Wednesday, April 12, 2006



Separate Lives

"What are you going to do with all your time when we are gone?", my oldest asked me.

We were discussing how life is going to change for the family when TP goes off to college in the fall, and then again in three years when DQ leaves. Already, I feel the shift in family life - less time together due to extracurricular activities, going to work after school and on weekends, and the time spent with friends. This shift is preparing all of us for life apart from our little family - and I keep on reminding myself that this has always been the ultimate goal.

But what made me smile is that the question which TP asked reflects a certain image that mothers are often thought of as people who "don't have a life" outside of their family. In all honesty, I don't get offended by that image at all. If anything, I find it to be a compliment, because to me, that means that my image to others is one of being devoted to my family. That image is not something which should be made fun of, nor should it be a cause for derision. It should be one of respect and pride. A mother puts her children's needs ahead of her very own while raising her children. The time will come again, all too soon, when the house will be empty, and the mother can once again focus on other matters which bring her joy and peace.

I explained to my daughters that I will be fine when they are gone, that I will find plenty of activities to occupy my time, but that nothing could ever compare to the satisfaction and contentment that I have experienced over the years being a mom. I told them that I would miss them, and I would look forward to their visits, and I gently reminded them that I did "have a life" before they were born. They wondered if I would go back to work full-time, and I said I didn't know for sure. What I do know, and what I didn't tell them, is how empty this big house will be without them, and how their departure will leave a huge void in my heart. I don't ever want them to feel guilty about leaving, or to feel hesitant about going off on their own. I want them to grab onto life and experience it to its' fullest without having to worry about me.

It will be a different stage in my life - an unfamiliar territory which can be frightening yet exhilarating. A whole new set of opportunities will be beckoning. So, I can't help but think about how my stage in life will parallel theirs as we face our new beginnings together. Separate lives, yet still connected by our love for each other and our history which we shared together. Separate lives, yet we'll always be able to pick up where we left off. I can't help but think that this new stage of our lives will be as rich and rewarding as the past one, but in different ways.

12 Comments:

At 12:19 PM, Blogger HeyJules said...

Sure, you'll miss them. Sure, you'll have to make adjustments. Sure, it will be quiet and lonely at first.

And then you'll start writing more and counseling more and helping out at your church more and then you'll join a few women's groups or take up a few new causes and try painting or yoga and maybe buy a new car that has a sunroof for those long drives in the country when you and your husband talk about where to go on your next vacation...

You're going to be JUST FINE.

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger Shawnda said...

Your life will no doubt be as rich and rewarding in different ways because Christ is not finished in your life!!! As long as He keeps you on this earth - He has GREAT plans for you!!! Though this season will take an adjustment time, the Lord is going to bring you great joy in what is ahead, I fully believe that! Thanks for sharing - your thoughts are such sweet insights into your season of life....that all of us mom's, by the Lord's grace, will face at some point!!!

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger Gayla said...

Valerie, this was such a good post. We're facing it ourselves in a few years - and we have only one, so all the 'first' as well as the 'lasts' are in him. :) He started driving last July, and boy did that ever change things. Just one more step in the independence process. He has a part-time job now, so...

I'm glad God takes us through these steps incrementally!

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger Jeff H said...

Amen, sister.

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger Mrs. Diamond said...

sometimes my kids drive me looney and send me to seek solace in the bathroom, but when I think of my house without them...oh my word... i'm crying.

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger Alabama said...

Well, I have a long time to go until this happens to me so in the meantime I'll just keep coming back here and watching you. ;-)

And yes, I'm taking notes. LOL

 
At 12:58 AM, Blogger JodiTucker said...

Yep, another most excellent and ever-so-true post!!.....I am forwarding it to my two college kids and the jr. in HS because it expresses my sentiments better than I could. Raising them has been a great joy and privilege, but giving them back to God (even from when they were very little) is even more exciting to watch Him mold them now as adults. The biggest plus is I can now act like my regular lunatic self without embarrassing them because they are not around as much!

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

Your posts always make me think. Thanks for doing it again.

 
At 7:41 PM, Blogger Nettie said...

Wow, that was an awesome analysis, Val.

 
At 12:24 AM, Blogger eugene said...

or you can always adopt more biracial children to pass your time.

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger Julana said...

Happy Easter!

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

It's been almost a week, yet no one has mentioned the joys of you and your husband having the opportunity to get wild and crazy with one at all odd hours of the day or night without worrying about the kids hearing or worse (seeing! Ewwwwww!) you. Sure, we're old(er) but we're not dead. Christian married couples actually "get" eros better than those who make it mere recreation or worse, commerce. Not to put any pressure on the Old Man, of course...

 

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