Today I began re-taping my bathroom ceiling. When I first began my husband tried to give me instructions, to which I told him, I got this. When I first began it was a mess and I contemplated if I was sure I was the one that should be doing this. I talked myself into continuing, (this bathroom project has been going on for months now). As I continued the process of scraping joint compound and applying this new drywall tape, it slowly started to look better. While I was in the middle of this project an old friend came along and met me there, in the middle of the bathroom. I was surprised to see them.
There, in the bathroom, in the midst of my mess, I found my old self. Truthfully I wasn’t sure she was missing, and honestly debated if she even still existed. How could my old self still even be there, and should she be there? After all these years, and all I’ve been through. Should this person still exist? I am not sure, but it was a weird, reassuring and comforting reunion. Without dragging on the story of my life, let’s just say I try to never let lack of ability stop me from trying anything in my life. I happily share with anyone who will listen, that one time I even changed out my own garbage disposal. Yes, I am very proud of this fact, simply because I did it on my own, because, well it needed to be done.
Isn’t that what mother hood is? We all go head strong into this journey of motherhood. Some of us read up on all the books and delve right in thinking we have all the answers. Others wing it, still others think they already know it all. In reality all of us are just doing our best. We are simply doing what needs to be done. We don’t always have time to think it through or go to google and find out the best way to handle the first time your son comes home with a hickey, or find out the right words to say when your three year old son asks you what God did with your peepee. We just do what needs to be done, we do our best in the moment, and we pray we are doing the right thing.
Somewhere, along this journey, many of us look back and say wait, what has happened to me. It may not be that direct, and sometimes its even less subtle. One day we may find ourselves singing I lost my poor meatball, out loud, while grocery shopping. One day we hear ourselves say, I have to go potty. We find ourselves exhausted and fast asleep, if given the chance, by 8 pm, even on a weekend. You look in the mirror and see those gray hairs peeking through. As the children continue to grow and slowly you come out of the over drive of the toddler years and you began to get a little time to yourself back, you may find yourself saying who am I? Many woman express the feeling of loosing their selves in the midst of mother hood. Isn’t that most of the empty nest syndrome? We find ourselves alone, with our husbands, and no children to take care of, and suddenly we no longer know who we are or what to do with ourselves.
While I obviously am no where near empty nest syndrome, although the oldest does talk of moving out soon, I can still tell you that I have wondered many times what am I going to do next year, or in three years when all the children are back in school. It’s scary. I have been doing this mom thing for so long sometimes I think that is all I am. And today in the middle of the bathroom, with dust flying everywhere and globs of drywall compound falling, there when not even looking, there was the old Heather. It was great to see her. It was nice to know she still existed. Best of all, I know that the two of us have so much more to offer now, more than the old Heather did, all by herself before life happened.
I write this today, to remind all the moms, you only get better. You didn’t loose yourself, you are on a new journey, one that is so full of so many new adventures, full of love, full of memories. While the days are long the years are truly short, and one day you will look in the mirror, you will wonder who is that person looking back at you, and then you will see her. That younger version of yourself, and you will know at that moment, the two of you weren’t lost, she was letting you go on your own for a bit so that you could grow and only get better.