Friday, June 03, 2022

Confessions of a New Senior Mom

Watching the class ahead of us over the last month was a little overwhelming, and apparently, I am not alone. Talking to other rising Senior mamas is electric. The emotion under all our actions is palpable, even if we can't name it.

I am a planner with a real bent toward control. I can easily fall victim to the one-time-only anxiety as a Mama of multiples. This is my one shot. I have got to be on top of things.

As a personal coping mechanism, I composed a Google Doc of all the dates I am aware of for next year and a month-by-month to-do list of the actions I need to take, appointments to be made, and reservations to be secured. It was already three types pages long--in May! I felt prepared and paced until I talked to other Moms. 

Oh, what is that phrase about comparison? Such. A. Thief. The blissful peace of preparation (and maybe even the illusion of control) was ripped away and I felt behind. Egads! (Side note: I love that the official definition of Egads is expressing surprise, anger, or affirmation because I feel all those things--plus the embarrassment that I should be more mature than to feel those things!)

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit and my husband are excellent settlers of my anxieties. 

After a couple of episodes of panic, I thought about what really matters--and it is not the "perfect" X, Y or Z. It is that I provide a settled and peaceful place for my three Seniors who are about to ride the roller coaster of emotions involved in college applications, big future decisions, friendships separated by miles, living independently, etc. 

What if my desire to plan and list and do in order to 'not miss a thing' was actually the reason I missed the ordinary moments that make this phase of life so sweet? What if my panic over what's coming prevented me from enjoying what's now?

Frankly, as a planner, some degree of advance preparation is necessary on my part to feel that peace. This is the way I am wired. But I must remain on guard that this does not become a place for comparison. Everybody is managing their own stuff. And a lot of Senior mamas are dealing with their own flood of emotions in addition to those of the other hearts in their home. I want to be an encourager to the fellow Mamas I am crossing the finish line with, not a competitor. There is no prize for who does this best. 

So, I am actively working to reorient. I am praying the downtime of Summer while all my people are away on their camp employment adventures will allow me space to prepare my heart and my Spirit for what is to come for the journey. I am fighting the tide of carefully curated. I am praying for the perspective that a picture-perfect ending is not the goal.  

I know it is going to be a constant wrestling match with my anxious flesh, so I am writing this for accountability. 

And if it involves a checklist or two, so be it ;-)


walnutshademom said...

I have followed your journey for many years, and your posts are always one of the highlights of my day. As I was reading your post today, I SO. VERY. DEEPLY. saw myself.

Our youngest of four graduated college two weeks ago, and I can fully relate to the flood of emotions involved. Like you, I am a planner who leans (heavily!) toward control, but a situation with my nephew and his now-fiancee gave me an example that may encourage you as well.

My husband and I have always had a personal conviction that young people ought not to date - getting their emotions (and possibly more) all tied up in someone else - until they are ready to at least consider marriage. We are also personally not fans of long engagements. As in, once you both know you've found someone who would make a good spouse for you, get married! Because your marriage is much, much, MUCH more important than your wedding.

So...we were both very happy when our law-school grad nephew recently proposed and she accepted. With two internships, truly crazy schedules, and both studying to pass the GA bar next month, they had initially planned to get married in the summer of 2023. BUT a few days ago, they announced that they will marry on July 3 of THIS YEAR! Yes, it's a whirlwind of prep, but praise God, on July 3, they will be husband and wife and they will face all the challenges of the coming year together.

We were absolutely giddy and said over and over to each other, "I'm SO GLAD they're getting married now!"

Why am I writing all this to someone I feel like I know after reading every word of her blog for over a decade but who doesn't know me from Adam? Because I want you to know that while you'll do a superb job of organizing what has to be done for your three to maximize their potential for great senior years, graduations, and futures, when it's all said and done (and cried and rejoiced), how they LIVE THEIR LIVES will matter much more than what does or happen in the next 12 or 15 months... or how it happens.

I can tell that you will make it special. You'll create some wonderful memories. You are an awesome mom and a wonderfully gifted, godly human being. You have lived an example before them for their whole lives. You are already doing what matters most. Rejoice. God is good. He's got this. He's got them.

Thank you for being such a super example for and a consistent encouragement to me.

Walnut Shade Mom

Jennifer said...

WSM, I tired to reply to your comment via my email last week but I don't know if you received it. THANK YOU for this encouragement. It means a lot!!