I got to watch Oprah yesterday. All this week she’s working on the different aspects (health, money, spiritual etc) of having ‘your best life in 2009’..I was curious to see what would be said about the spiritual part. I’m happy to say that I had a couple ‘A-ha’ moments as Oprah calls them...You know, when everything finally clicks in our brains and we have an understanding of something we didn’t quite grasp in that particular way before. For me sometimes it’s a great help figuring out the perfect accurate words to express those feelings.
I’ve struggled with things the past couple years since moving back to where I grew up. My married life of 22 years, even with all the ups & downs that everyone faces, have been my absolute happiest. I thought that moving back to where things were familiar & there was family here would just automatically be an extension of our ‘happy years‘. But it’s been a challenge and a big change. That’s not to say that I (we) haven’t been happy here exactly but well it’s been different. Things aren’t as we expected on many levels...being close to family, the civilian job market, being so far from other loved ones (namely Hallie & her family), and my mother having severe memory issues.
A couple of the issues are as follows...for one it’s not me that has imposed this on myself but rather the reaction by others that have put this doubt, if you will, in my head and made me want to defend myself in some way. Since I was 17, I identified myself as Hallie’s mom...no matter what you did in life be it school, church, work etc, all you had to say was “I have a 2 yr old” or “I have a teenager at home” and people nodded in understanding. No other explanation was needed. My life revolved around my daughter and I loved every minute of it. No one questioned what I ‘did’ in my spare time because with all her and I did together (school, activities etc) there wasn’t much spare time.
Then she married in Alaska and we had to move to Germany a very short time later. For the first time in my adult life I didn’t have my daughter in the house, ya know? Sure I was still a mom but the dynamics had changed drastically. It wasn’t quite as noticeable while in Germany because we had so many other issues that had to be dealt with there and we kinda felt like our lives were in a limbo between worlds. It was difficult to say the least & there wasn’t time to focus as much on the life we use to have, we just wanted to get through this part that we were in. Plus we had the crutch of saying we’re in the military & all that entails...(you get another nod of understanding with a ‘say no more’ more look with that one too, but I won‘t get into that issue here) I think that’s where we thought moving back here would be our refuge. We had pretty high expectations I’m afraid.
I (we) forgot though that all things change. Which is really quite silly on our part being the usually perceptive, intuative people that we are...but that just goes to show you that we can all be caught unaware sometimes. No matter how enlightened we become in our lives we can still be caught off guard.
That’s where the outside has imposed this question on me...People would ask when we moved back, ‘what do you do all day here?’...Ughhh, uummm, good question....I can’t say I have a two year old at home, that satifies their query...What DO I do? Who am I now if not Hallie’s mom? How do I explain to them that having children at home isn’t the be-all end-all of a woman’s/mother’s life? I’m thinking, “My life is still important, darn it!”
I had to learn that even though I can’t be identified as an ‘active, hands on’ mother, if you will, doesn’t mean that my roll as a mother isn’t important. It’s just different now and I get to explore what that is. I have wonderful new changes that have so enriched my life, namely being a grandmother. Being an Oma to Janie and Rori is such a special gift. Even though they are far away I am as active a grandparent as I can possibly be engaging them in conversation and being interested in their thoughts and doings. I strive to be a positive mentor for them in a way that only a grandparent can be.
All things change....
Our extended family too...They had forged a life without us included in it since we’ve lived so far away. It was kind of shock I think on all our parts, to have the others to consider in matters that families deal with. We have spent most of our lives away, relying only on each other. So we have to learn something that people that have always lived closeby family have taken for granted. That these people are here. LOL
All things AND people change....they evolve....
Of course things weren’t the same with my parents when we got back. Pretty early on I realized that my mom’s memory wasn’t what it use to be. I ended up taking over their finances, insurances, etc because it was too confusing and upsetting for her to take care of it anymore. I’ve had to fight anger at this happening to her when we were finally getting back here and also the fear of this same thing maybe happening to me in my later years. I mourn the loss of my mom as I knew her even though she’s still here. I’ve had to become the parent to my parents which has taken me off guard.
But all things change.....
I may not have the other fulfilling jobs outside the home here as I once had either. Being an admissions counselor in a mental health & rehab hospital, working with special needs & at-risk preschoolers, being an in-home caregiver for the elderly to name just a few. I see now that these jobs prepared me for the new jobs I’m having now. To make me better in the way I execute my duties as a daughter..to be more patient, understanding, empathetic.
I am always busy in our home doing the things that need done and also having some time for myself doing whatever gives my spirit a much needed rest from the daily stresses. I am never bored. I actually find joy in doing the most mundane things like laundry and dishes. I can’t explain it really...I do it all for the greater good! LOL
I am learning that it’s ok to give myself permission to feel overwhelmed at times & cry. A spiritual warrior isn’t one that pretends everything is fine all the time. It’s not a weakness to feel ‘weak’ occassionally. WonderWoman only really exists in the movies. We have to remember that we are human and we were built to have a meltdown every once in awhile. A warrior is one that feels deeply & then moves forward and does what they need to do.
Instead of giving up because our lives took a wrong turn we have to rid ourselves of the idea that life is supposed to be a certain way. We can exert so much energy swimming against that current, there’s so much tension in resisting what’s happening that we lose a lot of our power and our inner wisdom to go forward.
It’s ok that I can feel anger over the circumstances with my mom’s condition but I have to recognize there’s a grief hidden beneath that too. Instead of living in fear of what I might be losing I need to ask myself what the experience is trying to teach me. How am I to grow in this? Sometimes I need to cry & grieve the loss of the person she use to be but I can’t let it overshadow that she’s still here & I need to enjoy every moment of it just as it is, with no preconditions.
All things change...and we can roll with it, expand & grow in our life’s journey & find the joy in life or not...we have the choice the make.