Launching children can be an overwhelming and emotional process, one that threatens to derail even the best of us. Here’s a plan to get to the other side of this season by rediscovering our purpose and breaking the overwhelm into small, joy-filled steps.
I clearly remember the hour after we dropped our youngest off at college. My husband and I had spent the week in a frenzy of Target shopping, packing and repacking, doctor’s appointments, and bits of last minute wisdom. Move-in day came, we said our final goodbyes, and drove away in our empty car.
There were no tears, just a feeling of deep tiredness mixed with some relief. But, when we returned home, I found myself drawn to my daughter’s bedroom. This is where she had dressed her American Girl dolls, had countless sleepovers, gotten ready for prom and plotted the course of her life.
Who am I now?
All at once the emotion rolled over me and one central question took front and center in my mind. Who am I now? Although I’d gone back to work full time a couple years prior, my identity was wrapped up in my role as mom. The frenzy of launching our children now gave way to a silent chasm of purposelessness.
Dictionary.com defines skipping as “an elastic, springing movement.” Wikipedia’s description is my favorite: “The hippity-hop gait that comes naturally to children.”
My neighbors might call 911 if they saw me skipping down the sidewalk, but I love the image of lightness and wonder that comes with this word.
Empty nest moms so need that lightness, don’t we? While the depth of emotion that comes with changing roles threatens to pull us under at times, a picture of skipping a rock on the surface of the water sounds appealing and refreshing.
I feel so old
Last week at book club, one of my friends shared the sentiment, “I just feel so old.” Even as I admired my beautiful friend’s put-together look, I nodded with understanding. She had just returned from visiting her daughter’s college play and I could hear the weariness of letting go in her voice.
Approaching all the changes after 40 seems almost impossible if I look at it as one big task. Instead I’ve chosen to take the journey through the empty nest transition in tiny steps- “hippity hopping” from one goal to the next.
Skip to My Life gives me the opportunity to share that journey with you. To age with joy and grace, to return to what delights me, to take a chance. Feel like coming along? After all, we’re in this together. We may not be driving to an away game or taking a shift at the high school bake sale, but we can still cheer each other on.
Let’s forget what the neighbors think for just a minute and replace the overwhelm of this season with some skipping forward to rediscovering our purpose. Let’s take the time to focus on some goals for our relationships, our surroundings and ourselves. Yes, there will be tears and frustrations, but let’s decide to put some fun in there just the same.