gracielou

gracielou
Location
Georgia, USA
Birthday
December 29
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"Spirit ... Read more of life, watch all our children. Keep them safe as they adventure toward adulthood, and let them turn and wave to us as they step out of our care and into the world of their making." ELIZABETH TARBOX Banner created and gifted by RicTresa

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Salon.com
DECEMBER 1, 2009 9:18AM

Stuck Between The Chapters Of My Life

Rate: 37 Flag

A real life exchange between my youngest daughter and me last  night on Face Book.  I guess this says it all. 

 

 

Mom,

I’ve been thinking about you lately and I wonder sometimes if you're fulfilled?

I know how I get when I want something more in my life, but I can't put my finger on it. When you know you want something and you don't know what it is…

I don't know, maybe I'm completely off base here and, perhaps, you are perfectly happy and content with where you are in your life.

I just see that you have so much to offer. You're smart, compassionate, driven and, Lord knows, you have love coming from every action in your life. But passion without an outlet is wasted. Sometimes I worry that you might be lonely or even just bored.


I think about Danny and Julie and how after their children grew, they did what they had always wanted to do. And how when Grammy and Grandpa retired they moved to the beach. How Carol traveled the world. Now, I'm not saying leave Dad and move to Italy, but I feel like it's about time you did some soul searching and found your thing. Your next great something.


I have a theory that in the past twenty years you devoted so much of yourself to a husband, your children and a household that you may have trouble defining yourself without those things.

I think it's time you regained your individuality. What do you want? Don't think it is just you! For example, try to imagine Dad as retired. Everyone faces the dilemma of what's next. But… I feel you might be stuck between chapters.


As always… I love you and like you. I only want you to be as happy and fulfilled as I know you can be. Perhaps you are fulfilled and, if that is the case, ignore this as just a daughter’s concern.


I love you and J and I are looking at phone plans. So, I'll call as soon as I can.


Love,
S

 

Ha! Dear S,

I couldn't have expressed it any better than you did. Stuck between the chapters of my life. That's a perfect description. It's like you're in my head.

You've always been the most perceptive of all of us. I do need a "something." And, don't worry, I'm not going to leave Dad and move to Italy. Although, going to Italy sounds fun.

Yep. I guess the best way I can explain myself is this...It's like I've been working this great job for 25 years, done well, loved my work, took the challenges with the rewards...And then? And then, someone walks into my life and says, "Job well done. Moving on. You're too old for this now and we don't need you in the capacity you've been in." And then they just walk out. It feels like the rug has been pulled out from under me.

I remember all of your faces when you were just graduating high school. Everyone said, "It's a big world. You can do anything you want now. Just figure out what that something is." I remember seeing on your face something like, "Oh Shit. It's a big world and I don't have any idea what I'm going to do now." It is a very big world, indeed.

I remember the year you spent working at the music store. How important it was that you took the time to just "be." And plan. And build up your courage before you jumped into your life. That's where I am now. I know I have to be very careful not to stagnate and become less of who I am. I need to find a passion.

What will that passion be? I can honestly tell you this. I have no earthly idea. I haven't been very aggressive in my search yet. And yes, I am starting to get bored. My back is soooooooo much better now. I have no real excuse NOT to begin my discovery.

In some ways I am very excited by what is in front of me. In other ways, I'm scared. I'm not nearly as brave as you are, S. For whatever reason, I have this fear of failure. I'm not sure where that comes from but I have this deep seeded fear of looking foolish...just typing it sounds silly to me. But, it is there. That's my main challenge, I think. Getting over my fear. That and the fact that change is never easy for me.

I do know a few things though. One, I am very fortunate. I have the support of your dad. Emotionally and financially, to do anything that makes me happy. He genuinely wants whatever I want for myself. How many women can say that, I wonder?

Two, I'm pretty capable. I'll be able to do something, anything really, until I find that passion...that "thing" that wakes me up in the morning and drives me until bedtime.

Three, I isolate myself. For all my extroverted tendencies, I still tend to hide. I was thinking about how that's not good for me. I need to meet some good people. Make some interesting friends to share with.

