I know that technically it is still the autumn season but honestly, it has been winter for weeks now in this part of the world and I am strangely okay with that. There is a lot of accepting and even embracing going on over here. My son moved out on October 1st and I will confess that it has been an adjustment, a big adjustment and a lesson in accepting and embracing. It was a successful launch and I am proud of him and all the beautiful ways that he is responsible and caring and well, it is nice to know that we all raised this amazing person. The adjustment was and has been harder than I thought it would be because we are complex beings who are capable of many emotions all at the same time and I forget this until I am faced with it again and again.
I had been embracing solitude in preparation for this time but I wasn't prepared for he feelings of empty, the way the house would feel and how that represented the way that I feel. I have felt lonely and a little bit lost in the empty. I suppose that is why the term most often used for this transition is 'empty nest'. These are the realizations that I had as the days stretched on,
- I don't know how to make decisions for myself. Of course I know how to make decisions and I make a series of them big and small on a regular basis but for the past almost two decades, all my decisions have revolved around, how will this affect him. He was always one of the biggest factors. Only now. I am the biggest factor. Turns out I have forgotten how to be truly selfish.
- I am not sure how I truly want to spend my time. When I had very little time because work and running from here to there with soccer and saxaphone lessons and basketball games and homework assignments and discussing emotional landmines and teachable moments along with the learning of being a parent, I created as a way of escape, a way in to myself when I couldn't find a shred of myself in the running from here to there and everywhere. And now. I have large blankets of time and turns out that a full time job doesn't even begin to fill the vast amounts of space, the hours of time that stretch out in a constant rhythm. I haven't had this much time to myself since I was a teenager. I could do anything but the bigger questions seems to be, what exactly do I want to do? I am still figuring that one out and I've got time to do that.
- Change. When I had him, it was a huge shift but there was no time to really reflect on it all because I was busy adjusting to the shift in how I used my time. Motherhood is a lesson in learning how to react to constant change because they are in a constant state of growth and change and what your kids need from you is constantly changing and so I learned to adapt and adapt quickly to it all. I can think on the fly and learned to be tuned into another human being in a way that allows for love and accepting and lessons and teaching and laughter and play and anger and frustration. It is such an adventure. And then, just like that, it is over. There is a calm in the everyday that stumps me and I am realizing that yes the world will still continue to change and I will continue to grow and change but it is a slower pace and I need to be a bit more proactive as it pertains to me because there is no catalyst outside of me. Yes, I will always be his mother and we get together for meals and catch up and he drops by and texts but his orbit is not separate from mine and the intersection is a sliver much the sliver I have with my parents. I am not a needy person and I don't need to hold on to a way of being that is past its time and so I have released the need to control and over worry about his life. I am interested and love hearing about it but I no longer internalize it in the same ways. I have recognized that I am now responsible solely for me and am starting to embrace that I can focus most of my time on me.
- Inward reflections. I haven't had this much time to focus on myself since I was in my early twenties. It is a bit disconcerting, this relearning of self and I have realized that the only place I am going to find the answers are inside of me. I am not going to learn about myself from anyone other than me. And so I have been engaged in a lot of conversation with all the parts of myself, I am learning and accepting and embracing myself and in the process, I am stitching together all the damaged parts to the parts of wisdom and I am finding myself whole.
- The change in dynamics, the flow of the house, the amount of food that needs to be cooked, the way we use the spaces have all changed. I am realizing that I don't just need to redecorate his now empty room but the entire house needs to shift because the way we live is different. And so I have been sketching and looking at paint chips and moving furniture around on grided pieces of papers. I have been purging and getting rid of stuff which means examining my life and what I want from it now that the busy of raising children is over. It is slow going but that's okay. I think I will be done by the time the house fills up at Christmas and I am looking forward to the house filling up with people and the waft of food and baked goods.
And after a brief hiatus from my daily walks, I am back to it. The cold doesn't bother me like I thought it would and the winter light takes my breath away and the trees are quiet and hushed under the weight of holding up the snow and gardens are hidden underneath the simplicity of a bed of white snow. It is a good time for all this simplicity because it is helping me to embrace this new simplicity of my life and I am working on creating that sense of ease and quiet tranquility into my house so that the new quiet is more purposefull than the empty spaces left behind by his leaving.
I am learning to listen deeply to what it is that I need and what it is that I want from this life of mine. I am standing in the middle of this transition, standing in the middle of my life and it is how I thought it would be in that I am still young and yet have settled into a routine that always me some security. I am not worried about where my next meal will come from or whether I can pay the bills. It is not a bad place to be standing and I sense that there is so much more to do and to discover but for now, I will feather my nest and rearrange the spaces as I start to grow into myself. Again.