A week ago my second child graduated from High School. It was a different experience for me than the graduation of my first daughter. With the second one I knew what was going to happen. I found a certain level of comfort in that. I felt less excited about it emotionally. I now have a rough idea of life beyond High School. I know it isn’t an end at all. So approaching this event wasn’t as scary. It was something I knew was going to happen and it wasn’t until it was actually happening that I realized I hadn’t put that much worry into it. When my first child graduated I felt like I was going to hyperventilate! I’ll still miss having my second child around, but since I enjoy hearing about all the college level successes of my first daughter- I have a feeling I’ll experience the same joys with my second child.
The one thing I wasn’t quite prepared for though was the quietness that I find surrounding me. My entire life has been about my children. I have to go back in mental time about 22 years to find a time when life was just about me and my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quite at the point where I have no duties to a child of mine, I still have one in the proverbial nest,but having one is so incredibly different than having 3. It’s quieter!
I’m finding myself thinking of questions I’ve never had before. Like I am now asking myself why I care about some things. Like why do I care about education? What difference does it make? Or let’s look at a question about something much less important like what to make for dinner! When you are making dinner for 5 or 6 people all of their taste preferences matter, when you are making dinner for only a few people, or for only yourself- it suddenly becomes rather unimportant which is odd. How is it possible that something that was such an important question in my ‘past life’ now has almost no meaning. My youngest daughter is so easy going that if I were to tell her all we were going to have was breakfast cereal for dinner she’d start pouring out one of her chocolate coated breakfast treats into a large mug. It’s good but strange.
Household messes are at a minimum. Generally if I don’t move something it isn’t going to move. That seems like a really stupid thing to say but ask a parent of a house filled with kids what happens when they put something like a pair of glasses, or a magazine, or a shopping list down- they’ll agree that those untethered items tend to disappear with no one even admitting that they saw the said item. So once I was hawk-like remembering where I put things and where other people put things. My ability to remember where things were, or to guess as to where they might have disappeared off to helped the other people in my family hundreds of times when I’d ask questions like ” Did you look in the other room next to the chair?” ” Did you leave it in the car?” No one is asking those questions anymore. It’s sort of sad.
Suddenly I’m finding myself with an enormous amount of time. I see that I have an entire life ahead of me and I’m finding myself stymied by the weight of the question “What am I supposed to do for the rest of my life?”
I’m sure some of you are reading this and wondering what the hell took me so long. How could it possibly have taken me half a lifetime to figure out I’d have to figure out what I was doing other than being a parent? The only way I can respond is by asking you, are you so sure about the importance of the things you are searching for? Cause life changes in an instant sometimes. Suddenly what once was important loses it’s stature in your life. If you haven’t already considered that question, trust me, it’s a shocker!
When I started this post I asked what are you searching for? In truth, the real question I’m having is a little more personal. What am I searching for?
If , or perhaps I should say when I figure it out, I promise, I’ll tell you.