This is me.
I post pictures of the best moments of my life, but I also try to post moments that are a real representation of who I am. In many ways the feedback regarding my pictures, reminded me of all the reasons I don’t like social media. Facebook and Instagram are mainly forums for presenting the best days of people’s lives. In between those posts are the most disgusting parts of our world. We either see the best or the worst. We feel sad when we see animals mistreated, children neglected, prejudice at play, violence and crime. But it’s also hard not to feel bad about ourselves when everyone is out having fun, yet we are home paying bills and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls in the same clothes we’ve been wearing for three days.
Don’t get me wrong. It would be terrible if people didn’t share the best part of their lives. To see people love life and feel joyful inspires happiness. For me personally, I try to share a little bit of everything, because that is my true life.
Being true is also the reason why I write and share my blog. I write because it is a way for me to process my feelings. I share because I hope there might be someone who connects to my imperfection and vulnerability in a way they can’t connect to the picture-perfect representation posted elsewhere.
Today I feel inspired to write about how I’m feeling in this exact moment, well actually, how I’ve felt for several weeks. Are you ready for it?
Bummed. Sad. Weepy.
I stood at the kitchen counter making my morning coffee and the tears fell down my cheeks. Sometimes I don’t know the source of my tears, today I do.
My son is graduating and it feels NOTHING like how I had imagined it would feel. I believed I would feel 100% celebratory. Why not? My amazing son is accomplishing what we worked hard for all those years. He’s heading off to college! He’s grown up to be an incredible young man who has a special girlfriend and wonderful friends, any of which I would be proud to call my own children. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t do drugs. He hugs me numerous times during the day. He’s thoughtful (albeit absentminded.) He’s a very, very, very good kid with a bright future ahead of him.
I had also imagined my parents being in the stands celebrating their grandson’s monumental milestone. I had imagined dancing a jig together, because we had done it!!
Yes, there is the part of me rejoicing he is moving onto college to experience the best years of his life.
But my heart aches. A chapter is closing and it passed by in a heartbeat. The next chapter is not what I envisioned.
I did not foresee being an empty nester at 41 years old when Austin left for college. I had not planned for my daughter to be living elsewhere. I never stopped to think there would be a day when I would not have children at home to nag, yell, tease, laugh, console and hug goodnight. In no way was I prepared for how it would feel to not have my parents with me in the stands on Austin’s graduation night.
It feels like it’s been one goodbye after another over the last couple years. I’m no longer a daughter and in a few short weeks I will no longer have an active role as a mother, the only important role I've known for the last 18 years.
Yes, I will always be a mom, I know. It will just be different, and I will need to adjust.
This is the other part I struggle with. The pressure to have my own identity, to have my own purpose outside of being an every day mom has become a greater responsibility. What will I do? Who will I become?
I’m saying goodbye to what I’ve known, as well as being forced to reinvent myself all at the same time. It feels sad. It feels scary. I don’t feel ready.
This is my truth.
You will see pictures of me with my son on his graduation day, smiling and celebrating his momentous accomplishment. I will feel incredibly happy and proud! I will exult his past successes and his exciting journey ahead. However, if I only shared these snapshots with you, you wouldn’t know the whole story.
It’s like the bride who walks down the aisle for her wedding day. Everything is picture prefect in that moment and the only things you see are the beauty and the smiles. Most people never see the work and drama that unfolded to make that moment happen.
My heart will be bursting at the seams when I see Austin walk up the aisle to receive his diploma. I cannot wait to hear him call me from college and share all the wonderful things happening in his life.
I guess, this is the true nature of being a mom. The quest to see your children happy will always outweigh any personal heartache. I will gladly say goodbye to my children to see them experience a joyous life. I will choose them over me.. every. single. minute. of. every. damn. day.
At the risk of being real, I will tell you though, there’s a deep ache within my heart.