A trip back to the Motherland

I’m working towards making this an annual thing –  getting out of Dodge in the winter I mean.  When I first came to Canada, I heard of the term “Snow-birders”.  For my non-Canadian readers, this means – as soon as the white-stuff starts falling from the sky you all flock off to warmer climates in a mass flurry of 50, 60, and 70 year olds screaming “get me outta here!!”  When I first moved to Canada in 1993 I figured I was just too young for all that  (having young kids at home) and set that thought aside.  Now at the ripe old age of 55 with no kids at home anymore,  winter creeps up on me and I find myself in search of the big yellow globe in the sky.

Last year I took off to Australia for a family wedding, and holiday.  This year, it wasn’t the warmth I was seeking so much (although U.K. is warmer generally speaking than B.C.,Canada),  I was seeking time with my wise, and wonderful older sibling who has had some hard times with his health of late, and I felt the need to be there for a few weeks.

I took off to the non-snowy country of Wales and the fabulous company of my brother Lee, his daughter India – now 19, and son Taylor, 21, both relatively unknown to me living across “The Pond” (as the Brits say).  I spent 2 weeks with Lee and his delightful kid-lings, then moved around mid-England visiting with my old high school years BFF, a couple of old night-clubbing-in-my-youth girlfriends, my Step-Brother and his family and my cousin – who I had not really spent more than a tea-time visit with in years.

The vacation was enormously therapeutic, albeit short-lived. I re-discovered how gorgeous my Motherland is.  Stunning fields upon fields, rugged and beautiful coastlines of Wales, and historically majestic buildings and structures.  I re-connected with old friends, deepened my already strong family ties with Lee, and discovered the joy of being an Auntie.

Not quite the  heat-seeking holiday I was looking for, however my soul was beautifully warmed by these ever-lasting  and deeply-rooted connections.

I guess that’s one positive about being an Empty Nester now.  I can take off on trips either with Mike, or solo and not worry about the kids and if they’d also like the holiday.  Or  alternatively – if we left them behind I would be worrying about Day-Care etc.  Now I just send them a postcard and bring them back an appropriate souvenir.  Having said that, a family holiday would be fabulous……..  oh, this Empty Nesting is still tough, who am I kidding?

Where will Winter 2018/2019 take me I wonder.  I’m going to put it out there for a trip to Costa Rica!  Maybe the kids will save up and come too????!

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The party is just beginning………

I’ve been on a bit of hiatus from my Blog for quite a while, but I recently received some words of encouragement to write again.  I was offering some of my “words of wisdom” to a friend of mine and actually, she loved what I had to say! “You should write about that on your Blog” she suggested.

So here I am.  Blogging about it.

While being on a wonderful holiday in Perth, Australia,  my Sister-In-Law left an appropriately placed informational book on the bedside table of my room in her apartment.  This publication was about moving into and through your mid-life and finding ways to deal with all that comes with that phase.

Being an “Evolving Empty Nester” I was completely open to reading this book feeling that it may assist me with my present transition in life.  My current way of thinking was teetering between “Now what?”,  “I have no idea”, “I miss my kids being at home so much”,  “I don’t want to move on”, ” I just want that time again” and finally – “I’m on the downhill slope to the end of my life”.  None of which are in anyway productive to a happy, enjoyable mid and older life.

My thought on mid-life in the past seemed to be on how my body would begin to fail in many ways – strength, appearance, and susceptibility to injury and illness, and that it was a slow downhill slope once you hit your 50’s.

But then I read the aforementioned book and developed a whole new outlook on the next “Empty Nesting” phase of my life.  This judiciously placed book was a positive guide to recovering individuality and mapping out a second life.  It made reference to time spans in our life and looking at what the reader had been able to do and achieve in that period of time.

Let’s make a positive prediction that I’m going to continue to live a pretty healthy and active lifestyle, just like I am now, and that I will be able to do anything that comes my way physically and mentally  from 54 (now) to say 85.  Then that’s still another 31 years of living ahead of me.

