The “Almost” Empty Nest
Transitioning through (or should I say right smack in the middle of) the empty nest; being single, seeing my parents to the other side, and wishing my beloved pet farewell, today I am celebrating something. Celebrating feels foreign to me, as I haven’t done much of that the last two years.
No longer the mother depended on, no longer the daughter or caregiver to my parents, no longer a pet mommy, and no longer a giver of life, and no longer somebody’s wife, I wonder and ask, “Who am I now?” I recognize (slowly, I must admit) that I am beginning to recreate this question into a more adventurous one in the asking of, “Who do I wish to be?”
Recreation – what fun, how scary, exciting and exhilarating all rolled into one juicy, tangled ball. It reminds me of one of those (dating myself here) rubber band balls you played with as a child. One rubber band on top of another, on top of another. When you peeled them all away, there was nothing left but a core.
Now I get to ask myself, who am I at my core? There are a few versions of me in that rubber band ball, aren’t there?
The older version of me – the one who has been on earth for more than five decades – five decades, wow! She has gained so much experience and so much wisdom; she has loved, and she has lost. She has dreamed, and she was busy putting those dreams on a shelf as she chose the beautiful, hard, gritty, delightful, and full-of-joy path of motherhood. She is wise, she is knowing, raw and vulnerable; she is me.
The in-between version of me – the one who didn’t even know what she didn’t know; still fresh, a flower blossoming and blooming. She did not know how quickly time would pass nor how much knowledge and wisdom she would gain – no one told her. She did learn, however, to savor moments and be present with her youngest child because this time would never come again. She learned with this young one to listen to the inflections of her voice, notice the curve of her smile, hear the sound of her voice because as she grew upward and outward, so did I.
The younger version of me – the little girl within. Yes, she comes out to play and sometimes she tries to run the ship. That’s when the older version falls off the track, when she allows the little, wounded girl to take control. The older version has now learned she has someone new to take care of, someone who was always there – the little girl in pigtails, wearing her cotton dress, inside of her own self.
The older version gets to gently guide, love and care for her; this, too is foreign. The older version begins to also understand this is not so much an ending as she transitions into recreating this time of her life into a new adventure.
Today, she gets to dance a new dance and sing a new song – “I own who I am!”
This wise woman doesn’t know what the future holds, but she can take on “Falling in Love with the Unknown.”
Who are YOU and who do YOU wish to be?
So Be It