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Holding It All Together-And Just Like That

By Amy McCollom
They didn’t even ask permission. My kids didn’t ask, my husband didn’t ask, the world didn’t ask. Last weekend the last of my children had their 18th birthdays, and turned into adults, and just like that, my life status changed as well. I had no more little children.

My kids grew up, and I was no longer a mama bear, per se. They didn’t need me like that any more. They didn’t need me to cut their sandwiches into smaller pieces, or tie their shoes, or hold their hands while crossing a busy street. They didn’t need me to drill them on their times tables, help them build a science project, or bake cupcakes for their classroom parties anymore. No, my job of being a mommy is over, and now my position is more of a consultant rather than a care-giver. How do you just turn that off?

Thank goodness I still have a dog that thinks I’m her mom, and three cats that need hugs and fed and cared for. I also have a pet rat that looks forward to daily snuggles so I am not without company or an “empty nest,” as some would say.

I also teach Sunday School, and I enjoy nurturing and bonding with the little ones that come to my class. I think sometimes I have more fun in there than they do, because I can let my creative side run wild with puppets and music and silly voices. We all have a good time and learn some things too! I enjoy little kids.

Through the week, I am going to have to re-focus on what my new plans and goals are though. I haven’t thought much about that, and now that the time has come that I will have free time in the summer and fall, new opportunities are available.

There are so many options for me now – college, jobs, travel, writing a book, joining the circus, going to clown school, starting an emu farm, learning to ski, taxidermy school, taking up quilting, moving to Florida, training flying squirrels,…the possibilities are endless. 

One thing I know I do not want to do is end up just sitting around waiting for my children to come visit me. They all have their own lives to live, just like I did. I remember how busy I was raising my family and as much as I wanted to make sure the grandparents had their time with the grandkids, sometimes it just was not possible due to our schedules. I do not want to make my grown children feel guilty if their lives are too busy to come see me every weekend. But I would like a phone call to check up on me and a nice present on my birthday and Mother’s Day, if it’s not too much trouble. 

I plan to have other things in my life going on that will keep me occupied enough that I don’t rely on my children for all of my entertainment and socialization. Kids, if I happen to forget this, keep this column and hold me to it. I do not want to burden my children with unrealistic demands. I want them to know that I am still around if they need advice or need a soft place to land after a rough go in the world. But I do not want to try and control anything after they leave the nest. 

I hope that I have done a good job giving them all the structure, good upbringing, Godly teaching, and love that I could have poured into them to make them great people. I did what I thought was right, and maybe I wasn’t perfect, but at the time it was all I could do. I still pray for my children, grown-up or otherwise, that they embrace the good that I tried to impart to them and that they stand firm against the evil days of this world. As long as they are Holy, Healthy, and Happy that is all I want. 

Please pray for me that this will be a smooth transition for me from caregiver to consultant. Just like skydiving, bull riding, or semi-driving, I’ve never done this before. But what choice do we have, eh? Onwards and upwards, my friends. Onwards and upwards.

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