"It's Your Time" the J. Jill catalog stated and the words resonated with me. I am on the eve of a transition from widowed-only-parent-mom to that of an empty-nester-widowed-only-parent-mom. Next year both of my boys will be at college and I'll really be alone in the home except for breaks and summers. At Thanksgiving, someone asked me how I was gearing up for this - it was nice that someone did so, because most people don't consider how this event will impact a widowed mom who hasn't remarried and isn't living with anyone else. And one who has devoted pretty much her entire focus around the boys and their high school educations.
I think with transitions that there is a multitude of feelings churning around. I am happy for the additional time I will be able devote to myself and my own interests (finally) but also scared of the the unknown. A transition period is one that is still being worked and figured out. The time both boys will be gone is still a bit off into the future so I'm still in the "planning" period. As such, there are still plenty of loose ends to plan and prepare for.
My youngest son received his fourth college acceptance so we're now 4 for 5. He doesn't care whether he gets into the fifth college or not, but it would be nice to put another acceptance on the fridge! I took my oldest back to his college on Sunday. I did feel burdened and tired by the responsibility of the long trip - eight hours of driving and in the dark which I don't relish. In the dorm parking lot I was overcome with love and pride watching a father parked next to us hug his son goodbye. Yes, I was alone and tired and still had the trip to make back on my own but there was something "higher" and "bigger" involved in the experience than my own feelings.
Before I left (after a cheap meal at Ponderosa with coupons), I asked my son to give me a demonstration of his piano playing abilities since he just started lessons in August (a requirement as a music major). He took me to the dorm's piano practice room and apologized that he couldn't play on one of the grand pianos in the music building. Then he played two pieces he had composed - one, was a cute little concerto but the second was a melody so profound and moving I sat at the little table behind my son and just wept! I asked him to play it again and then wept some more!
I asked my son to play the piece for his professor but he shrugged his shoulders and said she doesn't have time and pretty much discounted how good I found it. The music was a gift before I left for the long drive home. Somehow I felt there was a message in that melody for me. Despite the hardships of being a poor widow raising these boys on my own, they've both made it to college. One is an outstanding and talented musician and the other a creative graphic designer starting college as an integrated marketing/communications major. They've turned out ok despite everything. And now I've got to believe and hold on hope that this next step will turn out ok too. Gosh, anything will be better financially than it is currently!
I have found transitions tough to face on my own. It WAS easier when I was married handling those blips and bumps in the road. My husband and I discussed life issues and provided one another with emotional support. All of that is lost with widowhood. So this empty-nest transition is different for someone like me vs. a married woman. How I wished I had a driving partner by my side for the four plus hours on the road back. But like that music my son composed and played for me, I have to acknowledge my own feelings but also recognize that there is a greater force that exists beyond my own being. And that, has been very hard to realize for me as a widow. I have found that widowhood has made me focus very much inward and stay there maybe too long. Just another quirk of the widowed life...
This next step will involve becoming less focused inward, and moving toward more outside involvement!