April 28, 2008

A Rose is a Rose

I think my blog has the wrong name. I was feeling rather optimistic when I called it "Midsummer Meanderings", so I later added "or: A Mom in Midlife Crisis". That doesn't cut it either. Maybe I should re-name it "A Lady in Waiting"?
I've never heard of women going through a midlife crisis so when I started going through one I was rather dismayed. What is wrong with me? Women don't have these feelings. Why am I the only mom I know who feels this way? Is there something wrong with me?
For as long as I can remember all I've ever wanted in life was to be a wife and a mom. I think it started when I was 3. That's when my heat-up iron, plastic dishes and my little baby dolls came alive to me. I should've seen the writing on the wall at some point. I was always pretending my "babies" had contracted a strange new disease that would render growing up an impossibility. The doctors would sadly tell me that my babies were healthy and happy, but they would never change. They would never grow and talk and walk and learn to ride bikes or leave the world of diapers. I would pretend to be saddened by the news, but inside my heart was thrilled. Babies forever!
Finally the day came when I grew up. I put my baby dolls away, got married and within a short time started having real, honest-to-goodness babies, smelly diapers and all. Surprisingly, I was thrilled when they learned to sit up, say “Da Da”, walk, and started wearing "big boy undies". I was so proud of them as they learned to read, add and subtract numbers, and help with chores around the house. My heart sang as I watched their faith grow and they started to care about the world around them.
However, there did come a day when a huge grey cloud settled over my heart. Our first son grew up. He got his driver's license, a job, and started taking a few classes outside the home. His life changed and so did our family. He was busy and had more responsibilities. I started to feel like I was no longer needed. He was looking "Out". The nest wasn't big enough to hold him anymore.
As we made plans for his graduation and open house the feelings of “uselessness” started to invade my thoughts day and night. His diploma seemed like the beginning-of-the-end for me. Questions like: If I’m not a mom and a teacher, who am I? What is my purpose if it’s not to raise kids and be a wife? What will I do with my time when the boys are all grown? What other reason could there be for my existence? Am I depressed about this because I’ve made an idol out of our family? Our home school? My mothering and being a wife?
Quite frankly, over the last few years I've felt like Scarlett at the end of Gone With the Wind, "Rhett, Rhett! Where will I go? What will I do?!" Those feelings of "uselessness" only increased when our second son graduated.
People I've talked to don't understand these feelings. "You still have a 6 year old at home! It'll be years and years before your nest is empty!" I don't know how to respond to those things. I feel what I feel.
Not very long ago I stumbled onto a book by Gordon MacDonald called: A Resilient Life. I've only read a tiny portion of the book, but what I have read has been soooooo encouraging! On page 4 Gordon says, "Wherever I have gone and talked about the resilient life, I have insisted that one must anticipate that the greatest contributions God has for us to make will happen in the second half of life....you folks under 40? In actuality, most of what you're doing now is simply running the first few laps of the race."
I don't know what the Lord has up His big sleeve for me but it doesn't sound like I'm an old cow ready to be put out to pasture quite yet.

4 comments:

  1. Feeling are tough to overcome, aren't they? Remember to "capture them to Christ," and don't grow weary of doing good.

    At the risk of speaking out of turn, let me encourage you to pray for the strength and resolve to stay engaged with that last child. I know a family where the 4th child was all but forsaken as her sisters went off to college and got married. It showed in all kinds of ways, but mostly they didn't show the diligence in discernment or education they had afforded the others.

    Today, they don't talk. :(

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  2. grafted branch-thank you for your comments. Capturing my feelings to Christ is something I've wrestled with since day 1 as a Christian. It's just plain hard sometimes! :-)
    I also appreciate the reminder to stay involved with our little one. There is a part of me that is weary and ready to retire. However, a greater part of me is really looking forward to having just 1 student in our little school. I have the chance to look at the things I did right and the mistakes I made and try and get it "even righter" this time around!

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  3. Thanks for your comments on my recent "Time Out" post. You said you didn't know what to say... but I want you know know that its kind of nice just to see you, your boys and know you felt the same way 15+ years ago when yours were little. It encourages me because I see what fine young men your boys are now, and while you have your days I'm sure, you haven't completely lost your mind (like I feel like I'm gonna do any day now!). So it gives me hope that even though I'm sick to death of dirty diapers and temper tantrums... someday they'll be grown, and hopefully God (if not my kids) will say to me "well done, good and faithful servant" as I'm sure He'll say to you.

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  4. So, that's why I've felt I've been running in circles for 39 years! I knew there was something good about turning 40. hehe

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