Last month I met an old friend for dinner. This is something we had tried to do for years, but between raising kids, and caring for our aging Mom’s, time just got away from us. BUT, with both of us now having our children back at college for their sophomore year we knew we had to make it happen.
OR, it may never happen.
Once seated at our table, my first words to her were “How are you doing since the girls went back to school?”
Without any hesitation she stated sophomore year has been tougher than freshman year. I agreed, confessing I was downright depressed the first week or two.
I hate to say it, but it was refreshing to find out it wasn’t just me feeling this way.
Freshman year I had many texts, emails, and even a somewhat regular Sunday afternoon call from my Son. Plus, I had a few runs to the college to aid with roommate issues and moving. And, bring things he discovered he needed for the dorm.
This year however has been drastically different.
Which is good for my Son. It means he’s becoming more independent, self-confident and self-reliant.
For me however, it has been beyond challenging. The feeling of not being needed was overwhelming at times.
Before I let it get the best of me though, I knew I had to put my energy into something positive. I needed to be proactive and not dwell on the void.
With an endless list of unfinished projects staring me down, I set my sights on those, and created a plan of attack based on the time I had till my Son’s first visit home for Fall Break.
Knowing when my Son would be home I would fall back into Mom Mode and time would be limited. Which I’m quite happy to let happen.
The first project I chose was to finally get all the pics from my Son’s Senior Year of High School framed and hung. Plus frame and hang photos of the two of us from our beach trip post high school graduation.
Focusing on decorating my home with recent pictures of my Son and I most certainly lifted my spirits and got me out of the funk that was starting to consume me.
By placing images throughout the house that reminded me of our amazing journey together, I was able to let go of the feeling of not being needed. I consider them a representation of a job well done.
These pics have also helped during those times when I’m feeling lonely.
The thing I’ve discovered though is these images are a reminder that it is now time for me, which is something I am very much not used to. BUT something I need to learn to accept.
I have to own the truth that I raised a great kid and affirm I have instilled in him the skills he needs to prosper in college and beyond.
Will there still be times he needs me? Sure, but my every day now has to be about my future, and me which is weird to even say.
In so doing, I believe I will actually become a better Mom. Instead of my world revolving around my Son, I will once again become my own person, with a life outside of parenting. Just as my Son is building a new world of his own, so will I.
We will both be growing into the person we were born to be. Kind of a weird thought because being a parent is part of who I was born to be, but I am more than that and it’s that part of me that needs to be rediscovered.
I am also finding since becoming aware of this, our time together is even more enjoyable. Yes it’s still Mom and Son, but there’s a sense of maturity with the relationship, and a mutual respect for our individuality. There’s even a feeling of light heartedness at times.
Not that we don’t have serious discussions about his future, those will always exist. It just means my Son actually listens to what I have to say and there’s a real conversation.
Another aspect of discovering life outside of parenting includes reconnecting with old friends, and even family, which is what brought about the dinner mentioned earlier.
During the years raising my Son, I let my social life disappear. Which I was OK with. Becoming a Mom was a late-in-life gift and one I cherished every day through the highs and lows.
Besides, I was very involved with volunteering at my Son’s school, which seriously filled that void. Especially when high school band came into play. Band became our second family, which we both loved.
This was all well and good then, but once my Son graduated, helping out wasn’t the same. I tried my Son’s Freshman year in college, but it became ever apparent that it wasn’t the same with my Son not present.
Not having this volunteer time this school year made it even more obvious that I had no life outside of work. Volunteering with the music boosters was a huge part of my life for four years. I know I need to find another avenue to dedicate my time to, but that will take some research. I put my heart and soul into the boosters because it was for my Son and his fellow band mates. I want to be able to experience that same level of gratification so I need to be sure it’s for the right group.
While I research volunteer opportunities though, I will continue to reconnect with old friends, extend myself more for my family and keep on plugging away at my endless list of unfinished project.
AND, focus on building this blog as a business. Something I’m finding out will take a lot of work outside of the writing. Good thing I have time on my side.
SO, as the month of October draws to a close, I can honestly say I actually feel as though I am making strides on my road to rediscovering myself. The self-awareness I experienced since my Son started his Sophomore year has been the epiphany I greatly needed.
I will however be sure to keep myself busy, and focus on the positive, just to be safe. Having a mopey relapse is very much possible after my Son is home for a visit, so I want to guard against that.
Next home visit is Thanksgiving, so between now and I then I have set my sites on a new project, my Son’s Senior Year Scrapbook and Photo Album. This one will certainly take more time than the framed photos, but it will help to reinforce the amazing journey we had and still have yet to discover.
I’m hoping I can complete these by Christmas. A perfect gift for the two of us.
ON ANOTHER NOTE –
I wanted to give all my new readers a heads up on my posting schedule. At this time I post once a month at the end of the month. This is the schedule I adopted when writing “Waking the Walker” because it fit into my raising a child while working full-time schedule.
With my schedule somewhat different with my Son away at college, I am however considering adding a short inspirational and empowering weekly post in addition to the month end post.
This is something I’ve been percolating for a while, but have not quite settle on what to call it. So for now, you can continue to look for my post the last weekend of the month.
Thanks for your support.
© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Woman, 2019. All rights reserved.
Goddess Masthead © Pamela Danko-Stout and Waking the Woman, 2019. All rights reserved.
Women Dining – ©123rf – monographic
Photos from my personal collection
New Growth courtesy of 123rf