Anyone out there who has had a baby remembers what the transition part of labor is like. It is challenging, to say the least. You have to work much harder at relaxing and breathing and it would be a bad time for anyone to say anything to you other than to say how incredibly great you are doing and how the baby will be here VERY soon. (The only time I've EVER struck out at myhusband was during transition with my 4th--I needed to release some incredible tension and discomfort and so I proceeded to punch him in the stomach. Still saying sorry 13 years later.)
I've recently realized that I am in a time of transition now also. And while it certainly is easier on me than the former kind, it carries its own challenges.
First of all, I am about three months from turning 50. Good gawd. FIFTY! How did that HAPPEN? I mean, sure, it beats the alternative, but 50?!?! Half a century? I'm NOT ready for that.
Secondly, my kids are just becoming these amazing adults. Jasmine has been on her own for six years. She is married, has developed a career, owns a home. Although we talk now and then, I know that I am not necessarily a needed person in her life now. That makes perfect sense--or would if I could just forget that wonderful little girl I used to spend all day with, cuz I miss her bunches.
Nicole is 18 and on the edge of taking off into a world that yes, still includes me but moves way beyond me. I know that she and I will be close forever and ever, much like my mom and I were, but I also know that she is entering a phase of life where I have to retreat to the background and let her do her own exploring without my direct guidance (note: not without my advice, of course!). I love watching her coming into her own. I've helped her weather some boyfriends that have been alternately oblivious, tender, naive, genuine and insensitive. Now she is with someone new (and you know who you are!) and I admit that I am enjoying her giggles on the phone from down the hall, our late night whispered conversations when everyone else is sleeping and of course, helping her figure out what to wear for the next date.
Caspian is almost 16 (egads) and in April, he will be taking a plane to the east coast to stay with friends for two weeks. Doesn't that sound dangerous considering he really is just this little tyke with a mop of white hair, the world's most charming grin and a passion for vacuum cleaners? Oops, I guess he left about 13 years ago. Sigh.
Coryn is as tall as I am now. We are eye to eye. He is extremely funny and although I still see flashes of the little boy that smiled every time someone pointed a camera his direction, they are slowly being replaced by flashes of the man he is becoming.
I've lost both parents in two years. That is a loss I still grapple with on a daily basis. I miss them so much and I keep hoping that time will dull the ache, but it's clearly a slower process than I had realized.
My career is transitioning a bit, I think--primarily because of the tight economy. I find myself stretching out in directions I haven't before and learning to go back to the conservative lifestyle that I had hoped I left behind five or so years ago.
It helps me to remember that just like transition in labor, transition in life often results in a wonderful gift when you get through it. I can sense the gift somewhere in the future but for now, I am wincing at the discomforts of now.