It looks like I may sell this house. While I’m very excited about being able to literally move on after my divorce 1 ½ years ago, this house holds so many memories. Good and bad ones. I like to focus on the good ones. My daughter brought a song to my attention last year that says so much. It’s by Miranda Lambert titled “The House That Built Me”. This song produces such strong emotions that it can make me cry within about 3 seconds (I am a bit of a crybaby). I’ve been here for over 10 years watching both kids grow up and graduate, had a marriage that wasn’t great but did have a few good times mixed in with the bad, gone through a divorce (yes, that is a happy memory at this point) had numerous pets that came and went and are now buried here, trees that were planted in memory of loved ones, witnessed the passing of my much loved step-father, enjoyed countless birthdays and Mothers Days, had lazy days by the pool, my first ride on a tractor, watched my son pole vault to amazing heights, watched my daughter ride her pony…….. All of these memories I will pack and take with me. What I can’t take with me are a couple of things attached to this house, my back porch and my huge claw foot bathtub.
I love my screened-in back porch. There are all kinds of memories there. During the last 1 ½ years a tradition called “wine on the porch” was created. It played a big part in getting me through my divorce. Many evenings were spent out there with friends just hanging out. It was a time where I was able to put aside all the stress of the day and sit out there simply laughing and loving life. Other times saw me frustrated and feeling like life was unfair. And at times it was grossly unfair. Ultimately, after an evening on the porch, I always felt like I could keep going no matter what came at me next. Through it all I have learned that you must move on. You have to let things go because being angry and bitter just eats you up inside. I discovered how to give my worries to God on this porch. Truly letting go is liberating. It’s a freedom that is unparalleled. My friends and family say they witnessed me finding true happiness through this process. Something I had been missing for so many years. So I will miss this porch but the tradition of “wine on the porch” will definitely continue wherever I end up settling.
My bathtub is fantastic! It’s an enormous claw-foot tub that I swear I can just about swim laps in. There is nothing like sinking down in a tub of hot water at the end of the day and enjoying the peace and solitude it brings. People that know me, give me a hard time about always being in that tub any time they call. Maybe I do spend an inordinate amount of time there but I’ve known for a while that I will have to give it up one day and I want to get as much time in as I possibly can. I seriously doubt that I’ll ever have a tub like that again. Perhaps it’s a blessing to have to move on though. I’ve thought about how awful it would be to have that amazing tub staring at me, mocking me, and being too old to be capable of getting in and out of it without breaking something. That would be torture. So I guess it’s best that I will be removed from the temptation when I’m older because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to break the tub “habit” without serious intervention.
I hope the new owners love this house as much as I have. I don’t know anything about them, if they have kids or pets or what they plan on doing with 10 acres. But I do know that they will start making their own memories and creating traditions in this house right away. And wherever I settle, new memories and traditions await me.
Step away from your daily grind and GO PLAY! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we have to do that we don’t do anything fun for ourselves. We work, take care of the kids, the home, spouse, parents…. “The level of responsibility most women carry often makes them put play on the back burner”, says Stuart Brown, M.D. author of Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. We all can think of a friend who may spontaneously act silly, but admit it, this kind of carefree behavior may cause you to raise your eyebrows. But beware, you shouldn’t judge too quickly.
I used to like to walk the mall with friends. It’s good moderate exercise but we also managed to be able to solve the problems of the day at the same time. Occasionally, if an oldie but goodie was playing on the sound system, one of us would just break out and dance in the middle of the mall. Yes, there were stares but we didn’t care. It was just us acting a little crazy for a moment and not taking ourselves so seriously. “Play isn’t a luxury, it’s a biological necessity”, says Dr. Brown, who directs the National Institute for Play. It’s more than just fun and games. The impulse to let loose arises from deep within the brain stem. The same area that controls basic survival functions like breathing.
Researchers believe that play is a fundamental need, crucial to healthy adulthood. The psychological benefits are significant. When you play, you become more exuberant and those temporary good feelings contribute to general state of satisfaction with life. Researchers believe that’s why playful people tend to be more resilient. They are better equipped to weather the ups and downs of life. When you don’t allow yourself to play because you think you’re too busy or too tired or too worried, you’re cutting yourself off from the one best coping mechanisms designed by nature.
Make sure that when you decide to go out and play you are not setting any specific goals for your play because then it may become more like a workout or a competition. Your goals should be to seek the simple pleasure in the experience.
Even though it’s great to take time for things like meeting a friend for coffee or enjoying a glass of wine, these things don’t provide the same exhilaration and wheeeeee factor as playtime.
So lighten up, set aside some time, and go play!!!!
My daughter, Katie, just graduated from high school and will be headed off to college this summer. This is such a memorable moment in a parent and child’s life. I remember when my son, Weston, left home and think about the different emotions that came with each of these life’s milestones. When Weston left, I was devastated. I cried all the way home from College Station. Upon arriving back at the house, I sat in his room and looked around wondering where the time had gone. All the trophies and awards scattered around filled me with so many great memories. For the entire week following his move, I cried every time I passed his room in the hallway. It was very difficult to let go. And I worried about him more than I’d like to admit. But with each passing week, I grew more confident in the young adult that he had become and started to relax a little. Yes, there were still some tough moments ahead but we both lived through them and he is now a healthy, happy, and responsible 23 year old man. But since I still had a young girl going into high school, I continued on being a very busy “mom” and this was a good distraction for me. But every time I thought about letting the “baby” go I was overcome with anxiety. How could I possibly do that? I’d spent most of my adult years raising my kids. What was my “job” going to be after that? These questions practically paralyzed me. I had no idea how I was going to deal with the changes that would come.
A few years down the road, I faced some changes that I hadn’t anticipated all those years ago when I committed to being a stay-at-home mom. I got divorced. The time for me to decide what my “job” was going to be got put on the fast track. I had to figure it out a couple of years sooner than I thought I would have to. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned and we have to learn to be flexible and make adjustments. Fast forward to today……my divorce is finally complete, I’ve sold my house on 10 acres, live in a great apartment, am dating a wonderful man, and I feel so blessed to actually LOVE my job. My life is sooooooo good! I’m happier than I knew I could be.
Yes, my “baby”, is leaving for college soon. I will miss her terribly. I have no doubt that there will be tears shed when she moves. But my perspective is very different than I thought it would be 5 years ago when I started anticipating the emotions that would come with this milestone. I now know that she will grow and mature and our relationship will be even better for it. I saw this happen with my son so I’m more confident about facing this transition. I look forward to this growth. And honestly, I’m very excited about having an “empty nest”. I will always and forever be “mom” but it will be different . I will continue to care for and help my children but now I will have more time for me. I don’t truly see the nest as empty. I see it as a time of remodeling. Like I said, we have to be flexible and willing to adapt sometimes. Try to embrace every passage and appreciate what each transition brings. I have learned that if you let them, changes can bring you more happiness than you ever thought possible.