The house is finally quiet and empty. Dishes are washed and put away, a load of laundry is in the wash and Bentley the Labradoodle is resting after a whirlwind visit from his humans. I should be basking in the glow of a fun filled weekend with all of my family under one roof. And while I am happy overall with the way things went, I admit I’m also a bit exhausted emotionally and physically.
This may be a surprise to those who know me well. I pretty much wear my motherhood on my sleeve and long for those opportunities to spend time with my children. But lately, I’ve come to realize that we’re all moving on in very different ways. I still adore talking to my kids, in fact, they are the most interesting people I know. I am constantly surprised and delighted to observe the way their lives are unfolding and to listen to their ideas about pretty much everything from politics to religion to sports, books, movies, etc. We don’t always agree on things, but the exchange is always fun and often enlightening for me. I learn from them and their experiences.
And yet, as exhilarating as it is to be together, the family dynamic in close quarters can leave me pretty wiped out. Rather than a family of two parents and three children, we are now a family of five adults. We have different habits when it comes to personal care, household chores and interpersonal relationships. When we come together, we now bring baggage from our respective lives and try to blend during short, intense visits. It’s easy to want to fall back into old roles, but we’ve all grown and changed and the old ways of being together don’t always work. We have to re-learn how to interact and to be open and flexible with each other. We also have to know when to give each other space. It can be confusing and frustrating.
But there is one thing I know for certain, as I sit here unraveling the weekend: my family is worth the work. And while it can be exhausting to navigate around each other, I am proud of the way my kids are living their dreams and changing the world around them. I am inspired by their energy, enthusiasm and drive. And frankly, they are a reminder that inside me is that newly formed adult bursting out into the future, eyes wide open and ready to go. As I face the end of this year and look forward to the next one, I have only to look to them to feel myself renewed. And I am so thankful for their presence in my life and for their journey passing through.
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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