Posted: September 2016
It seems like yesterday, but it was 19 years ago that my first child was born. I quickly became redefined as “Claudia, mother of Jonathan.” Being a mother took over my identity, and most of my time.
But, as we all know, time flies by and last week I took Jonathan to university. I had to say goodbye and let go of having him at home. I put a smile on my face, but the truth is, it was hard to fight back the tears. Having him at home has been my reality for so long. Now what?
I need to embrace my new reality at home. My new reality as a mother. Letting go of how things used to be is never easy, but it is essential so that we can start living — and creating our new reality.
Through many changes in my life, I have learned:
- It is never easy to let go. Letting go of what we know means accepting a new reality that is still unknown with an unclear future ahead.
- Letting go allows me to find my own identity. Just as my son is finding his new identity and independence—with many mistakes, no doubt, to learn from along the way—I am rediscovering ”Claudia, mother of a young adult.” What type of mother do I want to be now? How does having older kids, and more time for myself, redefine who I am and what I want to do?
- Change is the only constant thing in life. Parenthood is a constant learning curve. Just when you master parenting a baby, they become toddlers. Soon they are a young child, then an adolescent and then a young adult leaving the nest. Just as we get comfortable in a routine and think we know what we are doing, a new change and challenge arises.
- Change is hard, but it also brings new opportunities and possibilities. It is only when we are feeling vulnerable that we allow ourselves to be more open to see what else can happen.
So, for all you parents in a new stage of life — and as this new school year begins — I wish you a new beginning full of new possibilities. And for those of you going through other life changes, I encourage you to welcome the new possibilities in front of you.
For me, I will give myself permission to feel the full range of my feelings. I can feel vulnerable and nostalgic during this new half empty nest stage but, at the same time, I will use this time to consciously consider what type of mother I want to be in this new parenting stage and embrace the possibilities that my new reality will bring for me.