Almost a year ago, I wrote about the death of the role of mother. Of course I will always be a mother to my three children, but not in the same, every day, home school, stay-at-home mom way that I’ve been for the past nineteen years. You see, I’m enrolling my youngest into college…and in the flurry of excitement, visiting schools, filling out FASFA’s, scholarship applications and auditions, I hardly have time to feel anything…at least until the house is empty and all I can hear is the dog snoring and the refrigerator running. Because now, I am alone with my thoughts, much like the day I realized that I was the mother of an eighteen year old, I grieve. But this is far worse, all that there is left to who I was before motherhood and home schooling is a shadow.
I have heard mothers scoff at the place I find myself in. I have heard them criticize ladies before me who have wrestled with this identity crisis. They have whispered behind the back of this pained one, “That’s why I don’t believe in home education. If her focus was more on her husband, she wouldn’t be so lost right now. Home schooling is far too child centered, and not nearly enough helpmate centered.” I hope that our choice to educate our children and everything else that we have done was Christ centered and not people centered at all.
My husband recently lost his job; a job that he loved dearly. He anguished over it, and grieved over the fact that he was no longer associated with this company that he so loved and admired…and he only worked there for 2 years! I have been on this journey for almost ten times longer than he has, and yet no one blames him or thinks that he’s silly for feeling disappointed, and maybe even a little depressed. After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s normal to be saddened at the end of a journey. It’s kind of like the let down you feel when you come home from vacation, or after all of the Christmas presents have been opened; the “what now?” feeling.
I suddenly have all of this time on my hands, and I don’t want to fill it with just anything. I don’t want to give over my future to the first thing that comes along. So I guess in addition to grief, I feel a little anxiety, like a girl just out of high school who is deciding whether to get married or go to college. I mean this is the rest of my life, I must choose wisely! And though the feeling may be similar to the high schooler, I don’t have as much time to fix it if I make a mistake.
In the midst of all of this confusion, I do feel a glimmer of hope and excitement. I know that when I acknowledge Him…He will direct my paths. And His paths always drip with abundance. My prayer is that I don’t bend under the pressure of uncertainty, but rather that I bow humbly offering my life to His Majesty knowing that He has plans for me, and that they are good. So now I’ll encourage myself like David did. Stay still, and know that He is God. Don’t bend, but bow, these must be the words I choose to live by. For I am out of control, and let me tell you I’m not loving it. However, deep inside my heart I know that this is the only place to be; the place where his hand turns my heart like a compass to new lands and adventures planned out, just for me.
25 thoughts on “Eulogy to the Death of A Role Part Deux”
Lovely. And honest. And painful. I don’t homeschool my kids, but I get this. The universe shifts when you have children; why shouldn’t it shift when they leave?
My dear Leanne,
How I treasure your words, both on your blog and your comments. You are so right, I remember wondering if I could give my first back, because there was no way that I was ready!! We rarely feel ready for the next step in life.
Oh…I get this…I have homeschooled for the past 24 years…I have 3 older children…some married with children…then a 7 year gap…2 at home…graduation in May. I do believe these transitions in life…college…marriage can be more difficult for homeschooling moms…but that is not a bad thing…what we daily forged in the trenches with our kids is a bond that is tight…but it does have elasticity to it…but we do feel it each time it is stretched…
There is mixed emotions at this new threshold…sadness with excitement mixed in…
Blessings as your find your true north…
Thanks Roseann! It’s good to know that I am walking together with someone at the same time!
This is a lovely thoughtful post. I am actually going to be writing about feeling abandoned by your “adult children” in one of my blog posts in the next week or so. I’d like to ping back (add a link from your post) to my blog post when I write it if that’s ok. 🙂
Oh yes. I know this feeling. I will graduate my baby in May after many years of this homeschooling journey. I still don’t even know quite what to say about how I feel…many emotions, many emotions.
