Monthly Archives: August 2016

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Landslide

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It’s hard to believe the end of summer is almost here. The weeks and months have flown by, some on lighthearted wings and some heavy with fear and doubt. Change is hard at any time but I am feeling it more as I grow older. Stevie Nicks wrote an iconic song in the 80’s called Landslide that mused about the passage of time and how we often fight it. Or not so much fight it as resist it because however hard the present moment is at least it’s the demon you know.

In many ways this summer I felt as though the landslide would take me down. I felt battered by the imminent threat of health issues facing my children. I felt both excited and saddened by the change that took my son and my future daughter-in-law to live in a new city far away from us. I felt at a crossroads of what I should be doing with my life. Losing the passion for one thing as the passion for another has grown. Wanting change but fearing it. Afraid of change because of the present life I have built. The fear is often rooted in the fact that all one has built can turn to ashes in a second because of a bad move or a risky decision. No mud, no lotus as the Buddhist adage states. But making that step is easier said than done.

As I write this I am sitting amid the glorious mountains of British Columbia. I am thinking about that landslide that could bring me down as Stevie did. It feels as though these majestic mountains could breathe in a deep breath and release a torrent of rocks and debris tumbling down its mountainside. I imagine it would be a tremendous relief just to purge those things that have clung to it for millennia or perhaps longer. I must release all of that as well. I must trust that I have done what I can to be the mother I’ve wanted to be, the wife, the sister, the friend. Stevie’s lyrics state that as my children get older, it is inevitable I get older too although at times it doesn’t feel that way. Yet I have white in my hair and aches in my hips. And still I realize as old as I might feel I am young compared to my elders who have experienced change for half as many years again. They bravely changed with time as scary as it must have been. So can I.

Last night we were sitting on a beautiful green listening to a concert in the twilight. The mountains around us were rose red with the sunset. The music soared into the air, families danced and sang, the mood was joyful. I saw a young boy playing a harmonica in time with the music, watched a young girl with long wild hair dancing, her arms flung out to embrace the music. Those children were just my memories reflected on the children dancing around me until my eyes blurred with tears. My daughter is a woman now, my son is a man. I wasn’t ready for that time to be past. I wasn’t ready. But time marches on. We think we can make time, we can schedule it or adjust it to our needs. But it is all illusion. The calendar pages turn whether we have kept our appointments or not.

Stevie Nicks believed that time would make us bolder. I hope it’s made me stronger and less afraid. Change is the one constant of time. My children have changed. I have changed. The season is once again about to change. Like Stevie I wonder if I can handle those changes. If I go down with the landslide will I be ready for the next peak to climb? Is there any guarantee that it is the right decision at the right time? No one has the answers to those questions. I am still not certain I am ready to change but I think I will be like that brave mountain. I will take a big, deep breath….and let go.

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Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Letting Go

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IMG_20150728_121624The challenge with parenting adult children is…well..they’re adults. As much as I can always see them in my mind’s eye as those little children who needed me so much or followed me around or asked endless questions, the fact is now they are taller then me and have to worry over things like rent and bills. In many ways it is a relief not to have to be the one person responsible for daily things like getting food ready, giving baths, helping with homework or rides to play dates with friends. In other ways, it is difficult to realize that when they are going through life’s bumps I can no longer just kiss them and make it better.

Parenting is an exercise in letting go. When my children were infants, the sheer volume of their need was sometimes overwhelming. They were so small and helpless. I could not interpret what their cries meant. Were they just hungry and wet or did they hurt somewhere? Were they afraid? Was this normal or something dire? I just remembered thinking how good it would be once they could actually tell me what was wrong.

Once they did find their voices, conversations were very enlightening and often a joy. It also had it’s own set of worries. Did I really have all the answers they sought? What if I guided them wrong or gave them the wrong impression about a crucial life issue? I felt the weight of being the one to open to world out to them. Books helped a lot, movies did too but their peers often had them coming home with challenging ideas that often made me doubt myself and question my own values.

And yet, from this perspective, I cut myself some slack. My husband and I have done a pretty good job. We taught them to stand on their own two feet even as we both stood behind them with our arms outstretched to catch them if they fell. We taught them to question the things they see, to seek things from the heart. They are fulfilling our dreams for them but sometimes we are tangled in our own fulfillment. Nothing is ever as it could be. In many ways it is better for being unexpected. Sometimes, lots of times, it is harder.

What is evident now that they are adults is that we cannot travel their journey although there are times they let us come along for the ride. We still have so much in common. At best we can be spectators, cheerleaders, shoulders to lean on. At one time we made decisions for them but now they do that for themselves. They can listen to our advice but they don’t need to take it. They are free citizens of the world and what they make of that will be their own doing. It’s what we’ve always wanted. It’s what we fear the most. We all have our demons. We are all given tasks in life to work out.
I am fortunate. My children have reached adulthood. They are forging their own lives. I don’t negate that life can be harsh but it is beautiful too. Falling in love. Traveling to new and exciting places. Sharing times with a friend. Beautiful music. So much to live for. It is hard sometimes not to see that little girl running with her long wild hair streaming behind her or that little boy bent intently over the intricate Lego sculpture he has created. They are with me at every age in my memory, pressed between the pages of my heart. Yet, I helicopter. I hover. I worry about them, think about them, let them go. Each day I get better at that. Or I hope I do.

I know they have their own battles to fight. They must get to know who they are and what their place is in this messy, glorious thing called life. I see their strength and their need to work things for for themselves. I am here and they know it. Kahlil Gibran once wrote that although children come through us they are not actually from us. Yes and no. I see his point but I know that as they came through me, some small piece of me has stayed with them. I believe that of every parent. Each step is letting go even more. I am an adult and so are they. They’ve got this.

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