Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where Did The Time Go?

Hard to believe that summer will soon be ending, but as eldest daughter prepares to leave for her 2nd year of college this weekend, and youngest daughter is soon headed off for her first year of high school, I have to face the fact that another summer has come and gone. I also have to face the fact that it wasn't at all what I had hoped it would be. There was no dreamy, lazy, day magic to this summer. It was pretty much hustle and bustle, with everyone going in a different direction.

The last couple of days I have been increasingly sad, as I come to the realization that our family, my little family, has changed. The dynamics are so different then just last year. We didn't seem as united this summer. There weren't lots of family dinners, or a great vacation, and only two day trips. There was no time for anything else.

As my children stop being children, and keep becoming young adults, (seemingly all too fast) creating lives of there own separate from the rest of the family, I realize I am going to have to redefine in my own mind what a family is, as well as my role in it. How do we all keep growing, evolving, shifting, yet still stay a close family? Still stay connected, even when our individual lives are starting to feel so separate? I would love to hear some sage advice from anyone who has traveled down this path before me. Not only do I feel like I need direction, but I feel like I need a flashlight and a roadmap and a tool box.

While feeling all blue and melancholy over summer not being what I had dreamed of, I found these lovely photos taken by the very talented artist Irene Suchocki. These beautiful photographic images make my soul sing as they capture what my heart longs for summer to be like.

Start Where You Are

This Way Into Summer

Summer is when ...

The Swing Set"

Letting go of time

To see more of Irene's dreamy images visit her Etsy shop isphotograpy.

In other news, the very sweet and talented Sandra Ree from Bubble Babble, recently choose me as one of several recipients to pass this award on to. Thank you so much, Sandra!

Now, I am suppose to pass this on to 7 other blogs, and as I have mentioned in some past posts, this part always sends me into a tail spin of panic. You are talking to a woman who has a hard time going to the grocery store because there are too many good choices, (I mean come on, 5000 different toothpastes!?! How does one decided!?!) That's why Hubby does 95% of all grocery shopping... but I digress... the point is I can't pick! So I will pass this award onto each and every one of you who gets up every morning, (or night, for those nocturnal folks) and steps out into the blogosphere, connecting with other like minded souls. Sharing bits of yourself, and offering encouragement to the rest of us who are trying to do the same. Thanks, you are all the best!


Jackie said...

I don't think I'm 'sage' but I am older than you and have gone through what you are going through, albeit with boys who are not the same. Its very sad that they become fantastic young adults and blossom and flower..then just as you start to enjoy this they leave. You now have to let go and start to define yourself as an individual or couple and start to enjoy that.You will..honestly. It takes a bit of getting used to but its great when you do.

Hey Harriet said...

I'm so sorry that you've been feeling sad lately. Unfortunately I'm not really in a postition to give 'happy family' kind of advice. I wish I had something helpful to contribute but I don't. Here's a quote I like - "No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with a single thread" - Robert Burton. So I guess for as long as you all love each other the connection will remain. I'm sure you'll receive some helpful advice from other bloggy pals. I like what Jackie (above) said. Makes sense.

Congrats on your very well deserved award! I enjoyed the photos that your featured also. They're very lovely.

Take care. Sending happy hugs your way! xo

High Desert Diva said...

No (almost) empty nest advice for you...sorry!

I love the images you posted.

Congrats on the award!

Victoria said...

Thanks Jackie, I suppose in time I will get use to it.

Even though I always tried to be an involved mom, I also always made sure that I kept a separate identity for myself, because I didn't want to be one of those woman who fell apart when the kids left home, and they were left with no life of there own, yuck.

I think part of my sadness comes from feeling guilty that I have kept forging ahead with my own interests, as my kids kept forging ahead with their own lives. This summer found me starting a second Etsy shop, and doing a lot of free lance work. I was just as busy doing my own thing as everyone else was!

Victoria said...

Harriet, Lovely quote, thank you. I will keep that in my heart, and will draw on it many times, (especially in a year from now when eldest heads off to London for a semester!)

