"So, how long HAS it been since you slept in your place without partner, kids, or dogs?" Was a question that a dear friend asked over a glass of wine one night. I found myself with the dogs still at the kennels, kids with my ex - and me, gloriously ALONE, for the first time in... Well, how long had it been?
I honestly could not remember such a moment in the last 20+ yrs - My bed, my house - No other heart beats... 20-25 yrs?! Up until that moment.
In the mayhem that is life with several teenagers -
rotating assortments of kids,
unexpected plans, need to be driven to ____,
need for FOOD, late night movies, debris left in their wake, awakening at 1 am to walk the house - make sure all are tucked in, turn off the rest of the lights.... In the midst of all THAT - it has been hard to realize the transition that I am undergoing. But that moment, that question, provided a jolt of recognition.
I am in a period of natural life transition. While attempting to embrace the drama, chaos, and privilege of this stage of life with my kids, I recognize this is a fleeting life phase. And yes, I appreciate that I will miss it when it is over. BUT, I also am realizing that I have not lived for ME in 20+ yrs. Now, I don't mean for that to sound terribly dramatic; I don't know if that's a parent thing, a mom thing, or just a me thing. Upon getting married - I became part of that partnership - to the point I even lost my name - we were a unit/ a thing - we were called "<insert his name> and Melissa". My identity, self became part of something else, something more. Then I became a parent. Their needs over mine; care, welfare, etc. And well - their needs were always >> more than I had time or energy to successfully meet.
I still have that mindset - their needs first...
my needs you say?!
uhhh. <insert cricket sounds>
That question was a clarion bell. There's a change afoot! Wake up! You can start to live for YOU again! Gone is the partner. Leaving are the kids. Seize it! Start today! You can do it!
So - I began to reflect on my 20 yr old self; 20+ yrs ago, before all this - who was I? What did I delight in? Who am I now? What do I delight in today?
And - I've started the search. I'm on the hunt!! I've made a few explicit changes this summer - for me. Things I enjoy, things I want to nurture, commitments I want to make. I'm just starting, but I'm sure I'll find her.