I'm a little unsure about putting this all out here for the world to read but here we go. I've entered a new phase in life these days - an awkward stage, as the dear old lady I knew growing up used to call that difficult, adolescent stage between child and adult. I no longer have babies - my youngest is four and although he's small for his age and we treat him too much like a baby, he's not one. I don't quite have adult children yet - my oldest is fifteen and while he likes to remind me how many months it is until he starts practicing driving and I see his years of school are dwindling, he's not there yet. All of this goes together to equal an awkward stage and I've been trying for a while now to figure out how to navigate.
I remember years ago when I was maybe 13 or 14. The Mennonite churches in the surrounding area where we lived in Arkansas had, what we called, the Arkansas Fellowship Meetings. Every year, the different churches would gather together for a day of preaching and food and fellowship. Well, that particular year, someone must have gotten creative and they had everyone split into separate groups after lunch. If I remember correctly, my parents were to talk to the men's and lady's groups on the subject of Mid-life Crisis. I'm not sure why that stands out in my memory? Possibly because it was the first time I had heard the term or maybe because my dad made endless wise cracks about things being because of a mid-life crisis; I don't think he felt like he had one at the time!
I think maybe I could benefit from hearing my mom's talk about now.
I keep saying I want to enjoy these years and navigate the changes and the ...uh... aging... gracefully. I keep saying that but I finally asked myself yesterday, so how are you planning to do it? I haven't heard an answer yet.
I understand I am running a great risk putting this all out here. I'm sure I'll hear a lot of, "How old are you? Oh, you're only 38. You aren't even that old! You could have several more children, what are you talking about?" True, I could. And I might, who knows. That doesn't change the fact that my oldest is 15 and my youngest is four right now and life is different. It doesn't change the fact that while I am only 38, time flies. If I don't start figuring out now how I'm going to enjoy each stage and navigate the changes gracefully, chances are it won't happen when I'm in the middle of it.
They say experience is the best teacher. It would be nice sometimes if there were a way to get that experience without actually experiencing the stuff, if you know what I mean? There are plenty of women who have navigated these waters before me - done it well, I might add. How did they do it, I wonder?
How did they make the switch from mother-to-children to mother-to-adult? How did they embrace the wistful sadness of no more little people in the house and, face it, the inevitable reality that their absence means you're getting old? How did they gracefully adapt to the change of identity that comes with all this change of who I am?
I don't know how many women who read my blog fall into the "experience" bracket, I'm guessing there are at least a few. I would so love to learn from your wisdom and experience! Would you share with those of us floundering in the waters of change? I could try to guilt you into it with the whole biblical idea of the older women teaching the younger but I'd much rather just have you share because you want to. If you have anything to share on this subject please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to compile all your "experience" into another blog post because I know there are plenty of other moms in my shoes.
Please don't be shy! I won't use your names without permission and I won't even share it here if you don't want me to but I would really love to hear from you. Maybe you know someone you would like to hear from on this subject - share this post with them so we can all benefit!
Now I'm gathering my courage, hitting publish and holding my breath.