“…[A]nd on the 4,745th day (13 years), God created teenagers, and all hell broke loose.”
OK, maybe that’s not the exact biblical passage, but in my book, it’s life, verbatim.
As the story goes, I birthed and raised two daughters who are now teens. One’s in college, the other in high school. My nest is half empty. (Or is it half full?) I remember with a swollen heart when these once-darling, precious, obedient angels were the sun that I revolved around. Motherhood was the best job I had ever had, and even though a mom never really clocks out, I couldn’t wait to wake up every morning to clock in.
Somewhere between the age of 12 and the aging of me from countless adolescent battles over cleaning rooms and doing homework and sassing back, the gravitational pull has weakened. It’s not that I’m counting the days until the last daughter leaves for college (about 744, in case you’re interested), but I am looking forward to life, rebooted.
Sometimes I feel guilty wanting to reclaim my life, B.C. (before children); after all, I will be a mother forever, and I can’t abandon my post now. But then I realize it is God’s plan all along. He’s brilliant! He knows how hard it is for mothers to let go, to release their babes, unprotected, out into the big, wild world.
And that’s why he created teenagers . . . to make the “letting go” process downright exhilarating.
Lest you think I am heartless, when I dropped my oldest daughter off at college for the first time, I cried like the baby she once was. So hard, so deeply primal, I had to pull over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see through my torrent of tears.
“She grew up so fast! I still have so much left to teach her! Where did my baby go?” I literally shouted in agony. Then, the most disturbing realization, “Where did MY life go?”
But then days passed, weeks went by, and within a month, I had adjusted to life without her under my roof, and so had she. Texting, Skyping, phone calls and e-mails . . . technology became the ties that bind.
I am already preparing for that day when my home, my children’s womb, contracts and spits out the last daughter into the world—her wide, open expanse to play in and grow in.
It will be a time for sadness. A time for reflection. A time to celebrate.
A time for rebirth.
Lynn Armitage is a freelance writer in Northern California, and an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.Check out her other Single Mom columns.