Updated: Aug 30
As the end of summer approaches, there is a shift of focus towards preparing for the next season. Our minds begin to create a new list of potential things to put on the calendar. The parents of younger children are counting down the days for school to start, while parents of older children are savoring the last days of summer before sending theirs off to college - that’s where I land and it’s a bag of mixed emotions - happy and proud, sad and clingy. Being in the presence of my daughters is a gift. It gives me deeper insight into their world and inspires mine.
This summer my older daughter, Lola, spent most of the season at her college internship, and I savored the time with my soon-to-be incoming college freshman, Kaira. She savored her summertime with her closest friends, as she should, but left the comforting moments of togetherness with me watching "The Summer I Turned Pretty,"and plenty of times falling asleep in my bed after long chats about her day and what's ahead. After Lola's internship ended, we grabbed a chance to go away for a week, and that I savored too - the beach, the mountains, the gardens, the dinners; simply spending time with ones you love and adore.
As the girls get ready to leave the nest, it made me remember a conversation I had with my home birth doula Rose - asking her if she had any advice for me as a new mother when I birthed my first daughter Lola, over twenty years ago. Rose replied with her loving smile that felt reassuring and comforting at the time, to practice attachment parenting; co-sleeping, nurse on-demand, make nutritious food, and you will see how confident, independent, and thriving your children will be as young adults and will continue as they journey through life with a deep knowingness that there is always a secure space to land wherever they are in the world, and whatever adversity they encounter. I found the advice to be very much in alignment with my mothering style and I happily poured my heart and soul into their care. I was proudly one of those moms that insisted when my children were young, to avoid sugary cupcakes at birthday parties, remembering the time I scraped off a thick layer of blue frosting at one party when my younger daughter Kaira was not looking. Oops! It fell on the floor, I said and convinced her that it's the yucky part anyways. I believe she knew my tactic, but went along with it anyway.
When my older daughter went off to college, it was tough as I felt a close connection to her but I had my younger daughter still at home so it wasn’t so emotional letting go. Now, as my younger daughter goes off to college, I find myself feeling like I’m missing a vital limb, and trying to find my bearings to learn how to be with(out) the new reality each day. I guess what I did not anticipate was my own attachment to my two children. I am well aware this stems from having my own experience of insecure attachments in my childhood and the promise I made to do things differently or better for my own children’s wellbeing without judging my parents of course. For me this meant to be more communicative, attentive, protective, loving, listening to the verbal as well as nonverbal cues in my children, and of course scraping off thick layers of sugary frosting as it’s a violation to optimal health code - mine and the CDC.
If you can relate and find yourself feeling similar, going through a relationship shift, what I’m finding most helpful are secure connections - the kind that support and strengthen your true self, beyond the roles of parent, partner, career. It’s the healthy attachments that lead to secure connections. I have found it in my daily yoga practice, ongoing spiritual studies, my walks with my loyal companion - my dog, my daily early morning checking-in calls with my best friend, dinner dates with good friends, my master coaching triad, and traveling to nothing fancy but destinations that feel like I’ve landed home, a belonging. But the most potent connection is, in company of the self, in dhyana - meditation to transcend the nature of the mind. This, with steady effort, leads to santosha - contentment, a state of not missing. More on this in the upcoming month!
Now, I am taking the promise and turning that towards my own wellbeing, beginning to savor the new season. I look forward to sharing more, and would love to hear from you on how you dealt with moving forward from your children transitioning or any other relationship shifting. Let’s connect here.