March 12, 2018
I Miss Them Being Young…
As I move into my later years of my career and approaching retirement, I, like many of you, have a bit of time on my hands. It gives me time to reflect, appreciate, and look forward to more time with the people I love. At the top of that list are my children.
Consider the word … children … I smile and cock my head just a bit, as they aren’t ‘children’ at all. My son is 29 and my daughter turned 26 today (perhaps the reason you are being subjected to this reflective writing!). What used to be squeals and giggles from the back seat have turned into thoughtful errands and longer hugs. Age does have its great advantages, and this is one of the top two!
I’ve been going through some hard times this past two weeks with my dogs, one in particular, which have tested my strength. I’ve always been able to get through the emergencies and necessities with clear thinking and resolve, yet Monday, I could hardly move without feeling my stomach roll and my reflexes jolt. Each time my ‘pup’ moved, my blood pressure would jump and my heart would stop. I was paranoid, scared, and isolated. Well, at least that’s how I felt Monday.
The next day, unexpectedly, my daughter came in my back door and took me from Panicsville to the Calm Isle of Nigh. And it wasn’t even that she solved my problems, or that we took much time in talking about my fears. She settled me by just being here.
By listening, answering with care, and showing her love for me, gave me the strength of millions, just as I used to have consistently. I wasn’t even aware this was happening.
I was raised with this strength. My momma had it, and so did her mom. My aunt had it too. They were a solid and self-sufficient group of Dutch women who were rarely defeated, moving forward with logic and intelligence with each challenge.
When I lost my momma in 2015, it was devastating; still is. Now, though, I have accepted I won’t see her next week. What I haven’t accepted is that my best cheerleader is gone. I look for her support constantly. My dad is still with me and I see him often, but he isn’t the unconditional support momma was.
Now, is it fair that I am asking that of my daughter? Because, I sure put her in that position on Monday. She knew just what to say and how to say it, and I found myself falling into the part of the ‘cared for’ instead of the ‘caretaker’.
It’s not hard to hide, I was raised with my parent’s protection. The mom picks up the child from the bike crash, soothes the heart from a dashed love, and discredits an over-bearing boss. Today I am that person and will continue to wear the hat for many years. I’m back on my horse, coming to the rescue when needed, make no mistake. But after Monday, I realized, as I did when my ten-year-old son fixed my computer and humbled my intelligence, that perhaps I have lost some integrity with their admiration. Check that, I have lost some integrity with my own persona and vision of who I am. They would say I am still the strong and dependable ‘mom’ they have always known. I hope.
On a foundational parental level, we instinctively know we have the right answer; we know our answer is the right one. And we know we’ll always have time, patience, money, and most of all, experience to fall back on for all our children’s needs.
My son and I made a deal two years ago, before I went in for wrist surgery, his birthday present (s) to me would be the gift of me being able to call him, any time I need, for help around the house. You know, hanging the panels for the barn doors, moving the bed set from the attic to the basement, and answering my questions about charging the battery and storing the convertible.
Where I used to be the captain of a well-run ship, I am now part of a supportive and smart team. The summer after we lost my momma, I took the kids to Italy. It was our first trek to Europe and I hadn’t traveled in over three years. Needless to say, I was nervous and paranoid. But, those kids took charge when we got there, and we had the time of our lives. My son downloaded maps in the morning, and my daughter listed the sites. We all had bucket list things to see and do and we accomplished them with smiles and laughter. I even stepped up to the plate once or twice, saving an intensely searched out mask from loss and mastering the train schedule with ease. Our transitional experience of mother to child, and I didn’t even realize it. I just thought I was emotional and distracted and they were learning how to navigate in a foreign country. The surety of it continuing is inevitable.
How naïve can one mom be? But also, how lucky?!!!