Metamorphosis of a Mother

I always defined myself as a mother of my children.  I even have that description in my "about" page on my blog.  It is so true: I used to be--many, many snows ago--the original "Earth Mother".  I have a mental image of me, walking somewhere with four children: with an older child (ten, perhaps?) pushing a little one in a stroller, my holding a four-year old's hand, and an older baby in a backpack on my back.  I so loved being pregnant, having children, raising them--just being a mother.  That is how I defined myself, for years and years (I have five, Baruch Hashem). 

And then, without warning, everything changed.  It's funny how I was not even aware of it; my eldest had moved out of the house long before (there is a 17 year difference between her and my youngest).  Then, in 2003, my sons moved out together--to live overseas.  And in 2004, my baby, then only fifteen, moved to that same country to attend three years of high school and then, serve in the army.  In 2005, my middle daughter graduated high school and left for a college year abroad, which (of course) turned into another three years attending a different college for her Bachelor's degree in business administration.

There I was: empty-nested, but mentally still defining myself as. . .a mother of small children!  I didn't somehow, emotionally and psychologically keep up with the changes in my family, and with the passage of time.  They just "happened," and suddenly I found myself--even though I had already been a grandmother since the year 1999--different: missing my children.  I think I realized that I was. . .OLDER.  With no apparent purpose, and a big emptiness in my heart.

Slowly but surely, this is beginning to change.  I am evolving, as we all must do as we age and (hopefully) mature.  I watch my younger son, a new father now with two children, being hands-on and a participant father in raising them, a boy and a girl, only 17 and 7 months respectively, and I am proud of him.

This developed even further during Pesach (Passover) with the first visit of my older son and his wife, whom I hadn't seen since their wedding over two years ago.  I watched my older son, who is expecting his first child, being demonstrative and loving to his wife, doting on her in her first pregnancy, and I am amazed: the two brothers are both better husbands than I ever hoped they would be.

I am certain that they, following that same path of kindness, love, and participation in the raising of a child--the most important job in the world--will be outstanding fathers.

My eldest, a daughter who also lives far away from us, is an entrepreneur but also a loving mother of three.  In addition, she deliberately went about avoiding making the same mistakes her mother made (!) in raising her children, and has succeeded at it.  I am hoping that my two unmarried daughters will find the right partner for each of them soon: their soul-mates, and embark on that miraculous journey called "life."

Meanwhile, I now am beginning to really appreciate them as my adult children, with families of their own.  And my role is changing, too-- to be a good "Savta" to my grandchildren, wherever in the world they might be.


Batya said…
Lovely post
All I ever wanted to be was to be a mother.
Lady-Light said…
Batya: Yup. I mean, thank you!
this was a lovely post, thank you. i think about that time (when my kids are no longer little) sometimes and it makes me so sad! thanks for describing the path and the emotions that come with it so eloquently!
Lady-Light said…
MM: Thank you. That is exactly the way I felt, and sometimes (I confess) still feel: there is a sadness to little ones growing up, even though one is happy that (with the help of G-d) they did so.

Even though time marches on, it is an ending, of sorts: of childhood, and one's living in the present, every second taken up with one's children.

When they grow up and move out, it becomes very, very...quiet; and empty.

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