Posted in Fragile Life, Mid-Life Mama, Mother to Crone, Round Two, Teens, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

school bus

although only “minutes” have passed since i immersed myself in the work of the day… i hear the school bus go by, again. and though no child of mine is upon it, i still find myself marking time as it comes and goes, as my youngest prepares to fly the nest, and the beginning and ending of day are almost touching.

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Posted in Mother to Crone, Retirement, Round Two, Teens

50 Dayz

Kelly Salasin, 2017

There were 50 days between me and the Motherhood archetype, when my youngest made this accusation:

“Mom, why do you keep running away from us?”

“I’m not running away,” I said, about the increasingly frequent day trips I was taking to the sea, close to 200 miles away. “I’m returning–to the Mother.”

“Huh?” he asked.

“I need a mother right now,” I said, “And I was born at the sea so that’s where I find her.”

He nodded his head, “That makes sense,” he said, shifting from child to scientist: “We all began in the sea.”

“And maybe I am running away a little bit,” I said. “But not from you. Toward me.”

Posted in Mid-Life Mama, Mother to Crone, Round Two, Teens

Mom, you look crazy

September 27, 2017

57 days remain for me and the Motherhood archetype, and pangs of separation have begun to weave their way into the wild expectancy of transformation.

My own mother was still bleeding when cancer took her at 57. I’m not sure of my grandmother, whose life ended tragically at 55. Or my other grandmother who lived into her early 60’s, heart attack. Numbers are such a comfort to me. (I’m soon to be 54.)

There isn’t much talk of what it is to be on the “other side” of Motherhood. To belong, finally, or again, to self. Even while the heart’s capacity has expanded to include the entire world, like it did when we were children.

“Mom, where are you going in those knee-high socks,” my 17 year old calls after me, as I head down the driveway.

I look down and see that, Yes, I am wearing cream-colored knee-high socks. I threw these on as quick fix to staying warm this morning because I was only wearing a t-shirt and boxers (my sleeping combo since college) and I wanted to see him off to school.

“I’m walking down to the pond,” I say, “Come with me!”

He shakes his head and opens the car door, “You look crazy.”

“That’s the whole point of my age,” I holler back, past the pines, “I don’t have to care.”

He smiles, puts his school bag into the back seat, and follows me down the driveway.

“Do you smell the Balsam? Isn’t it great,” I say.

“You’ve kind of got an Einstein-esque thing going on,” he responds.

I run my hands through my silvery bedhead as we approach the road, hoping no one drives by.

“Is that mine,” he asks, pointing to the flannel over shirt that ties together the whole ensemble.

We walk a bit down the road, alongside the pond, and then onto the dock, until my husband pulls up with the car.

“He’s right. It is crazy,” he says, as we approach him. “But I kind of like it.”

“Don’t take the highway,” I say, “Take the back roads. It’s such a beautiful morning.”

I watch as the car turns around and then pulls past me, heading further and further away, and I wonder: Do I feel sad, or just right?

I pause at the water’s edge, and then with a lift in my step, turn back up the driveway, feeling less confident about my display of carefreeness out on the road, alone.

Posted in College, Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Round Two, Teens, Twenty-something, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

11 Things We Learned~in a week without the kids

empty nest
One summer a few years back, I stumbled upon a brilliant act of self-love. I arranged for both of our boys to be away from home at the same time.

Our oldest departed early Sunday morning on a road trip with his girlfriend, while our youngest was scheduled to be dropped off at camp that very afternoon.

On the drive over to Waubanog, my husband turned to me with a giddy whisper, asking What do you want to do AFTER…!

I could barely contain my delight and hoped my son wouldn’t see or sense it from the backseat.

Mostly we slept, and went out to eat, and enjoyed lots of summer cocktails.

A week later, we’d also learned some things about ourselves; things we could no longer blame on the kids:

1. We make lots of messes.

2. We use lots of glasses.

3. We depend on their noise, demands, connection & love to direct our days, our emotions, our very thoughts.

4. We’d do well to focus more on our own shit. Inside and out. There’s plenty there.

5. They apparently keep animals away from our gardens.
(Either that or they arranged for the groundhog to eat all the greens so that they wouldn’t have to.)

6. Casey & I still enjoy each others company more than we do anyone else. (Following some initial turbulence.)

7. We can’t wait for them to leave, and when they’re finally gone, we miss them.  (Duh.)

8. We have softer edges without them, but much less dimension.

9. There will always be an Aidan and a Lloyd shaped empty space in our hearts once they’ve grown.
(Sappy, but true. OUCH.)

10. Even without the distraction, disturbance & delight of children, we don’t “get done” what we imagined.

11. Our lives without them will easily out distance the day-to-day we’ve shared as a family.

At the end of that summer, our oldest and his beloved set to repainting his walls. Their youthful abandon spilled out of his room and down the stairs and into the kitchen; as did the palpable presence of endings–he would leave for college that week and they would break up rather than endure a long distance relationship (and I was not to ask about how or if we would see her once he was gone.)

Add to this the juxtaposition of my baby sister’s first born who had just celebrated his first birthday. His milestones seemed to be engaged in some kind of parallel dance with those taking place in my home.

I hold no regrets. I have lived well and loved our years with children; and I am proud to see them spread their wings; though what is also true is that I can barely breathe at the thought of a completely empty house, or imagine one that doesn’t begin and end with camps and semesters and vacations.

When the boys were babies, Casey & I would race up the stairs to be the first to arrive after naptime–to be that holy recipient of their precious waking gaze of delight & devotion.

At the end of that week apart, instead of a set of stairs, it was a steep hill, and the baby was 13 and he was smelly, carrying all of his gear from a week in a tent. Casey wore flip flops. I chose sneakers. I may have pushed him off the path. More than once.

What I’ve learned most from my time with and apart from my children is something I feel a bit embarrassed to share…

A deep & abiding love for myself, and the pleasure of my own company.

Which alas, grew out of my fierce love for them–both in their comings and their goings.

This past week, in another brilliant act of self-love, I sent my husband off on a trip to retrieve our youngest from his time at the shore with his young cousin–who is now 4 years old.

It was a hard decision not to go along. I missed his little sister’s second birthday. I missed spending time with my entire extended family. I missed a beach trip I’ve taken every summer since we moved to the mountains 23 years ago.

But I also felt conflicted about leaving because it was my oldest son’s birthday, and even though he lived three hours away and planned to spend his 21st with his friends instead of coming home, I wanted to be here. Just to the hold the place of home if nothing else.

I also wanted to write. And to find myself. And to hear my own thoughts. Especially as my first born came of age.

After the initial pangs of emptiness, I settled into a delicious morning of word and bird song and green tea.

Cue the phone.

Guess who’s coming home.

Posted in Fragile Life, Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Round Two, Teens

when the end is near…

There was the afternoon
when i slid down the wall
in the hallway
in front of the bookshelf
and dozed there
with a lap full of journals;
until voices lifted my gaze
out the window
toward the hill,
where Aidan,
tall and lanky,
like a teenager,
used a plastic bat
to hit snowballs to his friend.

Unlike his older brother,
Aidan has lulled me,
with his child-like ways,
into the fantasy
that “we”
will always
be.

(Emily was right…
How softly summer shuts, without the creaking of a door.)