Thursday, May 25, 2017

Help A Middle-Aged Woman Out, Will You?

I know I have touched on this before. Today, though, I want to go deeper.

They say you have to give your kids these two things; roots and wings. So I was going along through this parenting adventure working on the roots part. Building relationships, reaching out in multiple directions; safety, security, trust, morals, compassion, etc. At some point, I had to admit, I felt like "Hey, I've got this!" I mean, really, no big deal, right? You do a bunch of things right, you do a bunch of things wrong, fix some stuff, tweak things, and learn a heck of a lot along the way. This is what I did, anyway. I eventually felt like I pretty much knew what I was doing with the whole parenting gig.

Remember how when you were somewhere around 18-22 and you started to feel like you knew everything?  Then the whole universe laughed and laughed and laughed as you started learning the real lessons life teaches. Your parents get smarter by the hour and you learn you have a long way to go. 

I am going to go ahead and say that I feel like other women do not help us a lot to prepare for this stage in our lives. When we are about to get married people have all this wisdom to lay down on us. When we get pregnant other women seem to come out of nowhere to tell us everything they can think of about what is going to happen and how we need to deal with all of it. When our children are small there is a never-ending supply of advice and warnings. It never stops. Women keep tending to us: Terrible twos - terrifying threes. Potty training, We hear everything from which position a baby should be in to sleep to how to talk to your daughter about her first period and how to have 'the talk' and drinking and driving  - the schools even have programs to help us with some of these things. 

Then - all of the sudden -  one day you look at your child and looking back at you is a big version of this kid you knew. Where are all those women now? The ones with the advice. 

Why are we left to stand at the edge of the parenting cliff wondering why nobody told us where the wings were and how to fasten them? Why are we scared and alone? Why do we watch these big versions of the kids we knew packing up their stuff while we try to smile and pretend we are not afraid? We act like we aren't hurting because we are not supposed be, right? 

Where is the brigade of women with all the advice? The silence is deafening. Some of the older, wiser women will use the words 'empty nest' with a knowing smile. Why doesn't anyone speak about the actual time the nest is wobbling with departures? How long does it take to regain your composure? 

What are we supposed to do with all the fear mixed with hope and excitement mixed with trepidation?  

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