Intentional Planning

I was listening to a call from Dr. Laura that has me mulling some things over. Have you ever heard the desperation in someone’s voice and related to those thoughts? The conversation I heard has made a significant self discovery. 

The call was from a mom who had her last daughter leave for college. She was having a hard time adjusting to an empty nest. She had poured herself into her life as a mom and she felt she no longer had purpose beyond that. Dr. Laura carefully navigated her back to herself. She asked her what she had dreamed of being as a young woman and took her on a journey of rediscovering her life before motherhood and moving her toward her life after motherhood. 

None of this to say that motherhood is bad It is a wonderful season. She immersed herself in the role that was offered in that time and space of her life. I am happy she was able to see and set her priority as a mom. This isn’t easy to do.  I was driving during the call and actually said out loud to the radio, “Awww, you’re a mom with a good heart.” 

Then it got real. Dr. Laura told her she was to be commended for her thoughtful way of navigating this time of her life. She said that sometimes women have more babies so as to not let go of that feeling of being needed. As soon as their child gets to a certain age, they’ll have another baby and begin a cycle. Dr. Laura didn’t say it as a bad thing rather just a fact of life for some. 

It was then that it hit me. I was that woman. When my daughter Casey was heading off to college and the thought of being alone hit me, I immersed myself in a new marriage, small stepchildren. When things got especially hard, I immersed myself in one week old rescue dog I named Lulu which was an ode to Toddler Casey who one day proclaimed that her name was CaseyLulu and no one could address her as Casey anymore. When nothing seemed to be going right and I felt as if I were drowning in grief and displacement, I went harder at this process never allowing myself to settle in a new role. So while I didn’t have another child physically, I began again in essence. Perhaps the reason I didn’t think about what happens next was because I was a young mom and I had never been an adult without children. If I learned a lesson, can I put it down in words for myself and others who are going through these same points in life? 

Our season as our kid’s parents is short in the relative scheme of life. We are entrusted with these little beings to raise and it is our job to entrust them with the future and the knowledge of God and healthy relationships with others. After that, we become colleagues to these familiar adults and offer advice when asked. It is before we get to this time that we have to look for the next thing we are going to do with our lives. 

Life is forever changing. 

My hope is that you are aware and looking forward to the next part of your life. My time for mothering is complete. My children are all up and out. Each of them are productive members of society and for that I am grateful beyond measure to God. 

This new season that I am in brings on challenges of its own in new thought processes. I have a new purpose as a Nana to Cameron Joshua who is 2. Lulu the Wonder Dog turns 13 in about a month and our eyes fix on what is next. We are weighing options of retirement, where and when are the questions as we look to the next opportunity. As I type I realize much of life’s answers and good choices are made with lots of prayer and self reflection before we impulsively plunge into something that looks like a solution to frankly a problem that doesn’t have to be one. Life isn’t lived out fully if we are putting out fires of what-if thinking but instead it is lived out with assessment and consideration and looking at the bigger picture and the future that awaits.  

2 thoughts on “Intentional Planning

  1. Ok, so I very seriously need to get caught up on my blog so you know more of the whole story… But reading this I honestly laughed out loud.

    Because I’m just on the other side of getting a ton of flack for the opposite!

    I made a lot of decisions as a single parent that I needed to make for my daughter. When you are the only source of income, you don’t take many risks even if you are unhappy with a job. You live near family, even if they are toxic. You don’t move around much even if the places you are living are having issues, to give them stability.

    And when your child decides that they no longer wish to be accountable for flunking all but 2 classes. And they no longer want to answer to you when they choose not to come home at night without telling you where they were. And they no longer feel obligated to be where they say they will be and do what they say they will do. And they decide that the solution is that it’s their time to spread their wings and fly whether or not you thought they were ready… there’s unfortunately really not much you can do to change their mind once they’ve decided what their chosen path is going to be.

    So you cry and you mourn for a while… feeling completely out of place because so much of everything until now had always revolved around making decisions that were the safe responsible parent decisions for their well being even if isn’t what your personal preference would be.

    And now it’s just you and those decisions… with no real reason left for them anymore.

    And so, I moved on.

    More than 6 months after my daughter had last called my apartment her home, I’d gotten a new job in a city that I wanted to be in, and having the money saved up intentionally for that reason (with some to spare even), I moved.

    The amount of backlash I got shocked me. How dare I not keep my life in limbo as a backup plan in case my daughter didn’t like the consequences of her decision! But what if she has kids in a few years and I’m so far away from being able to help her out! But what if she gets sick! But she’s going to miss me!

    I make quite a bit more now than I did before, and love my job so far, and yet, I’ve actually been told to my face that they’d never imagined I’d do something so irresponsible as leaving my job to move! I was almost 40, and it’s irresponsible to change to a better job that’s where I wanted to be?

    For the record, kiddo was/is welcome to come. She chose to stay.
    My daughter and I honestly are getting along much better with a few states between us. She’s doing well (except those classes she’s retaking), and has honestly gotten her act together on responsibility with work and finances much faster than I expected. We are both happy where we are.

    Honestly, I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time. I’m relating a lot to the folks you hear about that get divorced after kids move out and always say that they didn’t realize how bad things had gotten till afterwards.

    But I’ve seriously lost friendships over my decision to let my daughter live her own life, and not cling to the actively parenting role instead of stepping into the advisor role. I’m apparently supposed to be the depressed parenting waiting around for her to decide to come home, not moving on with my own life as well.

    I’ve never made a decision that felt more like it was exactly where I was supposed to be in my life. But man…. moving on to your next role in life isn’t very popular either. The phrase “mid life crisis” has been uttered multiple times. I think most people would have supported having a new baby to get a do-over much better!

    1. Oh Blue I had no idea all of this was happening. Listen. I don’t ascribe to the martyr/victim thinking that seems pervasive right now. If she decides she could do things her own way then so it is. Once you have determined that your roles are changed it’s time to make that move. I’m not at all surprised that your relationship is better. She saw that you respected her decision and moved on. She knows she always has a home if she chooses.

      So yes, keep writing so you can fill us in as I honestly have wondered where you were and if you were ok. It is good to hear from you!

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