Thirteen. We all remember being 13 ... and every one of us has said it many times - "I wouldn't be thirteen again for ANYTHING!" Right? I remember being 13. Trying to figure out who I was ... who I wanted to be ... What was special about me? Did anyone like me? What did it take to be "popular"? Did I have what it takes? Did I want to have "it"? Up one day ... down the next. Confident and scared to death all at the same time. Life was a roller-coaster and the future a mist that I couldn't see through. Do you remember? I do. I have a 13-yr old son who is living it now.
Eighteen. A high school graduate. An "adult". On my own. Having to support myself and make all my own decisions for the first time. Needing to move "forward", but not having the foggiest idea what direction to go. So many directions, so many choices, so many possibilities. Feeling very small and unprepared in a great big grown up world. Wanting to "live my own life" ... determine my own future ... have my own home ... have my own family ... "do it my way" (which I was sure would be the right way). Having a lot of ideas and ideals, and only a vague plan as to how to achieve them and no plan as to how to finance them ... Can you relate? My 18-yr old son can, I think. He's there now. I can certainly relate to him!
Widowed. Suddenly I'm 13 again. And 18 again. Everything that defines who I am, my purpose in life and my future has changed. Maybe if my kids were little and I could hang onto them and throw myself into being "mom" and defining their lives it would be different. Maybe if they were bot h grown adults and on their own living independent lives that I was no longer responsible for and Tom and I had retired and survived an "empty nest" and defined our later years together ... would it be different? But one just turned 13 and is barreling ahead insisting on living his own life while still wanting everything done for him and handed to him without any effort on his part ... and the other just turned 18 and graduated and really wants to pull away and get out on his own and have his own place and, yes, live his own life too. And in the midst of trying to help each of them achieve their level of independence while desperately wanting to cling rather than let go, I find that I, too, need to go through that whole nasty process of self-identification all over again!