Thoughts From A Practicing Emptynester....

I close my eyes, blink, and I am back in time. I am a twenty two year old bartender, working my way through college.  He was a 34 year old, newly divorced father of a five-year-old daughter.

I blink again open my eyes and I am a 45 year old home maker, chaplain, ice cream truck driver, caregiver volunteer,  married for over two decades with three children and one grandson. The five year old that came with the I do, the one I call my own, birthed from a heart of love,  she is now approaching 28, with a husband and a son.  My youngest is driving and my middle girl is in college.

I blink again and I am back in time.  Lying in the bed of a delivery room, ready to birth our first child together, much harder then a simple I do.  This daughter entered the world ready to take it on.  I believe she was screaming “here I am, whether you like it or not!”  The lungs on this child should have told us then she was going to have much to say over the next 18 years. 

I blink and I am back in the now.   Wow, who knew it is like this amazing time machine holding space on my face. A simple act of blinking brings me back in time. I can see feel and taste everything in that moment that goes on. One blink away from time travel if I choose. The opposite of living in the now. I reflect on my past not to make a home or even camp there but to visit what use to be.

I am the textbook woman who is going through the throws of letting go of her nearest and dearest, one experience at a time. There is something about transition that makes time travel appealing and inviting. I want to blink more, be transported if only for a few moments back to the days where toes were tiny and I was needed. 

A time where I waited at the end of a school day to hear my name “Mom”! Called, as the front door would swing open, plates of food filled with snacks waiting for my littlies to sit at the counter and share about their day.  Those were the good ole days.

Blink and I am back. Who would have known? It is not that I want littles again or even to return to what use to be, I am rather grieving over the lose as I anticipate the future. I am learning to live in the now in a completely different way. Little hands now call me grandma instead of mom, little finger prints do not bother me like they did in my past and my moments are filled with what the future will hold for those not so little anymore.

The brain is a powerful piece of the body, able to process a blink like a time machine. Imagine and it can be. Never in my life have I ever been able to look into my past and see all that was there, at least not without it causing me pain. Today however, the sights, sounds, colors and smells are vivid and real as if my brain has chosen for such a time as now to turn on what had been shut off for most of my life.

I have been taught that trauma can shut down ones memory.  As the brain heals so do the memories and recall can return.  I know this is what I am experiencing today.  I am grateful for the way God has created this safety mechanism, only the creator knew when remembering would hurt no more and today is that day.

Blinking back in time is a powerful way to remember where I came from and where I went and even where I am heading. I close my eyes and I am back in the bar where it all started, the day a college student met a recently divorced father of a five year old.

Who would have known that it would feel like it only happened yesterday when it really it will be 23 years this summer.  

Blinking can blind me if I am not careful, I  miss what use to be and I can get lost in my past and forget about the future where life really happens and people really exist. I have to choose and use wisdom when I want to travel back in time. I choose not check out or check into a place that does not really exist outside my mind.

As a woman who loves to live in the moment this little discovery has been a sweet surprise that is allowing me to transition into my future while still being able to capture my past. I have learned to hold loosely to what use to be but it is fun to blink and be back in time if only for am moment every now and then.

Thank you for letting me share.


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