There are times when I miss having little kids at home. I hate to admit just how much I loved being a mom of little kids. It was great when they depended
on me to guide, counsel or chastise. When they needed me to reassure them everything was going to be okay, when they needed a friend, a hot fudge sundae or just a hug from mom. The good ol' days.
Now, my children are adults.
Grown children are an entirely different story – you'd be surprised just how much they react and respond to things just like their younger selves, only now they have to 'prove' they're adult enough to handle what life throws at th
em. It's funny, most of the time.
I can almost predict what each child – er, excuse me, each adult child will do when presented with something they don't have a ready answer to.
Jane, my oldest, will complain, make wise cracks and solve the problem. My middle son will look to his big sister for guidance before making a decision, and the youngest … well, let's just say the youngest still has difficulty making the right choices.
Still, I'm grateful that they're all relatively happy, and still trying to live their lives to the fullest. What more can a mom ask for? Except grandchildren!
Who am I? How did I get here? How many times have you asked yourself those questions? How many times has a life-altering event changed everything you know about yourself?
Hopefully, not many, but for the events that shake everything up, you've got to put your big girl panties on. And wear a belt – don't want 'em to fall down during a crisis.
I see myself in the mirror every day … see what time has placed on my face, and I'm not scar
ed – okay, I'm a
little fearful about what's ahead, but I know who I am. I'm tough – I gave birth to three kids with no drugs, this I know. I'm capable, on most days confident, and I like to look on the bright side of things.
That's not so bad, right?
So, when I start asking myself those pesky little questions about how I got here, who am I …
? I just tell myself, I'm here because I want to be here, and that's okay.
When I was a younger woman, I used to think about my future a lot. Usually in terms of being a wife and mom. Once I had those jobs, I loved every single thing about them. Taking care of people is something I know how to do, and do well. It made me feel good, needed.
I really didn't consider the possibilities of my kids getting older and leaving home, or the fact my husband would some day no longer want to be married. Once
alities became my reality, I had to start over and change the way I valued myself, looked at the world and where I now fit in.
I'm making some progress. I work outside the home now, feeding people. Something I've always enjoyed. And while I still don't have all the answers, I'm closer to where I was say
a year ago. And that makes me feel good, stronger. Starting over, once you get past the fear, can be a good thing.
Support groups. How many times have I heard a friend or friend of a friend talk about support groups? Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd need one for something that has caused me a great deal of grief – the end of my marriage.
When I finally realized my marriage was over, I grudgingly accepted the facts and did my best to move on. It wasn't easy. There were a lot of times when I wasn't sure who I was or what
to happen. Then one day, I read about this support group in one of those community papers – a group of women going through divorce and all the things they were doing to help each other. At first I was scared – what
if I was the only one my age? What if no one wanted to support me?
I couldn't have been more wrong! The first meeting was great – there were a lot of women in my age group – more so than younger women. In fact, I learned that ending a marriage later in life is not that unusual. The divorce rate for people over 50 is rising. Maybe this is due, in some way, to the fact that divorce in the last ten years doesn't carry the social stigma it once did.
I'm glad. I'm glad I can support other women going through the same thing. It makes it easier to know I'm not the only one having a bad day every now and then, and I like that.
Anyone who says grown kids don't suffer from their parents' divorce isn't being truthful. They do suffer. I've got three very important reasons – Jane, Frankie Jr. and Tommy, why I wasn't sure divorce was the right thing to do.
Still I worried.
What would my kids think? Would they feel the family dynamic they'd known their entire lives was something that couldn't work, and endure? Or would they blame their father or me for ruining something they were taught to hold sacred?
I didn't know, but I had to find out.
One night my kids and I
had a great dinner, and an even better discussion on the s
ubject. They admitted they were scared for me, worried I wouldn't find my way, but I assured them that with their help, I'd get through this. We all would. They even mustered up some concern for their father – a man who shall remain nameless on this blog because of all his transgressions. I went through it all – grief,
depression, anxiety, anger, fear, etc. – same as everybody else mourning a loss.
I'm happy my kids can still feel empathy, can still care about their dad, because even though our relationship ended, he's still their father. And the end of the marriage won't ever change that.
Family is family.