Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lost Identity

Now that my kids are teenagers, I actually have time to breathe once in a while. I also have time to worry, fret, fume and generally agonize over everything they do. However, because they are more often pushing me away than clinging, I find myself with a moment or two to myself. It's not like they don't need me. They think they don't, but they do more than ever. It's just that now I'm more the landing pad than the runway.

So suddenly I find myself taking stock of my life. It's as if I'm at a new crossroads in my life, or at least on the cusp of one. Momhood can be such an all-encompassing, flesh-eating, bone-numbingly tiring journey that you have no clue what you are doing or where you are going. Sure you worry if your hair is combed or that your shirt fits, but more often than not, you obsess over all things "child." Without warning, you somehow get absorbed into your children's lives and they become your own. It's wonderful and dangerous at the same time. Wonderful, because, well...what could be better than juggling basketball practice, piano recitals and First Communion all in the same weekend?

Dangerous? Hells yeah, as my teen daughter would say. The danger in sponging off your kid's life is that it eventually dries up, or at least it should if you're raising a normal child, both physically and mentally. One day you look around you and you no longer have to schedule somebody else's life. You're left with yours and your husband's. It's what you wanted, you really did. In fact you begged for it at 2:30 am in 1987 when your then 2 month old son had no interest in sleeping. And so it's arrived and so have you, but much like Tom Hanks in "The Terminal," you're just not sure in what country you belong.

I can feel myself preparing for that day (my youngest is in 7th grade so I'm not quite there) by sneaking out and doing things I wouldn't dream of a few years ago, like, GASP!, going to a movie on a weeknight. Or sitting down to read a book in the middle of a weekday while a pile of laundry screams my name. They're guilty little pleasures all designed with one thing in mind - avoiding the inevitable question: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

I'm not panicking...yet. Although I do admit to worrying about the fact that my knees kind of hurt and those electric scooter commercials are looking more and more appealing. I just want to make sure that I don't stop growing once my kids do. It's disarming to think about this because for so many years, I haven't....thought that is. I'm sure I'll figure it or, like motherhood, it'll just happen and I won't have time to think.

Let me make this perfectly clear: I am not looking for a new career. Been there, done that. It's more like I'm looking for a new way to be productive, whether it's volunteering, exploring, expressing myself....or all three.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll look for my copy of What Color Is My Parachute? Or better yet, I'll splurge on a new copy. After all, it is a weekday....


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