A big drop and what's next

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A big drop and what's next?

Over the past several weeks, I have walked by this scene dozens of times per day. It is situated on a much traveled thoroughfare into our kitchen. Until a few days ago, though I had seen it with my eyes, I had not stopped and let it sink into my consciousness. One of our girls enjoys writing memos and tidings on this family message center. This was her handiwork.

As I let the words “bored lassie” sink into myself, they began to speak to me. Is boredom what I am feeling? These two little words served as invitation to stop and pay attention to both my internal rumblings as well as what might be going on within my daughter. I started with myself.

The past two years have been full of excitement, transition and change. We left our home of twenty three years and headed for a much dreamed about historical home. Two of our sons have married in places far from our home, and big celebrations in our new backyard and home have followed. Our house was on a neighborhood Christmas tour where thousands walked through our living space. Three big events in one year were a big personal motivation to get settled and put forth a warm and inviting place for both friends and strangers alike. Much of my time and energy has ebbed and flowed around these happenings.

But now they have passed. My whole body, mind and heart feel a kind of letdown.

In the past year, we have also helped all three of our living parents move into what will almost surely be the place where they live out the rest of their lives. Walking alongside and in the midst of their process has led me to ponder and wonder and consider what that stage of life will bring for me, my husband and our children.

My husband continues a shift of spending less time at work and more at home. The benefits to me and to our children have been immeasurable and such a gift. Fuller sharing of home responsibilities has opened up time and space and freedom for me as I consider what’s next. We are still very actively parenting, but our girls are growing up. I quite seriously recently told him that this stage of parenting is a bit like being a firefighter. There can be a great deal of downtime in the station, but when there is an emergency, we have to be ready to respond. We can’t fill our time so much that we aren’t physically, mentally or emotionally prepared when the fire alarm sounds. We must choose wisely.

For much of my days as mom, I was a sort of busyness junkie. There was little time to feel the ebb and flow of life. Over the last ten years, that has shifted. As I have reflected on the emotional drop of recent days, I believe it to be a necessary, good and healthy place to be, though at times it is a bit uncomfortable. Being content and enjoying life when things are not chaotic and calendars are not packed is an invitation to more deeply consider how to spend time and energy.

I continue to work on a book project – in fact a rough draft sits to my left as I write this blog. My middle school aged daughters are growing up and into greater independence. I hope that as we experience this summer, it can be a time of growth. Rather than being a “screen enforcer” and alarm clock, I wish to make this a time of teaching life skills, enjoying outings together, sprinkled with rest and relaxation. Having done this gig before, I am quite aware of how these next years pass by at warp speed.

After we put a great deal of emotional energy toward anything, whether it is a celebration or a time of crisis, and then life levels out, there will be a realignment. I don’t really think that I am a “bored lassie”, but there are changes, shifts and opportunities on the horizon. My goal is to mostly live in the moment but at the same time spend energy and intention toward “what’s next?” Transitions are certainly ahead.

Afterword: Once again, I have learned that it is best to ask another what they mean when we are unsure of the meanings behind words or actions. Though my daughter admitted that she was indeed bored when she wrote the words bored and lassie, she also shared that they come from two of her favorite tv series – Sherlock and Psych. Thanks to her for the inspiration, no matter what she had in mind.