I blinked – wobbling and weeping through this transition

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I envision my life as a day on the beach.  I have done this for years – seen my life this way.  I don’t know when it started but there is always a warm sun and whispery breeze. Settled, after dragging through the sand with a chair and bag full of essentials.  My towel, the really long one with the white starfish, is spread, my iced tea beside me in the hole I dug.  Sunglass readers and two books – one almost finished and one at the ready.  The chair molded to my body, book in hand, waves crashing, gulls calling – all is right with the world.

Then I hear it rumbling in the distance.  Thunder rolling around the horizon’s edge. The sun dips behind a cloud causing a brief shadow.

The perfect moments of life interrupted and chilled by drifting clouds. A few wafting by with mild interruptions and others bringing dark clouds and thunder that hover for days.

I started crying today in the Target check out when I saw spearmint gum. What the heck? It’s gum. Standing there with tears on my face like a goober, a little in a trance while my mind swirled around trying to locate the source of this sudden sadness. Ahhh…there it is, I found it…I won’t need to send my baby girl exam packages with her favorite gum anymore.  Maggie is graduating from college.

I was next in line and the young cashier, heavy eye liner, bright red lipstick, jet black hair and an interesting tattoo on her arm, a cat maybe?, watched me wipe away the tears You ok? She asked handing me a piece of paper towel from under the counter, smiling and showing incredibly white teeth through a genuinely sweet smile that went right to my hollow place. I will be, wiping tears with Bounty. Thank you. Her kindness for someone 35 years older and in quite a different place was such a human moment, in her eyes I saw that she understood tears; it made my lip quiver a little bit more.

I didn’t hear the thunder rumbling faintly. I didn’t see the cautionary clouds.

This transition wasn’t on the radar and the tears swelled from nowhere.

I am the one that cried when a passie was given up or diapers turned in for panties. I cried at every kindergarten, middle school, high school and college doorstep. I even cried when training wheels went in the box. Not because I wasn’t excited for the next phase, but I mourn the phase lost and then I celebrate.

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I am Mom. Mom I am. I am lots of other things for sure – wife, sister, daughter, employee, friend, but Mom has been my comfortable place; the place I can wiggle down into the deep crevices and know I belong.

 

 

 

Of course, that title won’t go away but it will be different and I’m not sure how that sits. It feels a little muddy and weepy and heavy and sad.

Everyone shares their wisdom of motherhood when you’re pregnant…. you’ll be SO tired and not sleep for years, spend hours in the car running around, begin with grand plans of healthy food but end up slapping fish sticks on a plate and just forget about a clean house. But, a large BUT, it goes way too fast, don’t blink, pay attention and enjoy every minute.

All true.

 

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Morgan, my first beautiful girl spent10 years peeping at life from behind my legs and the next years feeling my hand on her back pushing her into the gaping cavernous world. This wide-eyed creature was put on my tummy 29 years ago. The joy and fear, wonder and disbelief, immediate love and immediate realization I was utterly unequipped for this job washed over me and I cried huge tears on her little bald head.

 

 

A fast legged runner and water lover meant track meets, swim meets, cross country meets, orange slices and hours on bleachers and running around the wet grass seeking the next glimpse of the pack. A precious caring soul with a high voltage smile and throaty laugh bubbling from deep within– full voiced and hearty – that fills a room and touches my heart. A doll.

 

 

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My boy B.T.…25 years ago came a chubby cheeked cherub with a fire burning inside. At his birth, I was handed a meteor to guide by the tail as it shot through the universe. He is compassionate and fearless, full throttle or asleep, reckless and trusting, loyal and loving. All I’ve ever been able to do was love him, hold his hand and hope to keep him from bursting into flames. The ideas flaring from his brain are wild and incredible. Never content to merely walk into a room as a mortal, he flashes in and it is exciting and frightening and exhausting with palpable contagious energy.

 

 

So many sports and creatures –-snakes, lizards, frogs, fish and turtles from the creek – anything needing a home. Stitches, lots and lots of stitches, emergency rooms and blood, so much blood. My lovely, incredible boy.

 

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Then Maggie, my precocious beauty came 22 years ago and she just held on. Born with crazy wicked lungs, her life was a shuffle between the doctor’s office and the car– riding to sibling’s events and eating an ocean full of gold fish singing to Raffi.  Adorable, capable, nimble and witty – her ability to go with it was of no insignificance. It was her life. She is the climber, the seeker, the wise peacemaker – the world changer. A joy.

 

 

 

 

In the middle of navigating each child’s emotional and logistical needs were life’s details… lunchboxes, carpools, bath time and books, sleep overs, birthday parties and friends, band aids, PTAs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, snowy wet clothes in the dryer as neighbor children and mine ate soup and grilled cheese, kids on the trampoline, tears, fevers, hair cuts, broken hearts and broken bones, tailgates, football games, sorority teas, moving in dorms and moving out and roommate drama.

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Sure, during these 29 years, like any mother, I have felt overwhelmed, exhausted and lost but what a gift. I loved the child crawling into bed snuggling beside me with a bad dream, I loved rocking the sick one in the dark, I even loved the long track and swim meets and hundreds of baseball games.

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I didn’t love the bloody wounds but I was glad to be the one controlling the chaos and hugging the boo-boos.

 

 

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Maybe there are more tears because it is also Mother’s Day.

 

 

 

 

What mother am I to three grown-ups?  Three grown ups with their own lives.  No regular meets or games or cars full of bedding and end tables.

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Morgan, BT, Maggie & I sharing a craft with Morgan's kindergarten babies last week!

Morgan, BT, Maggie & I sharing a book and craft with Morgan’s kindergarten babies last week!

 

They are each amazingly beautiful, fabulous and incredible humans who I actually like. I am beyond thankful.

Obviously, it’s time to stop saying I have to lose this baby weight.   That’s a given. But then what?

How do I wobble through this transition?

 

 

 

 

First, I mourn – this season of life is over and that is a real thing. For this, I cry.

Then, I get up and move forward finding the happy.

HERE IS HOW I WILL WOBBLE THROUGH:

  • Focus on the present and the gifts in front of me.
    • Three healthy, happy children who have grown up to be just fantastic large humans
    • Two great bonus boys and a fabulous son-in-law
    • A healthy body and happy marriage
    • A comfortable house and plenty to eat
    • Life in a safe place with no major worries
    • Work I enjoy
    • The ability to help others
  • Take care of my body – feeling healthy and strong is important to getting on top of sadness and being happy
    • Exercise daily (working on this!)
    • Get enough sleep
    • Eat right (working on this everyday)
  • Choose happiness
    • Be grateful for the experience of mothering and raising three energetic and busy children and all that brought. Cherish the memories.
    • Be grateful for where they are now and the ability to love them as adults and all that will bring…grandchildren to snuggle???
  • Connect with my happy
    • Get with friends who bring joy
    • Go outside and feel the sun
    • Seek happiness in small ways throughout the day to bring glimpses of happy – for me, that infrequent but important Coca-Cola or brisk walk listening to the birds
  • Plan for the future
    • I am in control of how I view the future – what kind of mother do I want to be to grown-ups?
    • How do I want to relate to them? Send cards and gifts routinely? (That is a yes for me as GIFTS is my love language)
    • Live into that vision and get going!

These are the steps I will take to wobble through. I won’t do it today. Today I cry, but tomorrow!

For all of you going through hard transitions this graduation and wedding season, be brave and gentle with yourself. Tears and pain are real and that is where we grow.

Maybe using these transition steps will help you and let’s wobble through together.

 

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