I’ve always love the song “Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell. Â As an adolescent when this song first came out, I never truly appreciated theÂ significance of the lyrics. Â But at this time in my life, they pulse with meaning.
I’ve noticed an interesting patternÂ through the yearsÂ and I wonder if other women my age areÂ seeing it as well. Â Our children leave home and go to college. Â They acquire degrees and find careers that make them happy. Â And life feels somewhat stagnant as a parent with an empty nest. Â We take a back seat to many of their adventures and accomplishments. Â We brag about them with our closest friends or a stranger in the market, showing pictures on our phones to whomever appears interested and feel blissful when they call home to say hi or I love you. Â After a life full of raising sons and taking a back seatÂ to their health, education and well being, I am oftenÂ at a loss for how to proceed.
We’re captive on the carousel of time, we can’t return. Â We can only look behind from where we came.
And then suddenly things begin to happen. Â A wedding, a grandchild, another grandchild, another wedding. Â Life takes on new challenges and excitement. Â A flurry of new activity.
When my sons were growing up, my childrearing “bible” was The Gesell Institute of Human Development. Â Anyone remember the books “Your One Year Old”, “Your Two Year Old”, “Your Three Year Old”? Â Their research shows that children’s growth is not always an even ride from less to more maturity. Â Instead, smooth and calm behavior alternates with unsettled and uneven behavior. Â Children go through periods of “disequilibrium”- when theyÂ are learning new skills and abilities, growing quickly and experiencing more anxietyÂ and less confidence. Â And “equilibrium”- a period of stability and consolidated behavior- when they practice the skills already mastered- when they are easier to live with…
Wowzy.. Â sounds like my adult life! 😱
2018 was smooth sailing. Â A year of equilibrium. Â I had the grandmother skills honed and the mother in law persona figured out. Â I’d finally settled into my townhome after grieving the saleÂ of my memory-filled yet large and emptyÂ house.
2019 will be the year of disequilibrium for me. Â A new grandchild. Â A wedding. Â A new daughter in law. Â Growth, challenge, frenzy, a year of learning. Â I see the pattern emerging. Â What has been lost to the past is being reincarnated in the present-Â Â layered withÂ periods of anxietyÂ andÂ the masteringÂ of new skills.
As they say in Portland, Oregon.. if you don’t like the weather wait an hour or so. Â The clouds and rain give way to sunshine and blue skies. Â The painted ponies go up and down. Â We’re captive on a carousel of time.
And oh what an incredible ride it is. Â