Posts Tagged ‘growing’

For years when my kids were really little I felt like I would never get a break. Their needs seemed constant, unending, crucial; so much more important than anything else I could or should be doing.

Their needs were physical. Things I needed to do for them, get for them, make for them. Over and over it went. I honestly thought it would be like that forever. For me, early motherhood was about the short term, the immediate, filling what was empty, fixing what was broken, finding what was missing.

It was always a matter of “what now?” I would finish one thing and look around for the next. If I was lucky, I would have five minutes to try and anticipate, guess which ball was going to fall out of the air next. Of course there was never actually enough time to avoid it; but rather just enough time to see it coming.

But slowly, so slowly in fact that I didn’t notice at first, things started to change. The needs are now less physical and more emotional. Less skinned knees and more hurt feelings, less “play with me” and more “watch what I can do,” less cuddling and more getting out of the way.

Of course, they still need me and I hope, to a certain extent, they always will. But something has shifted and just as when they were babies and I wondered if I would ever adapt to the new normal, I am once again feeling lost, uncertain, unbalanced.

I have time for me, and I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t remember what I used to do, what I used to enjoy, what I used to dream about. I have forgotten how to imagine without being realistic; forgotten how to plan without being prudent. There are spaces in my life and I don’t know how to fill them, or even if I should.

And there are some decisions to be made that have nothing to do with them and everything to do with me; how I see myself, and where I see myself going in the future.

Only now I don’t know how to make them.

I don’t remember how to plan ahead further than the next moment or minute or inhale and exhale. I don’t remember how to look ahead further than the next ball coming at me. Everything has changed from “what now” to “now what?”

Now what am I going to do?

Now what do I want to do?

Now what am I going to be?

Now what?

And to be honest, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’m going to choose unwisely, make a bad decision, or, perhaps even worse, that fear will keep me from making any decision at all. I fear that I will accept the status quo as the best I can do, so unsure of myself that I will ignore the possibilities and instead be resigned to simply accept the realities.

There was no instruction manual for becoming a mother, and now I’m discovering that there’s also no map for finding my way back to the person I was, and no compass to lead me to the person I’m supposed to become.

I find myself just as lost as when my children were babies, only now it seems that I’m the one who needs to grow.

If only I can figure out how.

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