"Yet, I know it is inevitable. So, I continue to try and create new memories in this time of transition as I realise my own additional freedom of time which comes with being the parent of young adults. I am trying so hard to keep them close that I know that eventually I’ll have to let them go as young people are destined to do."
My children are preparing to leave home and I’ve got to be honest, I’m struggling with it. I remember them as babies like it was yesterday, cliche, I know, but it's true. In my mind, they can’t leave home, they are still so young. My two eldest have recently started driving and talking about what’s next and I cannot possibly imagine our lives where we aren’t all together. It’s always just been me and the girls and things are changing so much, I’m finding that I’m not coping this transition.
I suspect that my eldest, who is about to turn 18 would have left home years ago, but I think she’s humouring me because she knows that it will be hard for me with her gone. I think she feels sorry for me and is holding off until I’m ready. I’ve been looking through the photographs of the past 18 years of her life and the life that we’ve shared together. I cannot believe how fast childhood goes, how very little time we have with them, how very little time that I’ve had with them.
I’ve developed a new appreciation for my parents and grandparents and the rapid passing of time as our children grow. I remember when each of them was just a 3kg baby in my arms, suckling, learning to walk, being curious about the world. I have found a fabulous quote from the outstanding novel: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes which sums up exactly what being a parent means:
“It’s just that the thing you never understand about being a mother, until you are one, is that it is not the grown man – the galumphing, unshaven, stinking, opinionated offspring – you see before you, with his parking tickets and unpolished shoes and uncomplicated love life. You see all the people he has ever been all rolled up into one.”
Full credit to JoJo Moyes, for I wish I had written those words, but it is exactly as she says. When I look at my children, I don’t just see who they are today, I see who they were as children, the adventures we’ve had, the tears we’ve shared, the songs we’ve sung in the care, and who they may possibly become in the future.
“Empty nest” or when our children launch themselves into the world, is a time for celebration, it means that we’ve done all that we possibly can to be the best parents we can and to be in joy with them as they take off. Yet, there is also sadness at what we have shared together and the knowledge that what we have shared will never be the same again. It will be different.
Yet, I know it is inevitable. So, I continue to try and create new memories in this time of transition as I realise my own additional freedom of time which comes with being the parent of young adults. I am trying so hard to keep them close that I know that eventually I’ll have to let them go as young people are destined to do.
I have to trust in the fact that I’ve done all that I can to help them be kind, responsible global citizens and trust them to make good decisions for their lives as they step out into the world. I have to learn to let them go and be who they were born to be. I have to create plans which enable them to come back to me whenever they need me. I need to trust the process of life.
In my heart, I know that I need to let them go, but at the same time, I’m excited for them and the possibilities that lay ahead and the new adventures that await us all as a family of young adults, and not a single mum with three little kids.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2017
"I’m completely stripping back the layers of who I think I am and looking at who I was and who I want to be. Some of the activities that I was doing no longer were serving me, so I let them go. It just randomly coincided with his arrival into my life."
I’ve now been in the most healthy, functional relationship that I’ve ever been in for twelve months and in that time, I have put on 8kg, quit yoga (which formed the basis of my identity) and feel more supported by another human being than I ever have in my life. I have changed. A relationship is more than two lives together, it is a blending of habits, routines and ways of being with another person. It is an interesting shift from being single to partnered and it challenges us to look at ourselves and the other person with some depth.
Is it normal to put on weight in a new relationship? According to a study by Taheri et al, increase in body mass index was due to less sleep and certainly, my sleep habits have changed, not only sharing a bed but sexual activity has altered my sleeping habits. Certainly, he cooks wonderful food and feeds me much richer foods than I was eating. I was on a fairly routine diet which included sometimes not eating at all in the evenings and I was certainly exercising…well, differently than I was. I do not blame him at all for my weight gain or change in lifestyle, but it has made me wonder what is going on within me to allow this? Is there another reason?
Am I changing who I am for someone or am I protecting myself from being hurt? Am I putting up barriers for his love? In Louise L. Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, extra fat is what we do in order to protect ourselves. But if anything, Kind Man (KM) makes me feel safe, he makes me feel supported and he makes me feel loved. However, I have changed a number of my behaviours and routines, particularly around diet and exercise in my efforts to accommodate this new “normal” in my life.
I have been in relationships where I changed who I was for a man, but this feels different. I don’t feel that he is changing me, per se, but I do feel like I am changing as a result of having him in my life and apart from the weight gain, it is a good change. I’m completely stripping back the layers of who I think I am and looking at who I was and who I want to be. Some of the activities that I was doing no longer were serving me, so I let them go. It just randomly coincided with his arrival into my life.
For most of my adult life I have been seeking a significant other, not having any conscious thought about what I would do when it arrived and now, I have someone who is willing to commit to me and my family for my entire life! I don’t need to seek anymore, yet there is still that space where the “seeking” energy sat. There is a space where much of my thoughts were directed and now, I’m not quite sure what to do with this new space in my head. So, I guess, I eat. I fill my mind up with worries about not being enough or other such nonsense. I create excuses why we shouldn’t be together when there is not ONE single reason why we should break up.
When we are dating, we make ourselves look nice and consciously or not, try to make ourselves more attractive to a potential mate, but I’ve heard the term, “letting go” of things like not shaving regularly, or wearing make-up and not bothering to dress nicely. Have I just let myself go? Have I unconsciously figured that he loves me no matter what so I can be as unattractive as possible as a way to push him away? Or as a test of his love for me?
It is an unresolved space, but it is where I am right now and I accept what is. In the meantime, I am back on the treadmill and building up my exercise routine and being more conscious about the food that I eat and filling my body with nutrition rather than worry about weight. Eight kilograms is not an easy ride, but perhaps what I need to do is just love my new bigger body for teaching me that even at my worst, he will still love me, even if I can’t fit into that fabulous dress anymore!
©Alyssa Curtayne 2017
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 Taheri, Shahrad, et al. "Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index." PLoS Med 1.3 (2004): e62.