I then compared that upcoming 31 year time-span to another 31 year time period in my earlier life – when I was 19 to 50.  Then I contemplated all the things I had fulfilled in that time, what I had achieved, experienced, and how I’ve grown as an individual.  Let’s just put that in a super brief form – I’ve had many great jobs leading to a fun-filled career, found my wonderful husband, raised 2 amazing daughters, lived in 3 countries, rescued a dog, grown hugely as a person, and the list continues……

Slowly – a whole new realization came to me……….. I have a whole lifetime ahead of me and it’s not downhill at all!!  (Unless of course, I allow that to happen).

Doesn’t this thought seem so much more positive in comparison to my former way of thinking that the next 31 years will be a downhill decline?

Now all I have to do is sit back, stop worrying that “time is marching on”,  but just be-in-the-moment. Enjoy-life.  Stop-worrying.   I have a large expanse of time ahead of me.  Who knows what delights and experiences I have to come and how I will develop and grow as a human??

My outlook on this next phase, my “Empty Nesting” phase,  has changed towards a positive future, and that’s a great thing!

Stay tuned for my “whats coming”…….

                    

Nineteen – or thereabouts……………………………………………………and 31 years later

3 years to Evolve into Motherhood, maybe 3 years to Evolve into an Empty Nester?

1993 – here I am, a successful Front Office Manager of a 5 star hotel in Darwin, Australia, now pregnant and picturing this exciting “my heart is full” change in my life that is called “motherhood”.   This was what I pictured –  move to Canada, BC – the land of Christmas trees, gorgeous scenery and a new life.  Baby snuggled in my arms as I glide back and forth in my rocking chair – my baby looking adoringly up at me and smiling.  Husband by my side bringing me cups of tea and loving our life.

I packed up our life in Darwin, and moved, 4 months pregnant to the top of Vancouver Island, B.C. ready for this dream to become a reality.

Zooming ahead a year and my reality was quite different.  My hubby was away with his work more often than not; we had a beautiful, healthy baby girl that I couldn’t “manage”;  I was so stressed, not coping and definitely not a natural born mother.   It seemed that I could manage a 5 Star Hotel along with approximately 30 or more staff in my department, however I was at a loss as to what to do and how to make this gorgeous baby girl happy.  Demanding/drunk/rude guests were way easier for me to handle and appease than our baby was.  I could never figure out what it was she wanted or needed – this was not the way I pictured Motherhood unfolding.

Parenthood was not getting any easier for me as the weeks of Motherhood turned into months.   I was constantly stressed with scheduling every little thing (bad idea in hindsight), I had insomnia and was constantly collapsing into tears.  By the time Morgan was 9 months old, I could picture myself walking past that Christmas-Tree-lined beach whilst my baby slept,  and sliding into the ocean on a one-way ticket out of my self-believing incapabilities.  This was not how I thought my life as a Mother would be. By the time our baby was 10 months old I was diagnosed with Depression.

As Morgan grew older my support network grew larger, (click here to read about some of those ladies) my medication seemed to be kicking in and my confidence grew as a Mother.  By the time Laura was born I had more of a handle on my “Motherhood” situation, and had started to settle into it, relax and embrace this new role in my life.

Looking back over my years as a parent, I would say that although Motherhood is an ever-evolving job through the years of our kids differing phases, it took me at least 3 years from the birth of my first child, to start to feel like I’d survive and do OK as a mother. I wouldn’t kill myself, my kids or Mike and would actually love this role, and love it – I certainly did!

Fast forward to the teenage years, and I’d like to say I “came into my own” as a Mum.  I loved this age where they were exploring their boundaries/world/life and figuring out their future-selves and paths that they would take.  Being part of this process was a wonderful thing and I’m so blessed that we came through those years with only a few small bumps in the road.  Now I have the most wonderfully solid Mother/Daughter bonds with both my girls.  Compared to the baby years, this stage of my kids’ life was easy, joyous and so much fun as I saw my years of nurturing unravel in these amazing young women who evolved to be confident, caring and loving.

I had a “lightbulb” moment last week when I realized that it took me a good 3 years to be comfortable in my role as a Mother, so maybe it would take me 3 more years to find my comfortable space as an Empty Nester?  Maybe I should not beat myself up about it and stop worrying about not having the next part of my life all planned out.  As my Grandmother used to say “all good things come to those who wait”.  Let’s hope so anyway.  I’m waiting and searching for sure.

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