Dawning…

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Last week my youngest became a Sophomore in high school. Next week, my oldest daughter will be a bride. In each of their lives (and as a mom, for me as well) these are defining moments, yet somehow I sit here wondering what is next for me… I have all of these goals, that haven’t really changed much, over the years. My life has. Time has. Timing has. Things around me have changed, like headlights on a late night busy highway, speeding through… These goals, hopes, plans and dreams remain. Unattained, unstepped towards, Un…

And suddenly I am forced to self reflect and of course I come to the conclusion that this simply will not do…

It seems like the majority of themes in books about 30-40 somethings is that marriages and families fall apart because the characters stopped. They stopped seeing each other, stopping feeling seen by others, or stopped caring about something, stopped pursuing something, stopped something. In my own life, it does feel like the majority of my milestones happened long ago, and suddenly I live vicariously through the milestones of my kids. That can’t be right, can it? I mean, surely? Is that at the heart of why marriages fail, affairs happen, careers tank, etc? Is it because people just needed something that was theirs? Some milestone to mark an age and tether them to a time period and bring them back to their own lives a little? Because, to me this sounds partly insane and partly 100% sound.

All of that to say, I’m not doing any of those things, but as I consider the fact that it has been a really, really long time since anything in my life happened that was for me, I got to wondering what happens when someone else feels the same. And I don’t mean that all whiny, like “What about me??? Why don’t I ever get to do anything???” I mean, as adults who are married and parents, we lose ourselves a little. (or sometimes, a lot.) When you throw into the mix special needs parenting, it’s even tougher. Actually, this brings to mind the movie Catfish. Have you seen it? If you have, then maybe you realize I just illustrated my own question with a cinematic answer…

Maybe, as people, we are wired to hit a panic switch (which often screws up our whole lives) whenever we start to feel irrelevant, but we ignore the warning signs for so long. Like, while I would love for my husband to always remember to place me on a pedestal and to think that spending time with me is the absolute best and greatest thing on the planet, this isn’t realistic and it’s kind of unfair of me to expect for him to be the source of my fulfillment. Just as I know personally that those Hallmark penned cards which say the best Mother’s Day things feel lovely to read, the adoration spewed my way won’t always look like that. Sometimes it will resembled adoration or love and the majority of the time it may be joy sucking. No one ever promised easy and it’s not on my kids to be my reason to wake up and keep living. Choosing to actively love them is a great way to live, but they don’t deserve the responsibility of my fulfillment. They can never  win with that. My life, my goal achievements, my successes, my __________________, those are on me. Yours are on you. We all own our own. So often we place blame, blame on our spouses, kids, parents, gardener… (Maybe not the gardener.)

I’m questioning if the greatest tragedy in my life might be that of this fog of distraction I slip into. The one where meal plans and household chores consume me. Within the safety of those confines I have a purpose and I am needed. For the twelve seconds that my home is clean and looking magazine spread worthy, I feel satisfaction. Within that frame of mind though, there is no love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my husband or family don’t love me. I’m saying they can never love me enough to make up for the fact that as long as I hide there, without taking personal risks, making personal strides and attempting personal growth (and failing, because we learn when we fail,) I will likely grow a little sadder. Maybe sad is the wrong word. Maybe more accurately, I will become less and less me.

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