There is something about this time of life that causes a lot of self reflection. I’ve been doing my fair share and it’s no secret that my natural inclination is to think of all the things I wish I had done differently or all the ways I have made mistakes.
Sitting in the car with Abbey the other day she asked me if I would go back to school to be a teacher, that’s what I have the most undergrad credits in, and I automatically said no. I don’t feel like teacher material. There is no desire for teaching. I wish I knew what material I was.
Watching Abbey gain more and more momentum in life has brought it’s own share of reflection. I wasn’t such a hard worker at her age and I certainly wasn’t the kind of top notch student she is. I sound boastful and I guess I am, but she’s so damn smart and has such potential in life. Truthfully, it’s easy to be jealous of my own child. She has much more of a sense of herself as a woman. She does not see or feel any of the things that kept me from dreaming big. She dreams big and she studies hard- I can’t imagine she won’t be successful at whatever it is that she pursues. Why wasn’t I more like that? I was so caught up in my own emotions until my early twenties, I could barely think straight, let alone decide what to study and what paths to pursue.
Life is saying- let that go. It was what it was.
I feel like mid life is calling me to really accept myself for who I am. Not in a giving up way, but in the way that feels like there is little to hide behind anymore. I’ve done my share of schooling, traveling, trying and failing at things, succeeding at others, and somehow 15 years of parenting. I’ve put everything I’ve had into being a mother for so long now, it feels foreign coming out of it all and asking myself, “What do you want?” What a weird question. Too hard, don’t want to think about it. Let me tell you, I know one thing- if anyone has ever held me back in life, it has been me and only ME.
I can’t help but wonder if I’ve done a decent enough job to call myself a good mom. It hasn’t been easy. It isn’t easy. But recently when I was sharing with a friend how racially diverse Abbey’s group of friends are, he told me that was no accident. “Take some credit there,” he said. “That’s because of you and Drew.”
As Abbey sat with us that day, talking with our friend and sharing all these thoughts about the world around us, I watched her quietly take it all in. Can I allow myself that credit? Not sure, but I’m grateful either way.
I’ve grown up in faith and now let most of it go. Some may look at this as failure, but my own peace tells me it’s just moving in the direction my life is taking me. It’s hard for my family and those who put so much time and love into sharing their faith with me, I can see that. The hardest thing for me is knowing they may feel like they’ve failed. Please don’t ever think that. The Love that you shared with me is still present and it guides me. That Love has shaped my world. What we believe just may not be the same.
Right now I think the key is to let myself reflect without judgement. Period. Don’t jump ahead. Don’t let it overwhelm me. Don’t let it keep me from moving one step at a time. Just reflect.
I’m listening, life. You’re the only one I’ve got and I have no doubt that no matter how you may appear at one moment or the next- you are deeply beautiful.