Friday, September 9, 2011

So, If I'm Not Who I Was, Who Am I S'posed to Be?

Child of God. Granddaughter. Daughter. Sister. Baby Boomer. Niece. Friend.Student. Runner. Employee. Employer. Parent. Caregiver. Teacher. Home-schooling Mom. Mentor. Event Planner. Neighbor. Reader. Needleworker. Magazine Writer. Blogger. Painter/Rehabber. Landscaper. Meal Planner. Courier. Taxi Cab Driver. Survivor. Pending Empty Nester.

Those are some formal and informal titles I have held over the years. Most every mom can lay claim to as impressive a list no matter who she is or what she has done in life. My list goes on from there. I'll spare you the minutia.

Empty nest years are approaching with rapidity. I think I'll embrace them as ambivalently as I faced Son #1's first day of K5. As the days race toward me, I find myself wondering. Who I will be when the boys return out of desire vs necessity? Some days, I wonder if they will return at all! Not so much lately, but last year this time? Oh, MY!

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Since the Tuesday before Valentine's Day (2/11/97), I have been a homeschooling mom. Once we jumped on that crazy train, I kept taking it a year at a time. I figured that we'd return to the 'real' way of 'doing' school by the time Son #1 was in 6th grade. When we got there, I figured if it wasn't broken, there was no need to fix it. So, we kept on keeping on.

He's almost 21 now and, as far as we know tonight, soon headed to Australia on business for several weeks. (S'cuse me while I put my fraidy cat head in a bag and take a big whiff of smelling salts!) Son #2 is 1/6th of the way through his 9th grade year. 

Where has the time gone? Time is running out on the person I have been for 14 years. I can hear the clock ticking. I'm about to get a pink slip. When I do, all that has defined who I have become will slip away. Anyone who has been laid off understands that predicament!

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
As the process of my personal implosion progressed over the last year, I wrestled with the question: who am I REALLY? Really? Who am I? If I'm not who I thought I was, who in the world am I? It seemed I was a failure as a wife, mom, friend, child of God, mentor, teacher, daughter, sister, and the list went on from there.

After Hurricane Hugo hit the southeastern coast of the United States, there was a lot of publicity about how sudden trauma and ongoing stresses that followed caused folks to stop and re-define their lives. The divorce rate spiked. People changed careers. Mental health issues emerged. The inner fraidy cats in lots of folks would no longer be ignored. Folks felt like they had to DO something. The moment of crisis spurred great change. Some changes were for the better. Others, not so much.

Tonight, I wonder. Was the last year, the culmination of the decade that came before, God's way of boxing me into a corner? Has the experience forced me to re-define who I want to be when I grow up? What in the world IS God up to? What does he want me to be when I grow up? Yea, I'm still asking that same question. Time is running out. I'm long in the tooth in case you hadn't noticed!

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Hmmm...I had given up on being a writer who could use that talent to be his head cheerleader. I had nearly stopped sending emails and could barely stand to post a status update on Facebook. In fact, for a while, I shut down my online life completely. It was as if I ceased to exist at all. (Did you know you don't exist anymore if you don't exist in cyberspace? Creepy!)

I had long nourished the secret hope of being a writer when I grew up. More than that, I had wanted to be God's Head Cheerleader. Those dreams died a long, slow agonizing death. I never expected them to be resurrected again.

Over the last few months, something pretty amazing has happened. Look at me now. Writing my way back to God and sharing the stories with my growing cyber-neighborhood of fellow fraidy cats. And, this week – guess what happened. Son #1 came into the room and said, “Mom? Last spring you were writing a story about a lady and a house...whatever happened to that?”

I paused and smiled. I asked, “You mean the book I started? Why?”

Because,” he said, “I want to know whatever happened to the lady in the book. If you haven’t finished writing it, hurry up. I wanna know what happened. Ok?”

Ain't life amazing? Who knows...maybe there's still time. Maybe in the process of writing my way back to that good God whose cheerleader I always tried to be, I'll find out I really was both things all along. 

Isaiah 55:12 (Bible in Basic English)
For you will go out with joy, and be guided in peace: the mountains and the hills will make melody before you, and all the trees of the fields will make sounds of joy.

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