One of the challenges in this transition from running-a-houseful to back-on-our-own is weaning myself from the habit of letting outside forces determine my direction. Over time in my early mother years I adjusted to turning the focus of my days from myself to my family.
It wasn't easy at first, but it was relieving in a way. I used to be one of those people who frets all the time about where my life was going, what paths to pursue, how to find a meaningful occupation. My fretting persisted after one baby. I took classes, tried out career paths on the side. Then I got pregnant with twins and gave in to my new identity. With a husband in medical residency training, we agreed that I would take charge of the home front, for as long as it worked for me (Knowing that he was willing to make a change if it DIDN'T work for me was always helpful.).
Eventually we had four busy children, and even added a fifth one year when my nephew came to live with us (5 teenagers!) I got into the habit of leaving my schedule fairly free, because inevitably some member of the family (human or canine) would have a need, errand, appointment or event that would become the focus of my day. I kind of enjoyed the idea of "home-making." I didn't clean house or do domestic projects, but I did work to create a home base of operations that was happy, dependable, supportive, and nourishing to developing young hearts and minds. In between I'd fit in enough of my own pursuits to keep me happy.
I know it's not enough for a lot of people, but it felt like a worthy calling to me. It became my career, and I'm happy with the very lovely people that have emerged from this home.
Now, I am reacquainting with the pursuits and ambitions of that woman I was before, picking up the threads of things that I've tried to sustain in the background over the years. Of course, I am still a mom of one resident teen and several 20-something kids away, who will always be a part of my heart and mind and worries and plans. So it's a reacquainting and a reinventing of a self and a life at the same time.
Had to free myself from the tyranny of the camera today. It is a mixed blessing, this facility of image reproduction and distribution. On the one hand, it makes me look at the world with an artistic appreciation. I stop and take notice of light and shadow, lines and composition. Plus, I get to share my enjoyment -- hey! Look at this! On the other hand, when a camera is hanging from my neck I am constantly interrupted. Wow! Got to stop and take this shot. I think I miss out on just being present, just enjoying the experience in my own head without thinking forward to future enjoyment in reproductions.
There has been an increase in bird activity in the back yard. Yesterday I heard a chirp in some bracken, then a glorious ruby-red bird flew out and away. I did not see a crest, and it seemed to be a darker red than a cardinal, and the whole body was red; I'm not sure about the wings. Any ideas?