Rayanne is a regular contributor to intrepidNOW, writing about how to be your superhumanSELF, and battle the fear that plagues all of us…
The last of the New Year salutations have been said and we settle into 2015. I love this time of year: the renewals, smiles, and the brisk feelings of hope for a better month, better year. I’d love for each Monday to feel this way, a good goal.
One night last week, a new fear struck a sharp chord in my heart, ringing loud and sadly true. Just when I think I have successfully completed one dance, a new song begins. It was supposed to be a normal Thursday night. Work closed out for the day, a brilliant sunset accompanied my glass of zin, as I posted a couple pics of said sunset. As the sun lit the sky on fire, my glass was emptied – and I breathed in and smiled. My sweet dog, Spikey, stayed close by – I think he must have sensed impending gloom. A phone call and text from my boyfriend came across the wireless wires – he, too, must have sensed my gloom.
I walked about my living room and turning on every light, cuddled up on my couch and stared at my dark fireplace while the TV glowed, sound silenced as images of the latest season of American Idol flirted before my eyes. And with a sip and an audible gulp, tears spilled over my lashes at the realization that this was not just the end, and a new beginning. I hoped.
American Idol, a guilty pleasure for years, used to be bonding time with my younger children, I know – silly. We’d watch twice weekly or catch up on DVR, make our bold predictions and watch as the competition heated up and extreme tenacity and incredible talent shined through. I sat alone in a room filled with light, which seemed to grow ever darker. My children had grown up. The younger two of four still living with me, a single mom – but they, a senior in high school and a freshman in college who both have jobs and significant others, have better things to do than watch American Idol with their seemingly together mom.
That moment, I felt anything but together.
A New Fear
I have heard it all:
- This is what you have been working for – successful kids who take care of themselves.
- Would you rather have them hanging around home dependent upon you forever?
- Grandkids will feel this void.
- You have a dog, right?
- You’ll enjoy the quiet.
- Your children will never really leave you.
- This is just the next phase.
- You have your work.
- You are never really alone.
These are all wonderful, thoughtful, kind and true sentiments. But, for me, my new fear really has nothing to do with being alone. The fear is that I didn’t do my job as mom good enough. Did I do the best I could? Did I care for my children the way they really needed? Where did I fail and how can I ever make it up to them?
And the biggie – how do I get over missing this? Will I ever get over missing my babies? Will I ever stop feeling the empty hole of the empty nest?
Yes, logic – of course, I know I will. But I never expected the pain and fear to be as real as they are. It seems like yesterday when I was getting 2-4 hours of sleep max as I was up all night with a new baby or a sick toddler or worrying about my newly-minted teenagers who enjoyed testing their freedoms. I mean, truly, wasn’t it just last week when my four children attended four different school? Pre-school, elementary, junior high, and high school?? Or rushing from work to make karate or softball, soccer, and baseball practices. Recitals and parties, play rehearsals and driver training. And most recently, Friday night football games, dances, and proms.
Not being needed should be a relief instead there is just an ache, like a phantom limb.
Needing this Fear
I am not sure I want it to pass – I want to have earned the right to miss them. And I continually think, did my mom feel this way? She never said, and I never knew. I’m sorry, mom if you did. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t write or didn’t call. You were and are a wonderful mother. I hope I can always make you know that, feel that.
This is the big dance. And my partner is a changing life – a new look at work, and a deep sigh as “The Cat’s in the Cradle” becomes my soundtrack. Temporarily.
“I believe the key to happiness is: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.” Elvis Presley
Sounds like a great song. I’ll give it an 8, but ask me next week if I can dance to it.
Latest posts by Rayanne Thorn (see all)
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- HR Latte Kicks off new Series: #Life with guest Derek Zeller - March 22, 2016