Repost: from 2013: Sometimes re-reading things puts a new perspective on current events....
School is back in session and tomorrow*(This post was written on Wednesday.) starts a whole new day.
Not just a new day, a new chapter for me, your typical Stay At Home Mom. My last child, my Babe will start Kindergarten, and all my children will leave each and every week day morning, to go off to learn and experience snippets of the world at large.
They will find themselves transitioning from a world of numbers, into the world of letters, from our nation’s history to scientific methods and so much more. Friends will influence them and they will leave their mark on others. They will learn more and more about God, His Love and the truths of our Faith. It’s school life, academics, spirituality, formation and friendships. It’s all good and fine and normal.
But my Babe has always been home with me, giving me purpose, destination and fulfillment. For thirteen years I have dedicated my life to these little people God has entrusted to me. I did not pursue a career, I left my job when I was pregnant with my Thinker. It was a sacrifice, yes, we struggled, it was difficult. It was the beginning of a new kind of job for me, it was one I choose, I decided, I set for myself, believing it was the best for my baby and those that followed.
I learned quickly that it was a job that you never vacation from, you never leave, nor do you get fired for making mistakes. These little people are quick to forgive and forget and often times left me completely drained, frustrated, yet at the same time, in awe that God choose such an unworthy woman to care and keep them.
I learned to love this job. Not only love it, but crave it, down to the very depths of my being. I ached for my babies when not in my arms. I searched out my toddlers when not in my sight. I cried with my kids at sad events and laughed with them when the time called for it. There is a bond unlike any other, a mother to her children, and if I had at least one child with me, I knew I was in the right place, doing and being exactly what I should be doing and being. I found purpose in those many hours in the day.
And tomorrow, what will tomorrow bring. I must, just like my other children, I must let my youngest go. I must let him learn and grow. He seems too young, or is it just my eyes that deceive me. He seems too little, but I am sure I measure him against his siblings. He seems to need me or is it simply that I am more attached to him, than he is to me. Where the truth and reality lie – I cannot tell. It is my logic that tells me to let him go, let him grow and realize my Babe is really not my baby anymore.
He asked me tonight before bed, “Mom, what will you do all day, without me?”
I paused, I didn’t have a good answer to that.
He was quick, “Be with Dad?”
“Oh honey, Dad will be at work, I suppose I will clean the house.”
He made a sad face at me, then hugged me tight, and said, “Well, ok. I will miss you, but I like my new teacher.”
I left his bedroom, closed the door behind me, only to think about that exact question he asked me. What will fill the day? As much as I lament the letting go of my last child to school, perhaps, I really feel another kind of loss. My hours in the day won’t be as demanding, I could find my own hobbies or interests, or even read the many books I have accumulated but never found the time for. Friends have given me countless suggestions, join a gym, take a class, learn tennis, shop more, eat out for lunches, have ladies brunches, do pottery and so on.
The loss I feel, cutting deep, is more like the loss of someone needing me. It’s meant to happen, yes, I am clear on it. But for me, someone who learned to love and crave the job…well, it’s almost like my boss stated, “Nice work, but we don’t need you anymore. Now, go do pottery or play tennis.”
Now I can already hear my readers here, thinking, “The job of Mother isn’t done just because they all attend school.” I know, I know. It’s something I must remind myself. I am a doer. I get it done. And the hours of the day will tick slowly without the chatter of little voices, or the demands of a toddler, or the cries of a baby.
I need to keep busy, to stay active. Not just because it’s good to do so, it’s a mental thing. If I feel I have no purpose, guess what, then I don’t. I remember back when I was first looking for a job, just out of college. I wasn’t having much luck. I would send out resume after resume, and nothing surfaced for a few weeks. When it turned into a month, I stopped sending out my cover letters, resumes and stopped calling potential employers. I felt defeated, lost and nothing kept me busy. I began to sleep a lot. I mean, a lot. If I had to call it something, I’d say a slight depression invaded me.
I thank God so often for my beloved. We were engaged during this sad time, and he helped me to see, I need to be busy and suggested a Temp agency. I went in, and before long, was working here and then there, and then found a full time permanent position.
I haven’t seen signs of depression like that since, but I fear all my kids in school will bring me back to this very place again. I need to be productive or something strange happens. When I feel useless, I become useless. And it’s all down-hill from there.
Being a spiritual person, I try and seek God in everything. Most times, I can find Him and his direction, not always, but in the big things, I usually have a sense where He is leading me. Not now, not this time. Honestly, I can’t imagine that God is asking me to fill my days with more hours of shopping. If anything, I can see that He is giving me more time to seek Him out. And that – that makes sense to me. It’s not as explicit as “Get a job!” or “Join a gym!” – but I do believe, that there is a time and purpose to everything, and it will all be revealed as He decides and not as I demand it. Perhaps, I will get the chance for uninterrupted prayer, time before the Blessed Sacrament without a wiggly 5 year old, or even, dare I imagine, seeking out His plan for every moment of every day, learning to embrace it and to love it.