Lisa! It’s good to know that we will be on this journey together. We’ll have to start a former home school mom support group! :}
Although I’m not a homeschooling mom, I am a very present third grade classroom mom. I only have one child, but our lives are intertwined as I believe scripture defines. We live life together ~ My husband, my son and myself. It’s not a competition, it’s a family. Even now, the anticipation of the future, the moment when he walks out the door and everything changes, causes me to grow slightly anxious. All I ask is that I have the time, strength and effort to pour all of me into him. That’s mu current direction. When it leaves home, I believe that direction will change, too. Until then, I pour…
I love those last four words, for it is what all of us are to do. Pour…As an only child, I understand the dynamics of your home. It’s lovely. Thank you for your encouragement.
Thank you for sharing so honestly about what is a big transition and loss (as you said) even as you are also excited about what is new/possible…it made me think of what Norman Wright says in his book, Recovering from the Losses of Life (hopefully, the correct title) and how he advises parents to write a good-bye letter releasing their children at different stages, such as college, and marriage…praying that you will continue to experience His peace during this transition.
Trying to validate your feelings, Kimberly 🙂
Excellent idea! I think I will do just that. I have a few letters to catch up on!
Enjoy this new phase and adventure. You are wise to take your time and not rush into something new. Savor the possibilities.
I will savor the possibilities, because with Him all things are possible.
I think it would be abnormal not to feel this way. The empty nest is a huge transition with lots of challenges and joys.
Thank you so much for hosting the prose group on Thursdays!
I agree. Transitions often feel uncomfortable, but if we trust Him with our future they always bring joy!
i get this, even though i have a few more years before we start the launching from the nest. my experience has been that even moms with kids in school struggle once they are all gone. so it’s just thoughtlessness that breeds comments like the ones you mentioned. i think it’s a MOM thing, not necessarily just a HOMESCHOOL MOM thing.
praying for you as you experience this significant life change, for that’s what it is. allow yourself the time to sink into it. i love the sense of anticipation, for we know that God isn’t done with you yet, right? He’s simply opening the next chapter. and i’m guessing you’ll have lots to write about it. i’m looking forward to hearing all about it 🙂
You are always so encouraging! I love hearing from other moms about this part of our journey. Thanks!
You will find a path…I’m certain of it. When I retired, I did not hit an end but a lovely transition that isn’t as demanding as the previous career. Idea: Have you thought of perhaps joining a tutoring agency…or starting one? You have raised three successful children, I’m sure you could tutor. It would provide structure, some income and you could continue to take children (and grateful parents) under your wing. Just a thought. My mother used her empty nest years to earn several degrees. My thoughts will be with you as you transition.
Sweet Georgette! You are so kind. I have thought about tutoring, but my strengths are in literature and writing, and there isn’t as much need for tutoring in these as they are more objective…I would love to write, but I need to find some other ways to get my stuff “out there”. I will be going to a writer’s conference in a couple of months. Perhaps this will provide some direction?
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
I’m already dreading the day my kids are gone and I still have several years ahead of me before that happens! Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t already be thinking that far ahead and already worrying about what it will be like with them grown and living their own lives, but my mind has a mind of it’s own.
I’m sure it will be bittersweet.
Good luck with the next part of your life, I pray you find your path. I know God will lead you into whatever is next and it will be great.
I think that as far as your preparation, ie. school, or whatever you may need for the rest of your assignment, that thinking about what lays ahead is a good idea…but as far as the painful part, there’s no reason to visit before the time, except maybe so that you can savor the moment as Ann Voskamp teaches. His grace is sufficient!
He will most certainly direct your path! 🙂 wishing you much happiness wherever your path may lead.
This touched me deeply because my children left home sixteen years ago, and I still grieve sometimes. I love to visit them and have a relationship with them as adults. It’s fabulous! But I can’t ever get enough of them, and it hurts each time we have to leave them. I keep myself busy with volunteer work and writing, now that I’m retired, and that helps a lot. But in the quiet times, I still feel sad. I guess that’s the price we pay for loving so deeply. The price is worth it.
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