August 23, 2010

A Season of Change and Loss

When your kids are small, you are exhausted and overwhelmed, and sometimes you can't wait until they grow up and leave you alone. Then around age 12 or 13, they begin to be more independent and you have some breathing space.

But at the end of that stage comes "moving on." They leave for college or get married, or just find their own place to live. Now the house is quiet and you wonder why you were in such a hurry for this season.

That's where I am today. Meg started her first college class this morning, and it hit me. It's over. I'm no longer a homeschooling parent. I'm out of the picture. OK, I know, she's living in the basement, but it has a separate entrance and is a half block away (we live in a converted church building), and she wants to be as independent as possible. Good for her. But boo-hoo for mom.

I was going to pick her up from class today and hear all about her new adventure. But no, she wanted to walk home. I told her I made chocolate chip cookies, and she laughed and said, "You did that just so I'd come up and talk to you!" Yep.

Add to this the fact that my mother-in-law passed away a week ago. The passage of time, changes, loss. I'm not liking this too much. But I realize it's a transition time, and eventually I will feel at home in this new season. 


Genevieve said...

So sorry to hear about your MIL, my thoughts are with you and your family.

K E Fleck said...

Bittersweet, isn't it? (I know I'll totally be the mom making chocolate chip cookies so they will come talk to me, too)

I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother-in-law ...

~beautyandjoy~ said...

Oh boy - this is a lot. I wish I was next door to bring YOU the chocolate chip cookies! xo I'm sorry.

Erin J said...

So poignant. Since I am the mom in the "I wish they would leave me alone to use the bathroom" stage, I can't say I relate. But I do relate to the stages of life and I know after investing so much into them I will miss them dreadfully when they spread their wings.

I'd say go do what I long to do right now... pursue all the hobbies you want to pursue. Plan a vacation and make something special just for your hubby. Rent a movie and watch it with him. Go for a long walk. Get your hair done and be amazed that you did not have to hire a sitter in order to do it. Paint your kitchen. Pamper yourself and enjoy the hours of no one demanding anything of you. Maybe if you really need to be needed you could get a puppy!

Jena said...

Well, Meg spent most of her free time today upstairs with the "fam," so my emotional musings were a little premature. :) But still, life is different now. I have two in college, and one in public high school.

I really loved homeschooling little ones. It's just hard to admit that part of my life is over.

I'm dealing with my MIL's passing by organizing pictures and going through her handwritten recipes. I'd like to produce a book of them for the rest of the family. Now that sounds like a great project!

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and well-wishes. I feel much better now. :)

Karen said...

Jena, I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. I wish we lived right nearby, so I could give you a real hug instead of a virtual one.

Thinking of you!!!

Hannah said...

Sounds like a time of redefining your identity, which for so long has been as a hs'ing mom ... may His presence be yours in the next stage of your adventure!

Kerry said...

Definitely thinking of you this week, Jena. WHAT a transitional period! I'm so sorry about your MIL, and about the whisperings of empty nest syndrome you are dealing with. I feel those days closing in on me daily...((sigh))

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your mother-in-law's passing. You have an awful lot of change on your plate right now.

We've had a tremendous amount of change in the past 6 months and I really appreciate the reminder that someday, one day, I will wake up and feel comfortable in this new place in life.

Amy said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your MIL.

And not homeschooling is strange isn't to have that part of your life over with. And a huge part of our lives it is.

I'm still doing some homeschooling, but not much and I was thinking the other day how much I miss our library trips, snuggles on the couch with a good book or playing games on the floor together.
But having those memories are the best and help to ease the heartache a tad.


Traci said...

Thanks for the reality check. I'm knee deep in so much right now. I have a first grader and a fourth grader. I still can't take a bathroom break without being called to or interrupted in some way! But the thought of them being anywhere else kills me!
Sending sympathy and a hug in the passing of your mil.

Anne-Marie said...

My sympathy and prayers on the death of your MIL.

I am coming up on that stage: my two oldest start college this week. We dropped the first one off this past weekend and her twin sister leaves day after tomorrow. From now on my homeschooling workload gets lighter and lighter.

The one who is already 600 miles away says that coming from a close family makes the break both worse and better. She misses her family more than some of her classmates do theirs, but she also gets more comfort than they do from the knowledge that we are missing her back, praying for her, and rooting for her.

Adrianne said...

I was stressed earlier for feeling like I dont have a moment to breathe, as Ive chased my 10 month old off the stairs 5 times since starting this message (little stairs that lead into the kitchen, not easily blocked off) this post serves to remind me that this time is short in many ways and to cherish it while I can.

Heather said...

Praying for you and yours both regarding your loss and the changes that are and are coming.

Lynn B said...

(((Hugs))) Jena! I am starting to see what is ahead in just a few short years, not liking the idea at all, either. It sounds really, really painful :( I do hope this new phase of motherhood holds hidden joys for you in spite of the loneliness.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your MIL. God comfort your family.

Unknown said...

I love that Meg has you figured out and knows what was up with the cookies. All of those years of homeschooling created a knowing of each other that is incredibly special. Now is your chance to sit back and watch your children go into the world and do wonderful things. It is like a never ending movie that just keeps getting better.

Sorry about your MIL. :(

JoVE said...

This is the big flaw in mothering. Done well, you do yourself out of a job. It sounds like you've done a great job.

Transitions are hard. I bet cookies help.

Penny in VT said...

So sorry about your MIL, and I think you can safely assume we will all be making those cookies.

Best wishes on YOUR future, you're still homeschooling yourself at least... :)

Copyright Information

All of the written content and photographs on are protected under copyright. But feel free to link to my content anytime. And if you have any questions, just contact me at yarnsoftheheart [at] gmail [dot] com. Thank you!
Clip art courtesy of and Pure Clip Art