If you asked me that question when I was a little girl I would've said, " a mommy." I kept a doll in my arms until I was embarrassed for anyone to see me playing with them, and I can't even tell you how many times I ducked out of worship to hold real babies in the nursery at my church.
As I got older, my mom's dream for me was to work in a hospital as a lab or x-ray technician. We spent our lives in hospitals because of her cancer and I suppose she thought this was a wonderful opportunity for me. So, when someone asked what my plans for the future were, I'd look in my mother's eyes and say what she wanted to hear. I didn't know I had a choice.
And then she died when I was fifteen years old. Life changed and so did I.
Graduation happened before I knew it. Decisions were made with little thought and no input from any adults. I was accepted to a school with a journalism program, which is what I always wanted to pursue, but at the last minute, I changed my mind and went to a school with all my friends. As I said, there was no input from any adult. My school of choice, WV Tech, was a wonderful school. It's now part of West Virginia University. They didn't know what to do with me since they didn't have a journalism major so they enrolled me in the Printing Management major. Looking back, I should have gotten an English degree, but that was a different era and no one could foresee the future. I certainly didn't have a helicopter parent looking at my schedule either.
I left school after one year and married. We've been married thirty-seven years this past June.
I tell you all this because I'm wordy...I'm a back story kind of girl.
The first half of my twenties were spent in West Virginia on thirty acres in a little log cabin with horses, chickens, sheep and goats. I was happy as a clam except for the big hole in my heart where there were no babies. There was a sadness about me that only a woman that has experienced infertility knows. She's good at hiding her deep longing, tucked safely in bed at night or driving alone, then she and her Lord know.
The second half of my twenties were the complete opposite. We moved to the coast of South Carolina, Myrtle Beach for Pete's sake. Six months before, these words came out of my mouth, "it's a nice place to visit but I'd never want to live there."
Goodbye West Virginia, hello Myrtle Beach. God has a hilarious way of changing our plans and our attitude. We lived in a townhouse, adopted two beautiful babies from Guatemala, and made many lifelong friends. My heart and family was full.
|Andy and Bailey|
We built our dream home in 1997, where we've spent eighteen years nesting. My beautiful children have flown from the nest and I've survived. We planted trees, bushes, gardens, flowers, and then woke up one day to shadows towering over the house. The road is no longer visible from the porch. The house is quiet, no footprints on the carpet. Familiar sounds are silent. A sign is in the yard foretelling of future owners. It's time.
Through all those years I've been home. If Andy or Bailey forgot something after they went to school, I took it to them. If a driver was needed for a field trip, they volunteered me because they knew I would go. I love to drive. If they gave out frequent driver miles, I'd win hands down. If cookies or a million other things were needed, I was that mom.
|Our home of 18 years|
He's also helped me uncover my creativity. It's been there all along but I stayed so busy with my to do list I wouldn't take time for creative outlets. He's given me courage to think outside the box which is monumental for me.
I'm finding my sweet spot at fifty something years old.
I've been buying and refinishing old furniture. My dream is to one day combine my love for tea and antiques and open some kind of shop. For now though, my garage is a workshop where I've spent countless hours, with a stiff back, sanding and staining.
I wouldn't change anything about my life. The most important accomplishment for me has been the two children who call me, "Mom." It's taken a lot of soul therapy to get to this place. God is faithful. I've learned that much about Him. He will keep His promises, ALL of them. He will satisfy your soul if you seek Him with all your heart.
Maybe you're like me and are facing an empty nest, or you're already there. Life goes on after children leave. It's completely different though, I can promise you that much. But I'm learning it can be good.
Life is a series of stages...but you have to know when to let go of one and embrace the next. The challenge is in the hand-off. Give yourself grace and time to explore who you are, who you were, and who you want to become. Until you draw your last breath on this earth, God is not finished with your life. There is someone you have influence over. Don't waste it.