be best friends.  My oldest daughter and I are best friends as well.  She seems to have found balance though.

I can't and won't stop my daughter from going on her trip.  I was hoping she would change her plans on her own, but I realized I can not be the one to take it away from her.  She is 20.  She is an adult. Yes, she thinks differently than other people but in many ways her way of thinking and doing things is superior to the usual way.  I have to just let go and trust that she will be okay.  (There is that "letting go" again).  Her dad did a similar trip when he was 20.  He is more of a spontaneous-no-planning- just-go kind of person.  Perhaps she is too.  Maybe that's where the difference lies.

She has been craving adventure for a long time and for some reason she feels it has to be huge like this.  Once she said to me that she feels she has to do it bigger and farther and longer and earlier than her sisters trips because they both went to university and she didn't.  She needs something big of her own.

So I have to let her go.  My baby. Wipe a tear...

So all of this is preparing me for my future.  My empty nest.  I do trust now that all of my girls will most likely live not too far from me and will want to keep in contact with me.  The two on their trips now text me frequently and share pictures with me.  I don't think they do it out of a sense of duty; I think they do it because they truly want to share their cool experiences with me and show me stuff.  They know I am fascinated by it all, and I hope to travel, myself, one day.  All three of them talk with me about trips we hope to take together; either as a family or just me and them individually.  They have all said they need to do this first to know that they can.  That they don't need me.  I need to know that too.  Not that I'm any more capable... It's more of a dependency thing.

Wow, so much to say and to talk about.  To vent.  To process.

All of this empty nest stuff and glimpsing of my future inevitably points to me and my relationship with my husband.  We have both changed so much over the years.  And I hate to admit; having kids has pushed us further apart.  I have been so focused on the kids over the last 25 years and my husband has been so focused on his work, that we pretty much never spend time together or have many interests in common.  Sad, I know.  And, another point that is driven home is that since my husband and I consciously split our duties that way right from the get-go of our family, I am now left wondering what to do with myself now that my "job" as a stay-at-home mom is no longer a full time occupation.  I have no career to go back to.  Yes I have two degrees, and that education has helped me with life in general but I don't feel like a marketable person in the job world. Not to make decent money anyway.  I am trying to bring in money with my photography, and I have, but again, nothing substantial.  At this point I wouldn't be able to support myself.  I don't like that feeling.

So lately I have not only been thinking about my girls and their plans but I also have had to do a lot of thinking about my own.  I would love to say that my husband and I are excited about reconnecting and having more time to spend together.  I hope we can.  Reconnect, that is.

Where has the time gone?  The days may be long but the years are short.  Fleeting.