For some reason, going back to school-time this year has been less angst-filled than I anticipated; in fact, it appears to be lessening each year. And, while the exuberant joy and pride I once felt for this exciting new phase of my life is nearly gone, it’s being replaced by a quiet, calming (still joyful) ‘same old, same old’ feeling – the kind that I think I’ll one day come to mourn, when it comes to an end as my children embark on their own paths - to college.
On Day One last week, I forgot the prerequisite opening speech at school (for parents), and sent my daughter to school on the bus alone; my daughter’s bus was 15 minutes early and we screamed at the top of our lungs to catch the bus driver’s attention as he sped by our bus stop and nearly missed us; later that same day, my son had a panic-attack on the playground, but other than that, everything went well! In fact, it went so well that I’m just humming along into Week Two.
It seems to me that the more I do this routine of child-rearing, the easier it gets and the more confident I am. I feel more grounded than ever. Finally, I feel like one of “them,” after years and years of feeling like one of “us.” I can converse more easily with any number of women about children, in general, without passing judgment on their looks, actions or dress.
I no longer stare with anger at the mother whose child is out of control in the supermarket. I no longer criticize women I see behaving badly toward their children, or cringe like I used to when I hear a screaming infant. Once, these experiences reminded me of my own painful childhood and I could do nothing but try to block them out, just to cope. Now, I provide supportive looks toward mothers who have good intentions, but are short on patience and cope-ability. I have a much greater awareness of how mothers, in general, juggle enormous responsibilities while working . To me, that equates to working (at home) + working (at careers) = double working. It is amazing that we can even get up each morning and start all over again. (I think the business of mothering and nurturing remains underrated. We should demand more.)
Now, I can share a laugh with any mother I meet about how our children drive us to the ends of our…..ropes and just walk away feeling a sense of camaraderie, rather than a sense of competitiveness.
I can imagine that things will heat up again in our home life; they always do. But my intention to live without excessive stress is actually happening right before my eyes. As a new older mother, I’ve found my rhythm, stride and self. Maybe I’ll send myself back to school, again, too…………………..
Labels: college, nurturing, older mothers, responsibilities, school