54: A Change of Seasons

54: A Change of Seasons

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

A Change of Seasons

I’ve been so involved with motherhood for most of my life that I hardly noticed when it ended. Oh, there was the year when our first bird left the nest, going to college just an hour away. I thought I’d see her often — my mistake!

For the first few months after she left, each time I passed her bedroom I’d look at the stuffed animals scattered about her colorful bedspread, her band jacket hanging in the closet, little trinkets of memories on her dresser. By the time I’d get to the piano in the living room, the tears were really falling. Then I’d head for the phone and call our daughter, just to hear her voice.

We had two more at home, and we were still actively involved at school, church and in the community. I hardly noticed when our oldest son left, because he lived in the area and he came home for meals. We were still busy and the changes were slight.

Two years later when our youngest son left for college, I packed to go with him! His school was three hours away. On the weekends when my hubby and I could no longer stand it, we would take a drive and go to see him. We would spend a couple of hours visiting, always taking him out to dinner, where he could get a good meal. Then I’d hug him goodbye and cry all the way home.

He was my baby and it was so hard to let go.

During the week, I’d drive by the ball field where we spent so much time watching the boys play and working at the concession stand with our daughter; my heart ached for a rerun of those years. All around town I’d see other kids walking along, going to all the activities our kids had once done. Who said, “You can never go home again?” I’d welcome them all back in a minute.

But I knew that wasn’t how things were to be. Another season passed and our daughter got engaged and was planning her wedding. There were things to do, places to go, bridal showers to plan and many details to attend to. The empty nest was full again as summer came, and then empty as college resumed. In February, a beautiful wedding took place, and I knew things would never be the same. It was a happy day, but hard to believe my firstborn was becoming a wife.

It hit me one afternoon when I went into my gynecologist’s office for my usual checkup. I looked around the room where mothers-to-be were seated. Their world was just beginning. Mine, I felt, was taking another turn. Hadn’t it just been me sitting in this office, awaiting the birth of our now-married daughter? Then the boys. Where had the years gone? I headed for the ladies’ room, and turned on the water in the sink and started to sob!

I knew this was a mere interruption in the pattern of things, but this was the most important job I’d had in my life. Why did it hurt so much now? I had friends who were starting new careers and many had jobs they were still at. But my job had been my husband and children and home. What would my life be now?

I splashed some water on my face and wiped my eyes. Then I went to take my seat with the young mothers. Why couldn’t they have a separate room for us menopausal women? Don’t they know how hard it is to sit and look and be reminded of the days when our bellies were huge!

When I got in to see my doctor I made this suggestion openly to him. He prescribed hormone replacement, some brisk walking and instructed me to “Get a life.” I told him I’d had one, and always would — my children. I got a lecture, a prescription for estrogen and a sample of Prozac tablets.

That was several years ago. Today, I’m doing the work I enjoyed before my children came along — the work I placed on hold during those wonderful years. I also have two darling rewards in our grand-gals. What a blessing they are to me, and what a blessing to watch as our children continue growing into happy, responsible adults.

Maybe the seasons change too quickly, but each one is a wonder of beauty. And God gives us the strength to make changes in our own lives when needed. Our children are priceless. But so are those memories we’ve made, and each one will last a lifetime. Wherever we go, our memories remain, movies replayed in slow motion, ours to watch whenever we desire and to treasure deep within our hearts.

~Diane White
Chicken Soup to Inspire a Woman’s Soul

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