I was never the mom to cry when school started - not even THE first day. I could never understand the tears on the first day of school, not the tears of the kids, the tears of the moms as I skipped by them back to my car. I wanted to grab those struggling mama's and say, "You know you get to come back here and pick them up at 2:00, right?"
When my oldest transitioned to middle school it happened all over again. Moms stressing out, asking me how I felt about Chloe going to middle school, looking at me intently to root out a flicker of fear...I had none. This was part of the process. They go to elementary, then middle, then high school. My thought was, I can't stop it so why not just embrace it. And I did. I feel like that helped her do the same. I wasn't stressed, she wasn't stressed, hello middle school let's do this.
Maybe that's why I was so surprised when this year hit me so hard.
I had felt something like this before. A few years ago my sister lived down the street from me. She had moved to Tennessee and not only moved close to me but only four houses away. Having her and my B.I.L and my niece and nephew that close was so great. I loved it. My built in bestie was in shouting distance. When they decided to move back to Florida, which I always knew they would, I freaked out inside. I had prepared myself for a while, knew it was coming and yet it sucked. I had dreams of me chasing her down the street. I'd wake in a panic wanting to go beg her to stay yet I knew she needed to go.
When Chloe's time to leave for college got closer the more I felt this happening all over again. It wasn't about how far she was going because she is so close I still see her every couple of weeks, it was about walking through a door that I knew would close the minute we walked though it. Time does not move backward. That is a Truth.
I had dreams where I was panicked because there was shear chaos in the dream and I couldn't see her. I would wake myself I would scream so loud for her in my dream.
Unconscious moments begging time to stand still.
What happened to the mom that skipped back to her car thankful for a few hours until I had to go back and pick her up? What happened to "well it's part of the process, embrace it." Where did that Jen go? Seriously....what the heck. This all took me by surprise.
And then there was this whole other layer that shocked me even more...as if I needed more.
I had no idea how this "season" would affect ME. Not the mom me but the me me. That part of me that is me without all the other stuff. That part that has (had) a life outside of my kids and husband and career. That part of me that sought adventure without fear, faced the world with a hopeful (albeit naive) curiosity, dreamed without limiting myself. Where did she go? Maybe some of her is here. Maybe some of the parts of her that are not here is best. As we grow things fall off that hinder our growth...pruning I guess.
But I found - find, myself doing a LOT of introspection these days. For just this moment it feels like a space between. Between, where I've been and where I'm going.
And here is what I know...that can be a beautiful space.
I recognize that I am only sad because I have had the opportunity to love something so deeply.
There are billions of people on this planet. My sisters are the two who know me best. We share history. One of our deepest desires as humans is to be known. Since we live in three different states I may not know what their current favorite song is, or the place they like to eat on Friday nights, but I know my sisters too. I know them more than any of the billions.
There is only one level of knowing more intense than sisterhood and that was revealed to me the day I had a daughter. As completely known as a person can be. Me to her and her to me. My mom to me. Even more than sisters and I would have never thought there could be more.
And here is the thing that I keep reminding myself - The best part is coming. I have so much to look forward to and I'm really excited for when the time is right for those things.
But then there is still the issue of me and my second half.
I certainly have irons in the fire. I have my business and within that some amazing people in my life. I have friends that are true friends. But I also have dreams.
The next three months I'm calling the "space between." Giving myself space to ponder, dream, breathe, and zero in on this second half of my life. What do I want it to look like? The one word that keeps coming to mind is INTENTION. I want to set an intention for this second half and let that lead my days.
If I'm being honest with you...and I am...I've had my ass kicked the last few years. Not necessarily externally but very internally. Some externally. Owning a business is great and terrible, rewarding and life-sucking, exciting and exhausting all in one day sometimes. So, while I spend the next few months working out my intention for my second half I can tell you this much. I'm tired of getting my ass kicked! I want to kick-ass in my second half! How about you?
If you've read this far, thank you. It's scary to put yourself out there but it also feels like a big exhale. Thank you for allowing that and reading along.
What about you? Are you nearing your middle half? Are you already there? Are you in the space between? I know I'm not alone so I'd love for you to comment below - here on the blog - and let me know how this hit you. Or where it hits you.
I know a lot of you who do read this have walked this with me this year - I'm so grateful for you!
Here's to the space between. ♥️
Jen Mulford is an entrepreneur, speaker, author and champion for personal freedom.