I just erased an entire blog I wrote. I was almost done with it and then I realized it was not what I wanted to say at all. So, I deleted every last word. I don't like to plan things out really, outline what I'm trying to say. It feels forced that way. And the words I wrote felt false, fake, not authentic. I want to live my life as real as possible. I want to feel every word I write from each fingertip as if they are an extension of myself. I write to keep myself in check, to make sure that I am living the most honest way. We all get so lost in our lives, in the we-shoulds, in the expectations that mean nothing at the end of the day really. If I put everything aside that makes me unhappy, I wake up every morning so proud of where my life has landed though I have a ways to go. I have to give myself pep talks to get through the day but I know I have the power in me to my life better. Sometimes we take time to grow into who, what we really are. I wake up in the morning and I want to be better than I was the day before. I don't always win that battle but I try. Honestly that's all that is important. One day I'll be old and gray. I'll sit in my rocker with my white hair and I'll smile, knowing even if it took me years to figure out, look how happy I am now.
I had my kid young. I missed out on a lot of stuff. Basically I didn't really have my twenties. I had little idea of what I was doing, what I wanted. All I knew is that I had to grow up pretty fast so I did. I look back at it now and don't regret that life. I learned what strength meant. I learned what love, real love was. I learned compassion and honesty and what struggle really was. I paid my dues and whatever life owed me I understood what it felt like to be wrong. Those are quality lessons, lessons that led me to be where I am right now. I look at my mother now, this amazing strong woman. They say that when you have your own children you get a new understanding for your parents. And, it's true, I absolutely did when I had my daughter. The thing is I didn't really get it her completely until this year. She got married so young. She had babies so young. She gave her entire life to a man who couldn't keep his feet on the ground, to four kids who put her through so much. Not once did she complain. Not once did she make us feel like she gave up anything. Not once did she make us feel like her life was unwanted, like we were unwanted. She put her head down, found that strength, and pushed forward, carrying all of us on her back. Not once did she complain. She gave us her life, gave up her dreams, never got a chance to figure out who she was for us. And now that my kid is older and doesn't need me, I have a whole new life in front of me. I see my mother in a whole new light because I get it. We give everything we have to our kids, our husbands, putting ourselves to the side because they are more important in that moment.
My mother, this person I wish I had seen so much earlier in my life, is now learning and growing and experiencing all these things she never got a chance to do before. She no longer has this obligation to us. Her kids are grown with children of their own, with families of their own. She doesn't have to bake the cookies anymore. I love seeing how happy she is, how much she is able to do for herself now. She is an inspiration to me. I don't see her often as I should but I get it. She gave me so many years of being by side at a drop of a hat, she doesn't need to be there like that anymore. I know if I called, she would come running. I think about my own kid, this journey she is on and how our relationship is changing. It's different now that she's older and you know I'm fine with it. I thought perhaps I would have a hard time, this empty nest feeling that I wouldn't know how to fill. This is going to sound strange. There are some of us that are parents for life, that will hover over our children even as grown adults. And then there are some of us who are ok to let that bird fly and watch them as they go, always there but not always in eye sight.
The older I get, the more I see my mother in myself. You know what? That makes me happy. There's a lot of dreamer in me just like my father but I see her, too. It's this weird balance of living in the clouds with my feet on the ground. I get how tough it must have been for my mother to have this talent and not be able to do anything with it because her responsibility was to us. And I want to learn from her and figure out a way to be both, to honor them both. I know a lot of the reasons why I write these words today is because of losing my father, of the courage he gave me in his passing. I know when I look at my mother now, knowing that one day I will lose her as well, how much I want her to see all the great things I can do. She once told me when I was a 17 year old kid that she lived vicariously through her children. I've never forgot that statement and, seeing her now, I am so glad she no longer feels like she has to clip her wings for us. That, my friends, gives me so much hope for myself. I don't know exactly where I am going, what tomorrow will bring. I haven't quite figured it out and I'm really not upset by that. What I feel is hope again, a drive again, this fire in my belly to do all those things that I once thought I could never do. I don't want my life to be in vain over excuses that don't really mean anything. I want to be honest and real and try. I gave my kid half my life and I will always be her mother but, just like my own mother, it's time I do me and not feel bad about it. When you have children, you change but it doesn't mean you give up what makes you because one day those children will fly away. And what you will still have is you, this new and beautiful version of you.