Wednesday, October 22, 2008
When my daughter was little, she had the most adorable lisp, and she mispronounced a few words here and there. One of them was 'remember'. She always said, 'premember'. I was thinking about that the other day--'premembering' my little six year-old energy ball; full of life and questions. That little energy ball just turned 17--almost an adult. That fact has taken me by surprise.
I mean, I always knew this day was coming. One day she'd grow up and be ready to take flight, but it seemed so far off. It's like, yesterday I brought her home from the hospital, and today we're talking about college, cars and marriage. Yikes! Where did the time go?
I have been having such a hard time dealing with this new phase in life. For 17 years, I've been 'Mom'. It's been my 24/7 role. Pretty much everything I've done for the past 17 years has involved her. Or, if it didn't involve her, I worried how it would affect her. And now, this phase is coming to an end. I've heard of the empty nest syndrome, but I always pushed it far back in my mind. I thought of empty nesters as 50 year-old post menopausal women. I just turned 40, and Aunt Flo so far shows up quite regularly. And I'm wondering, what on earth am I going to do now?
A few years ago, I got a really bad case of baby fever. I wanted another baby so badly. I regretted not getting married and having other children. I felt I deprived my daughter of having a normal family with a dad and siblings. When I saw other women with babies or young toddlers, it just gripped my heart. I think really what I wanted was a chance to start over. I made so many mistakes as a young mother. Quite honestly I didn't get mothering until my daughter was probably about 10. I mean, I got it, but I didn't get it. I didn't really understand my biblical role as a mother--how important it is to God. I think in a lot of ways I slacked off in the mothering department because it was so hard to do it alone. I'm not saying I was a terrible mother. I don't think I was. I was there. I did what was necessary, but I don't think I always mothered from the heart, and I know I didn't always mother from God's perspective.
I have had to pray about that. It has been really hard. Mothering in general has a lot of guilt associated with it--I think even the best mothers feel guilty that they're not a good mother all the time, or that they've not done the best in the mothering department. Let's face it, we're human and we're going to make mistakes. What I know is that God's grace covers all those mistakes, all those hurts and all the other not so great things we do as mothers, and as human beings.
Lately, when I've been thinking about this new phase of life, I get just a bit excited. I'm still fairly young, and there's a lot of things I can do now that I couldn't do when my daughter was young. There're more ministry opportunities. There're more learning opportunities. Over the past couple of months, I've been hearing a lot of mothers with younger children talk about the issues they're facing--sassiness, daycare, potty training. I smile and tell them to cherish these years because they do go by so quickly, but there's just this teensy part of me that's like, 'Whew, I'm glad I don't have to deal with that any more!' But there's still that part of me that misses baby smell, and the pitter patter of little feet. I guess the difference is now I am ok with that season of my life being over and am looking forward to the new season.