Sometimes you fall before you fly.
In my case I had to
Stumble in the dark,
Fall on my face
And get up again…
Only to walk into the wall.
I found this quote on facebook the other day and boy did it resonate with me. While I don’t think anyone can say they haven’t felt this way at some point today, yesterday, last week, last month, etc., I truly believe that some of us find ourselves feeling this way more often than others and perhaps with greater intensity. I know that I am one of those people.
Our lives are filled with battles won and battles lost. Good times, bad times, positive lessons learned that propel us forward and negative lessons learned that can sometimes still hold us back, even in the best of times, until we find a way to move forward again.
I find myself stumbling in the dark once again now that my daughter is in high school and continues to grow more and more independent. Just as I have many times before, I’m back to focusing on who I am, where I want to go and who I will be when she is, for the most part, independent of me. We’re now thinking ahead to her last two years of high school, PSATs, SATS, college applications, essays, campus tours and ultimately going to the school of her choice. I’m thinking ahead to the day we drop her off to begin her freshman year, her college graduation, her first job right out of school, and her eventual move out of our home to her own home, as she officially begins her own adult life. It’s less than a decade away and it’s frightening to begin this journey that all at once feels familiar, scary and new at the same time.
Though it sounds cliché, being my daughter’s mom has been my most satisfying work ever and the most educational for me. No, it’s not always been the most exciting of jobs with a job description that has included in random order:
- driving her back and forth to preschool 20 minutes each way
- either dropping her off and going home to then turn around 30 minutes later to pick her back up again
- or, quickly running myself ragged to get as many errands in during that short time to then go racing back to school to pick her up again (ages 2-4)
- arranging for play dates after pre-school or on non-school days and/or enriching activities for her to do on those non-school days (ages 2-4)
- getting her to and from said play dates and/or scheduled enriching activities (to continue into the elementary school, middle school and high school years to later be named after-school activities and hanging out with friends)
- doctors appointments
- taking care of house and home–trudging laundry to and from the shared laundry room in our building with a toddler under the age of 2 in tow, trying to load or unload while keeping said toddler from running down the hall out of the building
- grocery shopping, while again preventing toddler from running out of the store once the thrill of riding in the shopping cart has worn off
- parking in the only spot available on our block, which just so happens to be about half a mile away from the building we lived in at the time and trudging up the hill with groceries in one arm and toddler in the other.
Yes these, along with pushing swings until my arms hurt, nap time battles and a tantrum or two here and there, all made me feel more like a chauffer, a nanny and a housekeeper more than anything else. Yet, while I’ve stumbled a bit and fallen on my face periodically and yes, walked into walls a few times as a mom, I have to say that it’s been the most remarkable and most rewarding, interesting, sometimes boring and infuriating, yet fulfilling career I’ve ever had or quite possibly ever could have.
I often feel very sad that I never found a rewarding (paid) career. Yet, I’ve realized that at this stage in my life, at 50+2, I have learned more about myself and especially my strengths from being my daughter’s mom than any other “job,” I’ve ever held before and during motherhood, both part-time and full-time.
Where ever my career search beyond motherhood takes me — be it blogging on a more professional level, continuing to sell my jewelry and accessories, continued work on my ecommerce site or maybe some variation of all of the above along with something else –I’ve come to realize that everything I do from now on will be that much better and the choices I make will be that much more informed, because of all of the experience I’ve personally gained from being my daughter’s mom.
During the last 16 years, overall, I can truly say that I’ve never in my life felt better about my ability to lead, to guide, to nurture without pushing and to teach with out preaching. Never in my life, have I felt more ready to take on the challenges that my changing life will bring on and I know there will be many.
Each day I look at her and marvel at what my husband and I have created. This perfectly imperfect, wonderful young woman who has enriched us more than she may possibly be able to comprehend until perhaps she, herself, becomes a mom. I’m thankful for all that she has given me; has given us.
Thanks C. for always educating me. Through the good times, the bad times, the fun stuff, the not so fun stuff, through it all! I could not have had a better training ground for the positive things that lie ahead.
I’ve often told C. that we are proud of her today and every day. Today, I feel proud of me, too, as new stumbling blocks come before me, I hope I can remember this feeling on those days, too.
I printed this out to have C. proofread it. She wrote comments here and there and at the end of the last paragraph, she wrote: Love you Mommy <3. It moved me to tears. I love you too Lovey, always!