As I write this, I’m about to head out with my husband for a two-week vacation. It’s the longest we’ve been away in years, and I am a bundle of stress. The past several weeks I have been occupied with visits from my three adult children, something I enjoy but that also distracts me from the daily life I have constructed for myself. So, my mind is most definitely not engaged in vacation prep. Not only that but my youngest, who has been living with us for the last couple of months, has taken a job in another city and will be leaving just four days after we return. I feel both excited for him and for my return to normalcy, but also somewhat sad to be missing out on some quality time during his last weeks at home. Oy! I am quite literally a mess of emotions.
I’ve written before about the pressure we women put on ourselves; the pressure to perform, the pressure to look great all the time, the pressure to succeed, to be perfect in every way. For me, I add in the pressure to be the perfect mother for whatever stage my kids are in their development. These days, as young adults just starting out, that takes the form of regular texts and phone calls for recipes, work advice, fashion input, roommate issues, financial planning, dating, the list goes on. And of course, there is “Mom’s Moving Service,” which is always at the ready to help with apartment hunting, box schlepping and the assembly of Ikea furniture.
For the most part, it’s great fun to watch, and participate, as their adult lives take shape. God knows I wish I’d had the same encouragement and support when I struck out on my own young adult life. But it’s also physically and emotionally exhausting. I walk the line between respecting their boundaries and giving input, all the while remembering their sweet little baby smiles, their sticky faces, their hurt cries and the tiny arms drawing me close to say goodnight. Yep, for me it’s constant work to refocus the picture of them in mind as fully-grown adults.
And actually, they are all doing a great job of building their lives. Each is on a different path with widely varying careers and lifestyles. Each is financially self-sufficient and two of them have higher degrees. This is not a brag on my kids, but the way, it’s me reassuring myself that they are all fine and well so that I can get on with my life and my vacation!
At this point, our bags are mostly packed and ready, save for the last-minute carry-on items, we’re checked into our flights and tonight our son will drop us off at the airport for our overnight transatlantic trip. I’m hoping that somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, I’ll drift off to sleep (with the help of some Ambien and a glass of wine) and by the time I wake up I’ll be recovered from the “Kids’ Visit Hangover.”
As you read this, I’ll be arriving home, hopefully with some new stories to tell my children when I see them next, and a refocused perspective on who we all are in this world and where I intend to go next. Here’s hoping…
P.S. The recent rains have made my garden go crazy! Enjoy some pictures of my sunflowers, tomatoes and squash!
About Barbara Dab
Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood. Check it out at www.nashvillepilatescompany.com. She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors. Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com. If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.
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