I’m having a BIG SUMMER.
My youngest son is leaving home. The beautiful boy whom we’ve raised and coddled is departing the nest and testing out his wings. Interestingly, I feel different than when my first child left home; I felt grief and trepidation mixed in with my celebration for him , and it turns out there was good reason for me to worry. I feel different this time…happy and excited for my youngest…and curious for ME.
Who will I be when I’m not MOM in every moment of every day? Who am I?
There are solid reasons to ask these questions…I’ve been preparing to be a mother since I was 7 years old, when I started carefully recording the flaws in my experience of childhood and began creating the Most Conscious Mother in the Universe persona. “When I have children, I’ll be the best mother in the world,” I reasoned. It was a way to rewrite my own sad tale and feel a sense of control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.
When I became a young adult, the wounds were so immense and obvious that I felt I should never be a mother, I felt so damaged. When I entered therapy at age 23, my goal was to rewrite ME just IN CASE I were to ever consider having children. I didn’t want to pass on a WHISPER of my dysfunctional family’s illness, I wanted to be a scrupulously CLEAN VESSEL. I did so much work to make that happen, and did wind up eradicating 95% of the nasty patterns that I was imprinted by as a soft, impressionable girl. But that last 5% remained.
That 5% is the part of me that is scrambling to cling to the identity of the best mom ever because I’m not entirely sure who I am underneath that. What will I be when I don’t have children at home to project my own needs and wants onto?
I’m at a moment in my life when I am asking the deep questions of identity change, questions we might all ask ourselves in the crucial pivot points when our lives can begin anew. Who are we, really, underneath all of the ways that we have learned to serve others, underneath all of the projections of who we thought we should be, underneath all of the ways we learned to survive in this world?
I’m uncovering the creative self, the one who artfully created a beautiful family and held the space for extraordinary children to be loved and supported in their unique brilliance. I’m an artist who devoted her craft to her ancestral lineage, whose descendants will not carry the burdens I have had to carry. The freedom of future generations of my lineage is perhaps my greatest creative achievement. As I continue to spin the web of my life, I can create for myself now. There are so many places I want to go with my visual art, writing and music!
But letting go of the day-to-day identity of “best mother” is a big one for me…I think because it is who I have been becoming since I was so young…and it is the badge I am used to carrying the most. Carefully crafted and intentionally fortified every moment of every day, tirelessly driven to prevent future generations from perpetuating the unconsciousness I’ve had to heal in myself…it has been an obsession. I’ve felt like I was holding apart the Clashing Rocks of Greek Mythology, trying to prevent the sins of my forefathers/foremothers from touching the innocent children to come, while still passing on the good. It has taken an incredible amount of effort. And now my day-to-day mother work is done.
But I’m not done being a mother! I have learned about myself that I am a Mother, but not just to my children. I’m a mother to daughters in the world (who are not my children but nonetheless seek what I can offer them). I’m a mother to other women who were not mothered and seek to love themselves (the subject of my next book, I Am Her Daughter). And I am the mother of my own Inner Tribe ™ , all of whom seek the love that only I can give them. I am my own mother, just as I am my own daughter.
And as I travel this next road of my life, I see my inner artist coming forward, making her presence known in greater brilliance. I see my beloved husband and I having great adventures and teaching around the country. I feel good things coming.
A Wise Woman knows when to let go and embrace a new path. And this is the time for opening up to parts of the story yet to be written. I look forward to the travel.
Stay tuned for exciting gifts from me to you, coming your way this summer!
Do you feel the calling of your soul? Perhaps a Vision Quest is in order!
P.S. Get my free article, “10 Tips for Taking Your Own Modern Vision Quest”!
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P.P.P.S. Let me know if I can assist you in finding the map of your life.