Parenting is such an ambivalent experience. When they were little, they were so innocent and joyful, but so exhausting. As they got older, the physical challenges lessened while the emotional challenges increased. Now, I vacillate between feeling lonely and peaceful.
With my husband travelling for weeks at a time now, it is often just me and my daughter at home. She is very easy to live with; quick with a hug and quick to pitch in. There are days when we both really miss her brother and father, and
days when we revel in the orderliness of our home in the
absence of the messier members of the household.
My daughter is considering her options for next year;
university or a victory lap. As a good mom, I nudge her out of the nest; tell her she is ready for university or maybe some work and travel. Inside, of course, I want her to stay home forever. I feel lonely just thinking about her leaving.
But there are other days when I remember all of the dreams that I put on hold for my kids. I think of the jobs that I turned down because I would not move my children. I think of the friendships that have drifted because of distance and
time constraints. I think of the holidays that were too expensive for a family of four. I think of the pleasure of taking care of no one but my self.
It has been so long since I put my needs and wants first
that I have trouble knowing what they are. As a mother, I feel so enmeshed with my children that it is difficult to separate my wants from theirs. As I watch them go out into the world, to jobs and school and friends, I know I have done my job well. But there is an ache as I realize that their lives no longer revolve around my mine. As we disentangle, I feel how much I have sacrificed for them and wonder if it is too late for the dreams I put on hold. I want to believe that there is life on the other side of the hill. But right now, all I can really see is what lies leaving behind.