Last year I embarked on onto a new road with many curves and uncertainties. When our current circumstances change and we need to find a bright light within to guide us again, the only way I have found that works is to ‘get busy,’ ‘explore new options,’ and ‘choose a new beginning.’
When my son graduated from high school last year, the 18 years that marked his steps also were mine, too. As all mothers (and fathers) know that have already experienced empty nest blues, this is a time of nostalgia, when a parent remembers, looks back, and traces the years of each step with their child. The birth, to baby books, to crying jeers in the parking lots of many stories to digging for binkies under couches for countless minutes, while you hope you can find that one tool to sooth your baby.
“It Goes fast.”
I remember hearing that. I always thought, “They don’t know what they’re talking about.” Time stretches out forever in a day and 24 hours is too long to figure out the increments of time…but that is just what a mother does. They coddle, care, raise, love sacrifice and hope that all is well for their infant.
One day you wake up and your child is in kindergarten. You also make a new career leap in the world of advertising and PR writing and then become a newspaper columnist all because you make the decision to keep your son at the center of your father’s world because you are no longer married. You hit countless deadline hours and wonder if you will ever catch up with time. You feel out of sync with so much to do and so much to think about, like for example, what’s for dinner? You love eating supper with him when he was that young age. You say grace over every meal, then have little conversations about his life, like kindergarten dramas, how he likes his teacher, and discuss the kitties and how much he loves them. Bath, books and bed are next.
One day you wake up and your son is in junior high. You now work in an art gallery in La Jolla. You are also married to a new wonderful man that is a terrific stepfather, too. You write a bi-weekly newspaper column for the local newspaper in San Diego. You enjoy driving down to through the curvy windy roads that over look the cliffs of the beach in La Jolla. You enjoy telling the stories of artists like Norman Rockwell, Chagall and Dr. Seuss to the visitors that want to buy are at the art gallery. You fly home during the holidays. You visit grandparents in the snow. Then you hope desperately that your plane will take off before a blizzard arrives. When the flight finally does, your son squeezes your hand and and you both smile because the sunshine awaits in California.
One day you wake up and your son is driving in high school. You and your husband watch the clock at curfew time and count the minutes before he walks in door. He does. Life continues…You become a judge at speech and debate tournaments because that’s what the parents must do; make chili, bring bags of oranges each year for Winter Classic, one of the largest debate tournaments in the area.
One day you wake up and you receive letters from prestigious colleges on the East Coast and California for your son. For one small moment, your heart is stuck inside your throat, full of overwhelming joy. You feel as if all of the “Miffy, Miffy, we love You,” and quiet moments of motherhood mean something. You stand frozen next to the mailbox under the perfect blue sky. The pride you feel is so big, you walk with your back aligned in the golden sunshine, hugging the mail all the to your doorstep.
One day your son graduates from high school. Many families that love him come together for celebration and remembrance. The next thing you know, you drop his things at college next to the cliffs and ocean surf, then watch him skate away on his skateboard into a ray of sunshine, blinding you from which direction he was headed. You stand there frozen in time for at least five minutes. You finally understand the saying “It goes fast,” as you hold back tiny tears walking back to your car parked in the parking garage.
You carry on.
You drive home, crawl in bed and are grateful you have lived such perfect sunshiny years, hoping this kind of happiness continues on for you, too.
You wake up and you have registered for a 200 hour yoga certification as the great answer to ‘what’s next.’ You find yourself immersed in Sanskrit language, kinesioslogy and begin to understand the body in a new way that changes your own perspective of YOU. You learn how to teach yoga poses in small groups with other inspired young adults and you wonder if the rock of empty sorrow from motherhood will lift…
The answer is yes.
You rediscover yourself. You take tests about muscles in the body, practice poses, type cues into excel spreadsheets so you can remember your one hour flow for teaching yoga. Without knowing it, you have lit your own flame within and life has turned over with the next sunrise.
You wonder what that saying means, “don’t look back,” when if we don’t try to understand the years behind us and what we once were, how can we become something new and beautiful? You know the only way to discover a new beginning is to make one happen. You love your experience so much, you carry on and take the 300 hour yoga course next in the following year. Then you understand that motherhood remains, too.