Many years ago, when I was engaged to my husband, he lived about 2 1/2 hours away from me. I was working in NYC, living at home with my parents in Brooklyn, and so, I spent a year traveling to Connecticut every Friday evening, and home from Connecticut every Sunday afternoon. As you can imagine, there was such a difference in my emotions during those two car rides. Friday – excited and happy. Sunday – sad and sullen. Even though we still had some time together before I headed back home, I remember waking up each Sunday morning and instantly feeling that pang of melancholy.
It’s 25 years later, it’s Sunday morning, and that pang is back.
Six days ago, my two college-aged children came home for Thanksgiving. Hopefully, you will not judge me as bordering on obsessive if I tell you I practically waited by the door for them to walk in! I was most definitely excited and happy. During these last few days, we’ve gone through the mundane motions of our lives to some extent, and had more than a couple of really special moments mixed in. Either way, they were here. I could see them and hug them, and even stay up til 1am waiting for the sound of the garage door opening, signaling their safe arrival home after a night out. I love it all (because I love almost everything that comes with being a mother) and I miss it tremendously when I don’t have it.
As I sit here listening to my son’s last-minute laundry being tossed in the dryer, I’m thinking about how the natural progression of our lives as mothers doesn’t always feel so natural. I admit that I fall into the category of “very emotional moms”. I know that there are some mothers who are oblivious to these transitions. I’m not one of them. There are some who even relish them. I’m not one of them either.
Don’t misunderstand. I accept the changes, and I’m aware enough to learn the lessons that come with them. I knew my husband’s decision to accept a job so far away was important for our future. I knew that the end to breastfeeding, starting kindergarten, going to camp, and learning to drive were milestones in my children’s lives that were normal and positive. If I were to give advice to new mothers, who are already sensing how emotionally profound these changes can be, I’d say – look to the bright future, to all the joy each step of motherhood can bring. Understand that having children brings a new dimension to the constant evolution of our lives. I certainly do not want to go backwards, but I cannot lie. Transition is difficult.