Wednesday, September 7, 2016

All I Ever Wanted

Because mothering is all I ever wanted from life.

Because being a mother and building a family and paying close close attention to every detail along the way was my work.

My life's work.

Because that phase of my life is really long since over and when no offspring live at home, now, in just over a week, it's really done. Or, well, it is not over but is completely transformed in a whole manner that leaves no anchor to that former life, at all, in any way.

And because of that, I think, because all of who I am and ever was is really now completely over, I am bereft.

I watch the "first day of 3rd grade" and "too angsty to let me take a picture of the first day of 8th grade" posts go by on social media. Those days were so long ago for me. But I loved them.
I still love them.

The way I remember it, I was one of those people who noticed at the time that I loved the busy days at home with kids. We were lucky enough to homeschool for a good portion of that time, so the days had a longer rhythm that ebbed and flowed more like the seasons than frenetic days. We read books and spent long days exploring that were in fact simply interesting days spent together following creeks to learn about salmon or taking in a midday play.

It was all I wanted. And I am so grateful.

But here's the thing. Women are taught to become things. We learn to become a mother or become a whatever-our-career-is-person, We learn to become a wife and become an activist and become an advocate. And then, sometimes, those things go away. Then, what are we?

That's been my question. What am I?

I had to un-follow some people on social media because their "next thing" is so beautiful and whole and they have origami folded themselves into a sleek crane who is going to seminary or trekking off on an adventure of self-discovery. Please. I have no money for grad school or a trek of discovering what comes next. We have ginormous college bills for those brilliant children because we didn't save when we were becoming parents at 12 or whatever so, no, I don't want to watch you uproot your comfortable life and cram it into this new amazing thing. Well, I do, but it makes me dark and all self-hatey. So, I stopped.

Here lies my challenge. Figure out life. No financial investment possible. But there are hours in the day. I have job that I like. No other responsibilities, really. Job, a very busy husband, some time with my adult children when I can. Two badly behaved dogs. And this question:

What to do with my remaining years? And just who the hell am I supposed to be?

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