Thanks, too Charmaine!

Karen said...

I'm afraid I don't have any good advice. My little girl moved to London three years ago and I miss her more every day, it doesn't get any easier for me. Yes we are happy that we have nurtured well rounded independant adults but oh how I wish she was still my little girl wanting a cuddle before bed.

Mrs.French said...

I can't even imagine the empty nest stage of our lives...I am having a hard enough time dealing with preschool starting this fall. You are such a wonderful momma....

Mrs.French said...

oh and congrats deary!

Victoria said...

Karen, thank you for letting me know I am not alone. I am starting to feel neurotic! And oh, how I miss those bedtime snuggles! (Curling up with them, to read a good bedtime story each night, that was my favorite!) I hope you get to see your daughter often, and I am sure she is an amazing young woman!

Thank you, Mrs. French. Goodness, getting the girls ready for preschool seems like yesterday. Each stage is so bitter-sweet. I have a feeling though that you know this and are soaking it all in, savoring each moment. It's obvious what a good momma you are to your little boy!

SandraRee said...

My dear Victoria, I know your sadness. Both of my boys are gone from the nest. And I remember so well feeling disconnected as it was happening.

On one hand I was so happy to see them grow into great young men and on the other hand I yearned for the days when they were sweaty little monsters! lol The days when I could hug those two precious little boys that loved their mommy so, and that a hug from me would fix anything wrong in their lives at that moment. I wasn't allowed to keep that sadness for very long as my daughter was right here demanding my undivided attention. I believe when she's ready to leave me I most certainly will go in to a tailspin that you will never see the likes of again!

I think this type of sadness is good, it's a yearning for what was, and that makes the most bittersweet memories. The letting go has to happen so they'll come back to you with the love you gave to them, and it will, tenfold! For a time it will seem you're not close anymore, that will change, believe me! But they have to go their own way for just a little while first.

Beautiful post, Victoria. Your heartfelt words along with the photos touched me. You are such a good mother! Wished I could give you a big hug right now. :)

SandraRee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaimee McClellan said...

So sorry for those sad feelings but don't "those" people say "Change is good"? How proud you must be that your kids are off in the right direction though. I'm dreading those days and I try not to imagine them as I enjoy my four year old. But I know my day will come. Hang in there.

Victoria said...

Sandra, thank you so much. You are my hero!

I actually thought of you today, and realized how fortunate I am that my eldest is still close by, and that many other mothers, such as yourself, have grown children in much farther away places, and in situations, such as fighting in the war, something you know all too well. It makes me feel ashamed for feeling sorry for myself. Thank you for your understanding and compassion. And I know there are also mothers of children with special needs who would give anything just to have the opportunity to see there precious child be able to grow up and live independently.

And of course, I also have my youngest still at home, as do you. And even though she is going into high school, I know she still needs me as much as ever, just in different ways. I often feel the most sorry for her, because I feel that she is being cheated a bit, by having the family unit shift and and change, right as she is beginning her teen years. I want to keep things feeling as "normal" as possible, but am realizing I can't recreate what was, I can only learn to do better with what is.

Jaimee, thank you. Enjoy your four year old! That is such a great age!

jacquie said...

Victoria, i am about in the same place as you are. my son at 19 is living on his own, working full time and going to school. my #2 is a senior in high school. life changed so quickly and we are in that phase between independence and dependence. I've found it joyful and sad simultaneously.

Victoria said...

Well said Jacquie... "joyful and sad simultaneously"... that's it exactly! The last few days though, the sad overwhelmed the joy, but I am starting to feel much better. It helps knowing others are traveling the same road, and understand, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm not in a position to give any advice, but I can say everything you are feeling is natural and expected. This is a big change for your family, and your family will evolve and you with it. You are the mom, you are the cornerstone and rock and your children will always need you.

Today I went to my mom's 25th anniversary party for her company. It was a small party, just a handful of special coworkers and friends and I was so proud of her and so moved and touched. I haven't lived at home for a very long time, but I still need my mom so much.

