I have spent the past two months in Australia, gave myself two months off and for a good reason. I wanted to be fully present with my family and especially the kids because I have no idea when I might see them again.
That is a pretty scary thought as a mother or any parent. It is a hard pill to swallow! Yes, we have social media, yes we have facetime, but there will never be a replacement for real one on one interaction. I am grateful that technology has allowed us to at least interact virtually. Still, wow being at home, as a family unit and with my extended family, it can never really top that.
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The strangest thing ever is that I took very few photos in the past two months, yet I was more present than I have been in years. I did not want to dwell on the fact that we only have such a small amount of time together; instead, I tried to enjoy every second I could.
Today, the first two members of our tribe have left, and we are now down to three. How quiet a house of three is compared to what it has been like the past two months. With friends and family popping in and out, made this mamma bear a very happy one.
For most, the sound of silence is a welcoming one, but for me, it leaves a massive hole in my heart. A section of me feels quite selfish for wanting them to stay forever, always be under the one roof, and need me forever. The other part knows that giving them the freedom to move on, grow up, and spread their wings, is what the past 22 years have been all about as parents. You are there to help them on this journey, not hinder them from finding their way.
Each of my three children is about to embark on new adventures, start new things, grow for different reasons. I know that this is what motherhood is all about, feeding them, teaching them, protecting them and then giving them the courage to fly away.
I know that this is just the next stage of living, the next phase of being a parent. Although I know all these things, it still weighs heavily on my heart. I know that they are all ready for the next stages of their lives; I think it is me that isn’t quite ready. I wonder if this is the downfall of having children at a young age?
The next step in our lives is supposed to be the part where my husband and I head off to explore the world on our own, after raising our kids. But there are two flaws in this worldly plan – 1 is that most families don’t live away from their children at such a young age and 2- they don’t start having children when they are pretty much kids themselves.
I think it’s like any relationship that enters a new stage; we need to take time to mourn the loss of what was so that we can step forward and enjoy the unique relationship that is about to begin. It is hard to let go, it is hard not to look back, and it is hard to hold back the tears that keep spilling down your face when you least expect it.
It is hard for me not to wear my heart of my sleeve. It is who I am, after all! But for the first time, I will be strong, so that they too can be stronger and step into the unknown with their head held high and their wings stretched wide. And to know that this mamma bear is prouder than you will ever know.
Five Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go
Letting go is difficult in any situation, whether it is a broken relationship or loved ones passing. We all grieve in different ways for a relationship that no longer exists. Parenting is the same, although the old relationship is no more, there is a new exciting relationship that is just around the corner with your adult children.
Cry it out!
There is some belief in having a good old cry. There are many scientifically proven reasons why crying improves your mood, releases toxins and hormones that cause stress and anxiety. Sure, it may make us seem more vulnerable (especially when the tears are in front of others), but we all have them, we just aren’t used to sharing them in public places.
Although it is hard to come to terms with the fact, the past is the past. It is the one thing that will help you heal, and by accepting the change, it will allow you the luxury of being excited about the new stage in your life. Change is hard for anyone, but the faster you accept it, the quicker you will find the peace you need to move on.
Start a new hobby or embrace an old one
We all know that keeping ourselves busy is a distraction of our thoughts, but it is also a way to fulfil our time. Time we might not have had when the kids were little when our lives revolved around them. Now it is time to go out and enjoy activities that fulfil you and your interests.
Your friends understand and are there for you when you least expect them to be. Your family, too, for that matter. It doesn’t matter who it is, but it is important to not bottle it all up, but have someone to talk to, so you can get it off your chest. They don’t have to have lived your situation, but they understand and know you! So reach out.
Journal your thoughts
Not everyone journals their thoughts to the public like I do (ugh)! You may want to start a diary and journal your thoughts and feelings each day or at least when you want to get it off your chest. From personal experience, it works.