Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time for Change

The empty nest is a lonely place. Full-time mothering (which can include working outside the home) is a joy. Oh, I'm not whitewashing the frustration and the fatigue - the desire for time alone or just a good night's sleep. But, looking back over the almost 26 years that I've been a mother, it's been the best time of my life. I've loved cuddling babies, chasing squealing toddlers to sweep them up in my arms and kiss their chubby necks, spending long hours reading aloud, planning birthday parties, comforting hurts, and watching them grow into 3 lovely adults. Two girls and a boy we've raised. And now what?

Even through their university years I was busy enough at home - loving the moments when they came in from class in the middle of the day and wanted to chat over a cup of tea. I was so happy that I could be available at odd times whenever they felt like talking with Mom. And the women's ministry at church, the pursuit of writing to be published, occasional substitute teaching kept me in touch with the world outside my home.

But something changed this summer. The youngest graduated from university, went off to Europe, returned and although she's just going to be living in the basement suite, I won't be cooking for her. She won't be sitting around my dinner table. We're setting up guidelines for independent living - for all of us. Phoning before entering each other's space, paying a token rent, getting her own car, etc.

And I faced the fact that although I will always be a mother and my children will always delight my heart, I was starting to look at life through very dark glasses, wondering where my place is in all of this, feeling old and useless. I prayed, took long walks, talked to my husband...and started studying for my French degree. I started it 6 years ago, then stopped because I didn't think I wanted to have a regular teaching job. But things have changed. A regular job sounds good to me again.

So there, on the table are the books for my first three courses - I'm majoring in French and hope to minor in English. It's going to take two and a bit solid years of study. But I'm ready for it. At 51, I'm not ready to coast to old age. I feel energized and purposeful! And suddenly free!

Sewing and crafting will still be part of my life - that never changes. I've been working on some projects that I hope to show you soon.

My daughters were home for lunch on Sunday - eldest daughter and her husband left for Paris that night. We noticed that we were all wearing black and white, so we asked Gerry to take a photo of us on the black and white staircase. I'm the shortest of the three, so I insisted on being on the top stair - it makes me look taller, don't you think? Then Cristal who was planning to climb the Eiffel Tower today, and Ashley. Our son and his wife are in Nova Scotia for a couple of weeks - this is the summer of the traveling children!
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Barb said...

Hi Lorrie,

Congrats on your new adventure. We are never too old to try something new. The picture of the 3 of you is lovely.


Charm and Grace said...

Such beautiful girls... all three of you! You look as young as your girls do. Stages of life are interesting, arent they? It seems that I am getting to do a lot more "me stuff" lately than I have in so long. Everything focused on the kids for so long. Good for you with your French and English!


Betty said...

Oh my goodness! We are living parallel lives. My youngest is 16 and I have been thinking about returning to college this semester too. I started to get a Medical Information degree a few years ago and with health issues quit, but now I am ready to start "learning" again. Good luck to you!

Sandra Evertson said...

Beautiful birds nest photo!

Lilli in Vancouver said...

Three beautiful women :)

What a big change for you! Now you get to explore new layers of yourself, appreciate many more corners of God's great universe. Now that you're being forced to re-frame what was has been your dominant role and identity for the past several years, you'll have so many more opportunities to try new things.

You'll always be a loving and beloved Mother, and now you can add to that and be the cherished mother that also does these other cool things...


:) Love, Lilli

Barbara said...

What a beautiful photograph Lorrie.
Having been there I can feel your pain, it is so real and even though busy does take some time getting used to the empty nest.
No matter where our children go we always carry them in our heart.
Blessings. Barbara

Tabitha said...

Well, hello!! Nice to "meet" you!! The photo of you and your girls is lovely--it sounds like you have such a nice family. Your new adventure into French will surely keep you busy and keep your brain sharp!! We all need a good challenge!!
I'll be checking in on you often--take care!

Linda Jo said...

Your girls are beautiful! That's great that you are going to get your degree in French! Good for you! And I'm glad to see you joined us on the Christian Paper Artists yahoo group!

Unknown said...


I am so happy for you in continuing on with your studies and the three of you are so pretty. I know it must be hard with changes like these. You are doing a great thing...changing with life and being the better for it. YOU GO GIRL!

Kindredly, Lynne Laura

Post card from the road 3

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