I wanted to follow-up on yesterday’s entry.
Sometimes the burdens I feel seem to weigh so much. When I try to put that to paper, I am not always clear, so I want to take a moment to ensure that I did not give anyone the wrong impression.
First, having a foot on both sides of the hill is odd and sometimes difficult. I really have 2 main “peer groups” Both primarily consist of Catholic women, of course.
The first group, my oldest group of friends, are the women who have grown children, like I do. These women share my concerns and joys with grown children. But they also have entered a new phase of their lives: they are moving from the at home, actively raising children phase to another phase which involves things like furthering their education, getting jobs or resuming careers, and looking forward, one day, to grandchildren. Just like me.
The second group consists of women who are raising their children. Most of their children are not yet teenagers… many have a group of children under 10. They are still in the trenches. They are at home, homeschooling their kids, teaching the faith. Just like me.
And yet, I sometimes don’t feel as though I quite fit in either group. And that is an isolating feeling. I get along with and love the company of both of these groups of women. I have been graciously welcomed by both. Both groups give me inspiration on this long journey. When I say I don’t feel I fit, I don’t mean that I don’t feel welcome or that I don’t belong. I know I am welcome and belong. My reality is just that… mine, about me, my limitations. It is not about them. At All. Just wanted to be clear on that!
I have friends with grown children who see that I am blessed with my large family and sometimes seem to “idealize” my life, and seem to not realize that I am isolated, that this is a lonely vocation. They don’t seem to see that I am being “left behind” in a sense. Some days that is just plain hard for me.
As I said yesterday, I do not have the energy to keep pace with my younger peers, it seems. There are difficulties with a boy who does not like to get in the car or be away from home much. I have a high schooler and a middle schooler that we are schooling and this requires more time and effort from me than schooling the elementary aged kids. In short, I can’t keep up as well. I have what they have, younger kids at home, but I don’t have the ability to do many of the things that they can do.
Don’t get me wrong. I have benefits, too. I don’t have need for babysitters. I don’t need to hire out getting my lawn done. I can hand my son the keys and send him to the store for me. I can save $3500 by having my son paint the house… because he is grown and an do it. I have the joy of seeing what terrific young men I have had the privilege to raise and I have the blessing of personal perspective and experience that some of my mom friends don’t have yet.
I also have the joys of having younger kids with me still. Raising kids goes by way too quickly. Much more quickly than we realize, usually, until it is too late. I still have the chance to enjoy my kids being kids and can appreciate all the little things. My friends whose kids are grown have passed that point. They do enjoy their adult kids, but they do not have the youngers to cherish anymore.
I wanted to be clear yesterday that I love my life and have no regrets. That does not mean that there are no crosses to bear. The cross is heavy and rough and we struggle under the weight of it. We continue on, though, because the cross is ours to bear and we know that without the crucifixion, there can be no resurrection.
Even Jesus needed help from Simon to carry His cross. Sometimes I need help with mine. Sometimes it is enough to just be able to express the difficulties I am going through. In getting it out and acknowledging the hardships, I find, somehow, I am renewed in my strength and I am ready to continue on my via dolorosa to my easter.
And just for the recored: My entire peer group is a wonderful blessing. I truly am blessed. I’m just in an odd spot, being in both camps! They are all terrific and have loved and supported and laughed and cried with me through many things. I am grateful for them all.