This fall has brought bigger changes in my life than the fall 3 years ago when Ex moved out. This fall, my identity left. And I didn't know who I was. I'm still figuring that out, but finally realizing why I was feeling this was has gone a long way to healing me.
Yes, you're right, the Captain and I have officially taken a break, but of course I still talk to him and he sends me the most amazing and insightful emails. And he suggested something last week that I have been mulling over. And like Charlie Brown shouts out in his Christmas Special, "THAT'S IT!!" I have had a revelation.
No laughing now when you see how obvious it probably is.
For 18 years I have been a mom. OK I've been a wife, a law student, a business owner, a lawyer, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend. But first and foremost and above all else, I have been a mom.
I know how to do mom. I'm good at mom. At least I'm good at "full time mom." This far-away mom stuff? Not so good. I'm the kind of mom who bakes 125 cupcakes for the twin birthday - two classrooms, soccer practice, Brownie party, football practice. Yes one birthday they had ALL those things on their birthday and they wanted cupcakes for every event, so I baked. A lot. It was fun! And they were happy. We still laugh about that day and the cupcakes that were everywhere. I went to every game I could (which was almost every game). I volunteered in the classroom when certain teachers asked for such things. I went on field trips when the kids wanted me to. I played games in the backyard. I played video games, board games, taught them to sing & dance. I was involved. I tried hard not to be "that parent": the one who interferes. I made them stand up for themselves, sort out their problems with teachers, take responsibility for their actions. But I was always there for them.
Now they are gone. And along with all the things they took to college - their computers, posters, cds, bedding, shoes, and pjs - they seem to have taken my identity. I have been so focused on the kids, particularly this past year when I knew it was the last year, that I kind of forgot about me. All the sudden I have lots of free time and energy, yet I am so unfocused. I flit from thing to thing, from place to place in my head. Yet every day I keep searching for that elusive something.
Tuesday night, while I was home with the kids, cooking, laughing, joking, genuinely having a blast, the house full of their old friends, the feeling of overwhelming happiness, safety, contentment came over me. And then it hit me. The things the Captain said came back to me. He suggested that perhaps I have been so focused on the kids, I never truly dealt with my feelings about Ex, about the Captain, about my career, about my life. And now with the noise and bustle and chaos of the children gone, I am left with the quiet and the question, "What happened to me, Who am I now, and who do I want to be when I grow up?" Those are tough questions that I wasn't necessarily ready to face.
I think now I am ready to face them. Maybe that's what the bluster was about the day I proudly (prematurely) declared I was going to Take Back My Life. I was catching a glimpse of it, but only just figuring out where I really need to go.
I'm not really much closer to that goal today than I was that day. But I think now I understand some of the angst I am feeling inside. I'm still not ready for a relationship. I am taking baby steps trying to figure out M.E. But at least I feel like I have some direction, some sense of what it is I'm trying so hard to figure out.
Yeah, I know, OBVIOUS! But sometimes when you're in it, it's hard to see it. Like seeing the forest through the trees.....