My Dearest Husband,
Well you asked. You wanted to know how I was doing after dropping our last baby off at kindergarten. I didn’t want to tell you because it is really something I don’t think you CAN understand. Our roles in our kids’ lives are different–both essential, but different. You come home at the end of the day for dinner and bedtime, so whether the kids are here or not during the day really has no bearing on your normal daily events. For me, the kids have been my full time job. Their constant care and well being the center of my very existence. With our last one off to school, I guess you could say I feel…….unemployed.
Picture for a moment you walk into work tomorrow and your “boss” tells you “Thanks for all of your hard work for the last twenty years, but you can go home now. Oh and by the way, you can never work in the rubber and plastics industry again. Have a great rest of your life.” What would you do? Your whole self is now changed–gone, abruptly and irreversibly, because that which has defined you for so long is over. How would you feel? Chances are you’d feel lost. I mean, you’ve spent a major part of your life at this company. You’ve worked hard and it wasn’t just a job but an integral part of who you are. But it’s over. And not only is it over, but you cannot go back to doing that very thing you loved, the thing that has defined you for so long. Now what?
Now what, indeed.
For the past 16 years, raising our kids has been my job. It has been the center of my every day for those 16 years and has been what defines me, my purpose for existence entirely since giving up my nursing career 11 years ago. I have no regrets of being an at-home mom, of giving up a job I loved–NONE. I have embraced every moment and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be with our kids, to have raised them, to have been there to teach them, play with them, and love them. I think I’ve been pretty great at it too. But now what?
The tears I shed when dropping off our baby at school isn’t just for her, it is for me too. Yes, I miss her like crazy, just like I miss all of her sibling. But I know she is ready and she will go on to do great things. I cannot confidently say those same things about myself.
If you were to lose your job, your friends and family would rally around you, offer words of wisdom, comfort you for as long as it took for you to figure things out.
I have lost my job and I am expected to be happy. I’m supposed to celebrate having “free time” and be willing to “let them go”. But I don’t want to let them go because I don’t want to let myself go. It’s not that I don’t want our kids to move on to greater things in life, because you know I do, it’s that I don’t know how to move on by myself–just me.
So, my tears spilled, dear husband, are not just for my babies growing up. As sad as I am to let them go and as much as I miss them, I knew it was inevitable, as it is part of life. My tears are shed in mourning for who I have been for the last 16 years. They are tears for the uncertain future of me.