So this is it. This is really it for me.
My goals of raising children have officially been achieved. All those nights of staying up late doing laundry, making dinner at 1 a.m. for the next day just so things can run smoothly and I’ll have time to feed everyone before my son’s baseball game and have extra time to make sure my daughter’s homework is done.
All the days I made miracles happen when money was short and somehow everyone’s need were met. Analyzing my discipline methods on a daily basis and wondering if I was doing things right. This was my life. In my twenties I had this amazing energy and in my thirties I was fearless. For nearly two decades my every move was solely based on my children and I was hyped for it all.
I turned down happy hours and couple’s weekend trips because the way I saw it I just had to. I wouldn’t say I put my life on hold, I hate that phrase actually. My life was never on hold, it was in full motion just like I wanted it to be. Like many of us raised by baby boomers, I wanted to do things differently than how I was raised. I wanted to be an overachiever in parenting. Well, I guess you could say mission accomplished. And now, I am left wondering what in the hell do I do now?
I’m in that process parents often find themselves in when the kids go off to college and move out. We’re remodeling and throwing out nearly everything we’ve owned. We no longer have a crowd of teens running through our house and I can finally, FINALLY decorate my house that fits more of MY personality rather than the décor that says “chaos lives here.”
But as I sit here alone in the middle of this house, this home that if walls could talk would bring me to my knees with the memories that were created here. So I sit here and wonder how in the hell did I get here so quickly? I know, I know, the songs about don’t blink and you’re gonna miss this sent warnings but still, nothing prepared me for this.
Here I am, surrounded by all of this memorabilia of the people that use to live here. As a family, we’ve collected so many things over the years and now I am the only one struggling with what to do with it all.
Many times, I felt as if I grew up with my kids. And in a weird way, we kind of really did grow up together. No one ever tells you that having kids early in life will make you feel old sooner. I am a middle-aged woman but I am nowhere near in the middle of raising my kids. I’ve long passed the middle and I’m afraid I’m right at the end now.
My kids will soon be 19 and 21 and I have done all I can do for my contribution to the world. So now what? What do I do now that I am in what could be called the third quarter of my life?
I already feel as if I have lived a whole life. I am 41 years old and I have never felt my age before until now. The other day I noticed my hands were aging. Have you ever looked down at your hands or another part of your body and thought “Oh wow, so that’s really happening.” This is real life. I’m aging. I really did it and sometimes I can’t believe the role I was given. I remember when I first started out as a mom I was so unsure about all of this and even questioned why God picked me of all people to do this. Now, I sit here with my aging hands looking back at my life trying to figure out where to go from here.
In a weird sick way, I get such a thrill when one of them call me that they are sick. It gives me something to do. And when my daughter asks for an explanation of the words “routing number” I make sure to give her the long version and use examples and pictures. There’s nothing like feeling needed from your grown children.
But just like that first day I became a mom and within minutes I had it all figured out, I know I will figure this out too. I will always be a mom even though my kids are no longer attached at my hip. I will find my new strength in my forties. I did pretty well when it came to being a mom and I’m sure I can be just as good at a few other things.
I’ve drawn the conclusion that as I search for a plan in my new life I know one thing is for sure. The common denominator when it comes to being a parent at any stage of life is worry! I will always worry about my children no matter what quarter of life I am in. Worrying will definitely be a part of my plan.
They say every generation of parenting improves and I hope these aging hands of mine will live to see my very own children’s hands age just as mine are.
Jennifer Lee Hussein is the mother of two grown, yes grown children. She is a rookie empty-nester. She has a twenty year old daughter who is a flight attendant which basically means she is making a living staying away from her dramatic and needy mother. She also has an eighteen year old son who is attending college in Missouri on a baseball scholarship.