The Life I Imagined

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Have you ever listened to a song and wondered about the words? Maybe fantasize for a split second…what if things had been different? Don’t we all ask ourselves at one moment or another, how different life would be if we had taken alternate paths?
Years ago I was a busy housewife and mother of two busy sons when I heard Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song He thinks he’ll keep her. I really listened to the lyrics and tried to empathize with this woman’s feelings as a distraught housewife and mother. It was easy to relate to her plight for like any mother, there were times I was overwhelmed with all the responsibility. Although I understood the woman’s feelings in the song, I know deep within me I am happy for the choices I’ve made in my life. The woman in the song walked away from her marriage and never looked back. That’s what she had to do to survive but her story is different than mine.

 

 

Once in awhile I think what if? What if I had made different life choices such as joining the Air Force, which I thought of momentarily in my twenties or finished college in Boston 28 years ago? What if I had chosen a career other than a grocery deli worker that I did for 12 years? If I had made any different decisions,  I wouldn’t be where I’m at today! I wouldn’t have met the people I have, especially my mother in law at our workplace at Butsons Supermarket or my husband shortly after. I wouldn’t have my beautiful grown sons or be living in the small town I call home. Dreaming of what if only brings a split second of curiosity but mostly an assurance that the choices I made were perfect for me!

 

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If I had a retry and a chance to change any circumstance of my adult life, I wouldn’t! I feel like my nature would be different and with different experiences brings pain and sorrow at times. If I harbor any ill feelings about my past, it would only be for my low self esteem. I wish I could back up fifteen or twenty years and really work at being confident then instead of now, so much later. Maybe my life would be even richer if I had just told myself, “ You know what, you are okay. More than okay!”

 

 

If you’re a teenager or in your twenties and you aren’t sure of what direction to take, trust yourself. Go out on a limb and take chances. Believe in yourself and trust your gut. If your choice feels right, do it and don’t even think about it. Sometimes the pressure of life’s direction is all the thinking we do.

 

The life I imagined wasn’t even close to as sweet and rich it really is! My dreams were surpassed and I’m living everyday with a grateful attitude and love for this life. It truly is a blessing and gift and with everyday I continue to unwrap it!

 

I hope YOU are living your dream and that your expectations have been surpassed. Sending many blessings to you all! Embrace your life and all the gifts and even hardships, for that’s how we grow and learn.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul❤️
Mary B.

The Road Ahead

 

 

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It was a peaceful and beautiful ride home. The sky above us was a stunning shade of blue, coaxing me to snap its portrait. Thick fingers of puffy white and gray clouds spread across the sky. Staunch rock mountains bordered the road, enclosing us in. Perfect pine trees stood as erect as can be, like guarding soldiers lining the way.Our beautiful mountains welcomed us to New Hampshire, one of our favorite landscapes and sign that home was near.

 

We had just dropped off our youngest son to college, so exciting and new to him. As we drove through Lincoln and then Franconia Notch, profound thoughts came to life. Not only was Branden starting a unique journey in his life, where he  had never trod before….but Tom and I were as well.

 

As the road stretched before us in the light of this day, I felt strange yet exhilarated. The interstate ahead ( nestled in the valley of magnificent mountains) represented our journey in coming years. It’s a time of reconnecting as husband and wife. There will be no more homework sessions, baseball games with late hurried meals and no more drama performances with camera in tow. No more piled up stinky teenaged laundry, pleads for the car keys or staying up late waiting for him to come home. ( Not for now anyway, school breaks I’ll probably revisit this).

 

With the slow motion ride, I thought maybe this time was a gift. A remarkable present of alone time, peace and quiet, spontaneous trips and certainty. This certainty would be that we, as devout parents, completed our tremendous job with so many memories along the way! I think I’ll treasure them and put them in my pocket to bring out from time to time to cherish and reflect on.

 

 

 

Great times are ahead and as we see our sons, most of the unsettling and exciting child raising is caput. What remains is simply enjoying them and watching them go about their adult lives. There will be times they need or want us and that’s something to hold on to.

 

 

 

 

Coming home that night, the house was quiet and it seemed odd. We were here together in this space without our sons. A road lies ahead of us and our experiences are yet to be determined. This uncertain journey may be scary with bumps along the way and we may not know what to do at first, but I have confidence that it will be as wonderful as our last 22 years.

 

 

Here’s a BIG shout out to all my readers! Thank you for reading my material and responding with love and friendship. I have not posted as often as I like lately but intend to write more and post  few times a week. Future posts I’m working on include A Father and Son story ( one close to my heart) and my garden in its ending stage.

All my Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

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It’s Not About Me

Dedicated to all Empty Nesters out there.

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Sometimes I long to turn back time to when Branden was a wee little boy.

 

 

 

Let him fly and stretch his wings, they say. Let go and live your life, they say. Empty nest, they say. There comes a crucial time in motherhood when you hear your friends and family’s thoughtful advice about your child’s departure. I guess it eases my mind that most moms do get through it and plow ahead in their life, but I won’t be free of worries. There will always be random thoughts or questions lingering, does he know what to do when he’s sick? Will he call us when he needs to? Did we raise him right in serious and difficult situations?

 

 

 

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This is about him and his hopes and dreams.

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Now we’re in crunch time, just a few weeks away from drop off in a different state 2 1/2 hours away from home. Many essentials are bought and packed. I bought new underwear and socks, against his judgement. All that’s left is to scan Amazon and rent a few text books and connect with roomies about who’s bringing what. Amid all this fantastic organization, my heart feels like it’s being shattered. I suspect that Branden will miss home and his predictable life in a small town, but I know even more that he will excel and persevere because that’s the guy he is.

 

 

 

 

Even though I dread drop off and turning away, ( just as I did in Kindergarten) I know it’s not about me. This story isn’t mine…it’s his. It’s not about my sense of loss, lack of purpose ( other empty nest moms, is this familiar?) or racing mind. It’s not about passing his bedroom down the hall and missing him on his computer. It’s not about missing interesting dinner conversations with him leading the show.

 

 

 

One important thing I will emphatically miss is knowing what he did that day or if it was good or not so good. I’m just getting used to missing that with my oldest son Dylan. I trust he’s doing okay and check in when Dylan stops by for his bowl of cereal. Maybe Branden, Tom and I will connect through FaceTime or Skype. Maybe there will be distant phone calls with my motherly longing to grill him for details, something I’ll have to deviate from.

 

There is a bright side…all these feelings are normal and part of the motherhood package. Who said I could keep him home forever? Who would want to keep their offspring from pursuing their dreams…not me. Raising children has stages and this is one of the final ones, letting go. It’s a new start, an adventure for the books and it’s his story, not mine. You see, I already know that it’s not about me.

 

 

Are there any empty nesters out there with stories or advice? I would love to hear from you!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️