Dad is the love of my life but there are many things I want to get out and do that he's not interested in doing. A long time ago we decided, on lots of levels, we are very different people. But, that's okay. It's not healthy to depend on one's spouse for all of our happiness. I know that too.

I like very much to have something to look forward to in my life. I need to adjust my thinking and begin looking forward. I've run a few scenarios through my head...working mentoring young adults or back to special education? Both, I know I’m good at but would that be going backwards? Starting an adventure travel group for women my age? I’m sure there are many women my age, like me, who dream of outdoor adventure but have no one to share that with. Perhaps going to travel agent school would be an important step in that direction? Although, to be honest, school...uugh... Travel writing? Travel writing would be a dream job. That pie in the sky. And then I think, but...would I be able to do that alone? That's when I get scared. Alone...I've not been alone for a very long time. I don't know how I'd be.

So...Dad and I are going to NYC for a week. He'll work during the day and I'll see the city. We'll meet up at night, go to dinner, and sleep in the same bed, nice and cozy. I'm giving this thing a test drive in a way. I'm planning on taking pictures and journaling and, hopefully, put it all together when I get home. A "NYC for the woman of a certain age" adventure.

Dad's plans have leaned towards consulting in his "golden years." He's always said that if I go with him then he won't mind traveling for work. He has always hated sleeping alone in hotel rooms. We'll see how this trip goes.

Anyway, baby steps, right?

Hey, by the way, thanks. Thanks for the letter. It's good to know you think about me like I think about you. And, Yeah! Phone plans are good :)

Dad says Hi! Be careful shredding the gnar and give J a big hug for me. Tell him that it's toffee season. I made the first batches last weekend and they turned out pretty tasty. You guys get the next batch!

I love you S. I'm always thankful for you. Always. And, like I said before...you are one of the greatest joys of my life.

Love,
Mom xxxooo

 

***Update:  Hubby just called and the show is a no-go.  So, thanks to everyone who offered up visits and info on seeing NYC.  Looks like I'll have to take you up on your kindness at a later date.  Oh, well...there's always a next time. 

 

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Your daughter is amazing. And, so are you. I started parenthood later in my life so it will be awhile before I am where you are but I still understand what you are feeling. Adventure travel? Count me in!!
I've been stuck between chapters for a while. Don't have to make a decision for a few months. I find I'm very happy doing nothing. Enjoy the time. Can't imagine getting a letter like this from a daughter. Very insightful.
Wow! If I was you, I would have mixed feelings about your daughter's letter. First of all, I would be grateful that she seems to care about you and that she thinks about you. Secondly, I'd be wondering what signs am I showing that would inspire her to write that note to me.
Gracielou, I'm with you. I'm also in between chapters of my life....still raising kids....and yet, feeling the need to get back into the world!
What a daughter! She sounds like a treasure. I loved reading the exchange between both of you. It IS a big world out there. Good luck to all of us as we do our best to navigate it.
Your daughter is a treasure; you, your husband and your children, you´ve built a beautiful family. These letters, the love in each word, the care and commitment, being open-minded; it´s so, so very important, Gracelou. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing this part of your precious universe and good luck on your quest, you are well accompanied.
Kisses,
I think just openly addressing it is half the battle. It will be great to go on this journey with you. I have a feeling there are lots of mothers in this same position.
NYC is not a bad place to start. It helps to spend time in a different location to clear out the cobwebs. It's amazing how a mere change of locale can give you a fresh perspective. I hope you find what you're searching for. You have so much to offer. It's just a matter of choosing an avenue.
ohhhhh, daughters and what they make us conjure.

