Snot bubbles...literal snot bubbles, as I contemplated the 1,564 miles that I would have to cross to hug my daughter again. Yes, you can bet I knew exactly how many miles it was. My heart broke, but I could do it, because I knew SHE could do it. I had dedicated the last eighteen years of my life to ensure that she could do it. I sacrificed some things on the way...including nearly my marriage, and often, parts of myself, to raise three daughters. I can’t say I loved every minute of it, that would be a lie, but I loved most of it. And now, my oldest was walking up the steps to her dorm, and I had to fly 1,564 miles away.
I have faced the same highs and lows of parenting that most moms have. I have doubted myself, more than I didn’t. I have questioned every decision I made. I have felt the loneliness of going it alone sometimes, as the primary parent at home. I have also faced some lows that I pray most parents never have to. I am raising a child with mental health struggles, that at times, have debilitated both of us. There is a raw feeling of despair that is unmatched when your child is suffering. The traditional path of schooling wasn’t the right fit for this one, so we floundered through homeschool options other non-mainstream schooling options. Thank God I am an educator, and had the background for this, because a lot of moms don’t. We made it. We both survived, and I am just now accepting that I am recovering from the trauma of her story too. Now, I have to let this one go too. And this one is giving me a whole new set of “letting go” anxieties. Because, any mom knows, God loves to give us kiddos that are opposite of each other, so when we think we’ve got a handle on a situation, we have to do a complete 180 with the next one.
Oh...and through it all, don’t forget the “baby.” The third child that keeps me up at night worrying that I am neglecting, because she is, after all, the third child. She has her own path. She also has silently felt the emotions of seeing her sisters off. Now, bless her heart, she is the one left with a needy mom. Because yes, I am needy now. These kids have been my identity. I have put myself last and have to remember who I am. I have to reinvent a relationship with adult children, remember that there is still a spouse in the house...what’s his name again?... and reintroduce myself to myself. I guarantee I am a completely different person than I was when I carried a tiny baby through that door.
I had to actually get sick before I learned to prioritize myself. I finally found my way to the right doctor that was able to help me see that the stress, and resulting intestinal issues were making me very sick. After some physical healing, I turned to emotional healing. I found an amazing acupuncturist, guide, and some coaches that helped me learn who I am, what I am made of, and what I have the potential to do. I finally found my own path, independent of my children’s. For decades, I have helped children, as a teacher, and owner of an education center,and parent. But I realized I have a calling to help moms. We cannot raise amazing humans if we are not our absolute best selves. I began an amazing soulful journey that has changed my trajectory and is now unstoppable.
I have learned to slow down and raise my children mindfully, so that I respond, rather than react. I have created beautiful routines that I protect as fiercely as I protect my babies, so that I remain whole and can give to them what they need, while still conserving energy for myself. I trust my intuition which makes me trust my decisions, and worry less! My children are my best friends, and I am confident that whether they are one mile away, or 1,564 miles away, they are ready to become amazing adults. They may have flown my nest and are on their way to phenomenal adventures of their own, but I raised them. Now it’s MY turn for phenomenal adventures.