We find grief in many areas of our lives, the death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, the reality that a dream will not come true, and the growing up of our children. The last one is the one I want to speak on. As parents, we pour so much into our children, they often become our primary concern. We tend to neglect or at least put on hold, our dreams, and desires. I believe some of this is normal as children do require a lot of energy but there is a season, a period of time, where we are facing the last one leaving the nest and we are struck with that reality and the follow up of “what do I do now?’
We are celebrating and grieving the ‘last’. The last prom, the last game, the last play or the lost opportunities they chose not to participate in. As we walk though the last days of them being in the home before they move out, it is a mixed bag of emotions. I encourage you to feel all of them. Sit with them, let them be there, breathe into them and recognize that this is just an emotion appropriate for this season. Nothing is wrong.
Feeling these emotions and sitting with them allows you to process them so that they cannot get a foothold and paralyze you in any way. You don’t want to cling to your child with a death grip – well you do but that will not turn out well. They are looking outward; their whole life is ahead of them. They may be scared, anxious, excited, sad, uncertain, overconfident, or ready to go. You, on the other hand, are saying a different good-bye. How you walk through this season will be the difference in the relationship you have with those precious souls we call children. Be the safe place for them to come to. To talk to without the concern that you will be too emotional.
We can be the safe place by taking care of our own emotions. It is ok to let them know they will be missed just don’t say “I don’t know what I will do without you”. Encourage them so that they will make new friends, have new adventures, and gain new experiences and that home will be there for them. Not placing guilt on them is a wonderful gift.
But what about me? you may ask. You, my dear, also get to make new friends, have new adventures, and gain new experiences.
First and foremost, if you are married, look at the relationship with your spouse. Pretty soon, it will just be the two of you staring at each other across the table. What do you want this new season to be like? How do you want it to unfold? What are both your expectations of and for one another? How will you spend your time together and apart? These are wonderful conversations to have with one another. Get all the cards on the table – travel or no travel, work or retire, relocate or stay where you are. How is your relationship? What needs improving? How are you? What areas of your life do you want to change, improve on?
Every year we enjoy 4 seasons in Georgia. Some weeks it seems all 4 seasons occur. There is much to enjoy about each one but also recognize we change and adapt to each season. Remember, you are entering a new season of your life. Slowly, take in the new sights, the new sounds, the new opportunities and adapt accordingly.
So often I hear women say they don’t know their purpose now that they aren’t ‘mothering’ anymore. You will be OK. It just changes. Our mothering can turn into friendship. It can turn into a precious relationship but also your freedom. You can embrace a new freedom in your home, in your relationships, and in your heart.
You are free from the responsibilities of parenting (even though it may grieve you), it is time to look forward towards the things that interest you. Don’t know what that is? Take a class. Do something you have never done before. Go someplace new. The funny thing is we have been home for so long to attend to the needs of others, we may have forgotten how to attend to ourselves. What if you did something so out of character and really enjoyed it? In turn, your kids may look at you with a new eye. “Who is that lady?” It also gives you something different to talk about. Mama, it’s not over. It is just a new season. Embrace it. Become the new, beautiful you Yah created. Deep dive into life. Treasure the memories and go make new ones. Let those children live their best life and you go live yours.
Hugs to you. If you need a little help figuring it out, sign up for a discovery call and let’s turn the page of your next chapter together.