Have a lovely trip, and all the best on this path.
Good Tuesday everyone! I'll be back later to comment to each one of you. For now, thanks for stopping by. xxxooo
A high school English teacher of mine said, "All beginnings are hard." And so they are . . . but exciting, too, full of potential. Anything can happen. I like the travel writing idea.
Your daughter appears to be extremely perceptive, Gracielou. "Stuck between the chapters of life." I love that description. What an incredible journey you're going to be undertaking, my friend. Enjoy the ride!
You are something else, gracielou. Just one of those lovely people who spreads joy. You are in a wonderful place with a loving family and I'm sure you'll make the most of this time. (and as for travel writing alone, having done it for 30 years, PM me and I'll give you the downsides as well as the up.
What an amazing daughter you have! Perceptive AND communicative (and obviously a loving presence . . . as you are for her). And I think there are a number of us who share the "limbo" state . . . Rock on, gracielou . . . rock on!
I am so jealous. What a fantastic exchange and I really admire your relationship with her.

You are a lucky lady and so is she.
awwwwwwww... now i am all teary. i love you to pieces.
Yes, I do agree, a change of scenery would do great things for your spirit. My honey travels for his job, as well, so I meet up with him at the hotels in those towns or cities. While he is working, I'll explore the squares and the history museums. I've seen the most fabulous architecture in those tucked-in places.

Making new friends is always a plus too. I am in my forties and find that it is extremely hard to meet people. Where does one go to do that?

I hope you post your observations on NYC!

Yay!
What a great relationship you and your daughter share. There are great places to go in NYC. PM me for a list.
Beautiful. So well articulated. And so much adventure still ahead in your life. Lucky, lucky you.
Sliding my bookmark right next to yours between chapters. I so identify. And...I think I kinda love your daughter.

You both rock. As does Dad.
This was just so beautiful from both of you. No wonder your daughter is so amazing-that apple didn't fall far from the tree!
Life is an adventure and you are just getting ready to find your next one. Good luck and please post about NYC. Enjoy the Christmas lights!
What a beautiful exchange between a mother and a daughter. It makes me happy.
Gracie, what a sublime window into your world. And my world too. Stuck between chapters, indeed. Word to that.
Okay, I'm only going to pout for a minute...check the update. No NYC this time. Here I go...:::pout, pout, pout::: Ahhh, I feel better.

mamore: So, that's one vote for adventure travel! Thanks for understanding. Your time will come all too quickly. Someone once said, "Parenting is long nights and short years." Too true.

jimmymac: Hello! I've been pretty happy doing not much of anything for awhile now. It's edging up to a change soon though. I can feel it in my bones. And the letter? I know, right? Sometimes when you don't think they're paying attention they sneak up on you with some profound insight.

patricia k: Yeah, I know why she's picking up on my restlessness...because I'm restless! She, and all the kids, are used to me taking on the world and, frankly, I haven't been doing a lot of that lately. Kinda been vegging. NOT what she's used to. NOT at all.

Lisa Kern: Howdy girl! How ya been? Hope you're feeling better soon. I just suffered through the dreaded flu (it took me three weeks to completely recover). I've still got a camille-like cough.
You said it, girl. A big, big world. We've all got to make our way. I've decided that fear (of anything) can be the most destructive thing I know.
The girl? She is pretty great. Don't get me wrong, she was lots of heartache at certain times. She got most of that over early. And now? Now, I'm pretty crazy about who she is too.

Oh Marcela: Thank you. Your daughters will be the same, I'm certain. With a mother like you they must adore you.

Harry: I think you're right. I've always been a fan of facing things. It might take me a while but eventually I do usually face up!

Steve: ::SOB::: Just kiddin' ya! Yeah, I still might just take off. Go somewhere...And me? I know I will find something worthwhile. Thanks for the encouragement Doc!

wakingupslowly: Yes. Daughters (said with a sigh)...

susan: That's one for the travel writing! Oh, and I am keeping score. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to see your avatar on my blog. You make me want to Snoopy dance all over again!
Your daughter is only 21??? That, more than anything else, flipped me out. She shows the wisdom and empathy some don't achieve at 31. Wow. You didn't just do a "job," you created a masterpiece. Sorry you're not coming East. Someday, right? Maybe on your own? Btw, Limbo can be enlightening.
you go girl
you sound terrific to me!
Ash: S is perceptive. She was born an old soul. Seriously. And, like I said, I'm looking forward to the journey. After all, it is the journey and not so much the destination, right? :)

Lea: awww thanks. And I will PM you about the ups and downs. I actually was thinking about you. I even mentioned to my husband that I should tap into your wisdom :)

Owl: S has an amazing talent. She's a listener with a heart. And, if I had her writing skills I would write all day, every day. It comes so easily to her and she kind of takes it for granted. Her interests now are focused on extreme outdoor sports.

