And Then There Were Four...

Make  a wish...

I have often said, be careful what you wish for.

Last year, at this time, my oldest Alec was beginning his freshman year of college at MSU. That left Mike and me home alone with our youngest son, Mitch. Not quite yet considered an empty nest, it certainly was a quieter house.

I was not only sad, but a bit out of sorts.

I was so full of emotion that I was unable to do anything. I was stuck. There was no blogging from me for several months, no forward motion at all. I cried at weird times, and I felt numb.

I found myself wanting more time with Alec. I wished for more noise in the house. I hoped Alec's friends, whom had in weird ways, become my friends too, would stop by again. Selfishly I wanted things to go back to the way they used to be, my house filled with activity and teenagers.

There was a lot of quiet time and I began to ask myself the question, Who am I now?

For so long I had been just “mom”, I did what mom's do: nagged, shopped, cleaned, cooked, and organized my way through a week. I attended band concerts and sporting events, PTSA Meetings, conferences, volunteered backstage for the high school musicals, you know, the typical mother stuff.

Them Bam! One day I woke up and I was no longer needed in the way I had become accustomed to. I had become an almost extra in both their lives. Everyone could get where they needed to go, without me. They began to navigate their own way through dealing with teachers, and colleges, and employers, without me.

They had grown up. Was it really overnight?

For a lot of women, me included, this new phase of life can be very scary. Very turbulent. Life changing. With more available brain power to devote to "me", it was time I began to figure out what I wanted to be When I Grew Up. Let me just say, it was easier to do all that mom stuff than it was to answer this question. I needed to relearn how to be "me" all over again.

It's a weird place to be.

Suddenly coming face to face with the “rest of your life”,  makes a lot of people take stock of things. They scrutinize not only themselves, to see how far down their bucket list they've gotten, but also the person they are spending that life with, and maybe the company they work for, too. Maybe it involves a life changing decision like reentering the workforce after years of being a stay at home mom.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, most of us take a good, hard look at ourselves. And some may not like what they see.

I began to wonder if I had made a difference. Am I happy in all parts of my life?

I realized I wasn't 100% happy. I wanted to make more of an impact, create more of a legacy. I wanted to find passion in my work life.

Since then, I have taken many steps out of my comfort zone and toward a future with meaning. It is a slippery slope, the wondering if you are too old to offer another employer any desirable qualities. The wondering if you should just wait things out until retirement, continuing to stay in what you know.

Surprisingly this reevaluation of "me" has led to a whole lot of positivity in my life. It isn't always easy to remain open to the possibilities, especially if the future is hard to see. I still don't know where I am going, but this shift in my thinking is super energizing. And kind of fun.

Once you get past the fear that is.

So, back to the being careful what you wish for part...

Looking back to one year ago, and my wish for what used to be,  a busy house, a full house, I now have to laugh. Remember that almost empty nest I talked about… you know, the one with only one child at home?

There are four here now.

Alec changed his major and switched schools, from MSU to GVSU. He'll be staying at home this school year. Mitch is a senior in high school, and exciting things will be happening for him from here on out. Plus he made some great new friends this summer, who drop by often. Sadie, my "almost daughter", is back home, and this time she brought along her 15 year old brother because he needs a safe place to flourish.

So four kids + Mike and I, makes us a family of six. Throw in the assorted others who drop by, and it's a party.

Our house is of modest size, and currently our closets and cupboards are filled to the brim.

I've pretty much given up on three things I have always managed to maintain:  clean counters, enough food, and empty laundry baskets.

Oh my, life is certainly an adventure. :)

Be careful what you wish just might come true.