T.Allen said...

Aah yes, I am familiar with the place you speak of. There is a most uncomfortable feeling which resides someplace between your head and your heart. I'm facing an emptier nest soon with one still at home. The worrier in me has been planning for this since his voice started to change. I have no advice, but if it's any consolation to you your nest may be thinning, but you are in no way alone.


Victoria said...

For and Thistle, Thanks you. It is so sweet how close you are to your Mom, I hope it will always be that way with my girls, too!

T., Thanks for understanding, and letting me know that I am not alone. Funny how we all plan for this, and even have days when we think it can't come soon enough, but it is still hard letting go of the familiar role we have held, and letting in this new phase of motherhood.

Caroline said...

Strangely enough, as a young adult, I think I know what you mean about having to redefine "family." I struggled with that a lot during high school (at boarding school) and college... feeling alone and melancholy and not entirely sure what to do with myself. Reverse empty nest syndrome?

I still feel little twinges of homesickness for my mom and dad and younger brother, even though my husband and I are starting a family of our own.

So maybe your kids are feeling some of the same things you are, in their own ways. I know for me, one of the best things about growing up was feeling closer to my parents because I could begin to understand them at "eye-level."

Victoria said...

Caroline, thank you. You are a wise woman. Yes, my children are indeed feeling some of the things I am, especially my oldest, who noticed the shift the most when she came back for summer break. I also quickly became aware, and as the mother felt it was up to me to find a way of keeping everyone feeling that everything was still the same. But of course everything isn't the same, how can it be?

And I also agree with you about the new closeness you can experience with your parents once you become an adult. I was just talking the other day to my oldest about this. With each passing year, I feel closer to my parents, (in life and in memory, as my father has pasted) because I can understand them better. Once I became the parent of teenager, I was finally able to "forgive" them for some of my own up bringing, because I finally got what they were going through. (I have issued many an apology, as I was hell on wheels as a teenager!)

Good luck with starting your own dear family. I think you are going to be a fantastic mother!

Michelle Engel Bencsko said...

Oh, Victoria, I'm just getting around to reading this! I feel really bad for not "being there" in the moment, but I am so relieved to hear that you are feeling better. More to come on the next response.

I'm not sure I would've had any good advice since my boys are so young, but I am already feeling what you feel. My heart aches to be the perfect mom. I think it's part of being a mom that makes us question our worth, skills and practices. The fact that we do, means we care. And caring ranks really high as one of the best thing we can do for our kids.

Victoria said...

Thank you Michelle, for your understanding words, I appreciate them very much!

Yes, it is that desire to be perfect for the children we love so much that it hurts at times. And you are right, for if we never questioned how we were doing, it would be because we just didn't care. Anytime something is really important, (and what is more important then how we raise our children?) we routinely stop, stand back and assess where we are, critique our work, make adjustments, try to do the best that we can. It's just that with motherhood, it can be so hard to stand back enough to get a clear perspective. The emotions are so intense, they can at times distort things, causing us to doubt our abilities, and making us question our decisions. It always helps to share the doubts with other mothers, who can empathize and help put things back in perspective!

Anonymous said...

I don't have any sage advice - but have loved reading through this thread of posts with experiences from all sides of life. I can identify with that feeling of "where did the summer go" has been a very unsettled summer here with much more rain than normal and those lazy days seem to have been few and far between. The photos are a gorgeous reminder of "proper summer"

Anonymous said...

Hi Vicki,
You are such a dear Mommy. I obviously don't have any advice because I'm a newbie mommy... but I do think it was great to write about this in your blog. And then to search for advice and inspiration on the web. I love doing that, finding things that relate to my life and problems online. Best wishes, and am glad you are feeling better!
Your Friend,

bunzi said...

lovely post. very poignant. when i moved out of my house the day after i married, i sat there and cried because the dynamics changed. i wouldn't be seeing my mom, dad and brother every day. life changes but w/ change there is growth. glad to hear you are feeling better. :) and lovely summer picture collection.