Duane: I am lucky. All of my kids are nice people out doing good things in this world. Not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars.

Walkaway: I hope people never judge their children's character and who they will be when they are 14! When S was 14 and 15 and maybe older she was busy being anything but a mama's girl! She was always smart but it took time for her to grow in to who she is now.

1IM: Don't start or I'll be crying too. At my age, and with these hormones, it takes little more than one of those Hallmark commercials to send me sobbing and running from the room! Ha ha ha. Love you too darlin'.

Miss Adams: That's always been our plan too. When the kids were home I could never go with the husband. He never wanted to go all those fabulous places (Australia, South Africa, Panama, Europe, not to mention many major US cities) and I ALWAYS wished I could! Now, we're going to give it a try (just not NYC next week).
And, I'm with you. It's awfully hard to meet open minded cool women our age. Hell, we're here! They must be out there somewhere, right?

OE: thanks so much for offering insider secrets to NYC! I'll have to take you up on that next time. And, I will!

Deborah: the anticipation of adventure! Yes! Thanks girl.

janie: AWWW...I am disappointed. But, NEXT time a big hug for YOU!

Verbal: sounds like lots of us are having trouble turning the page, right? Yes, she's easy to love. And her dad? Let's just say she's alot like the old man :)
ladyfarmer: you are correct! Life is an adventure. I think it's all in our attitude. Next time I get the chance to go to the big city I will post about it! Promise.

Gwen: thanks for the support! I wish all of us girls lived near eachother and could form some kind of support group. Hey, wait, that's what OS is, isn't it?

Beth: Word up! Sometimes I forget how big my world is. I gotta stop doing that.

Sally: I know, right? Like I said before, S is an old soul. I can't tell you how many people have actually said that to me. In fact, at the place where she used to take music lessons the guy who ran the place called me "the old soul's mom." She has always been wise beyond her years. I'm not sure I had anything to do with that!
And, maybe you're right, limbo might be enlightening. I guess it's what we make it, huh? Oh, and certainly, next time! I would love to meet you...the first person who made me their friend on OS :)

Kathy: Oh, honey, I am fabulous! I'm laughing as I type...sitting here in my flannel jammies with my hair sticking out from my head like an electro shock patient!
That letter could have been sent to a number of women I know. That's a keeper and so is your daughter.
Good luck with writing those chapters gracielou.
It is a big world out there.
Have FUN doing it.
Then write us about it.
Lovely daughter, this one. Hug her!
Of course, great mom; great daughter. What did you expect.

Rated for lovely.
I've been limbo-ing in my own way, too. I decided to go back to school. It's not a bad idea and can be done relatively on the cheap. It's well worth consideration. This story almost made me cry. Very touching. You have succeeded beyond most people's wildest dreams.
Wonderful daughter wonderful post.
O'really: agreed!
mission: thanks.

Thoth: Awww...

Bitch (Michael to the rest of OS): Good on you for going back to school! I just can't bring myself to that point yet. I did well in school but never really enjoyed it. Maybe now, that I'm of a "certain age" I'd enjoy it more? Maybe...

Rutilus: I am still haunted by your loss. Thank you for stopping by here. I feel very fortunate to have her. Know that I wish peace for your heart.
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.
Wonderful! What a fine and lasting legacy you are giving your children with your openness and wisdom...bless you. xox
I'm so sorry I just found your post. Your daughter is uncommonly perceptive! Can we get back to the "Job well done" part? Wow. I'd say so! As for your journey, I can only send you off on the path with my best wishes. I hope you tell everyone where you're headed...and where you land...
What a great kid. For what it's worth, I've been stuck between chapters for at least 30 years. I hope you're better at turning pages.