I Need a Blueprint

Jan 23, 2022 | Building Emotional Serenity, Life Stages | 0 comments

I scurried around sorting Daniel’s clothes and loading the washing machine. Then I made a trip to the grocery store while he was still sleeping. I bought his favorite ice cream, ingredients for Chex Mix and Apple Goody, and a big package of his beloved Lorraine swiss cheese, sliced thin just as he likes it, plus last-minute additions for our Thanksgiving dinner. I had purchased none of these items in the past three months since Daniel went away to college. August was when my nest emptied completely after twenty-six years of children in our home.

This morning I found myself humming, feeling good about what I was doing. I pondered my happy mood. I was working, not taking time to read the newspaper or do other things I usually enjoy on Saturday mornings, but I was perfectly content.

It dawned on me! I knew how to “do” this! I knew how to be a mom and lovingly serve my son. I knew which recipes tasted good to him. When he’s not here, I eat low-fat. Sometimes the new recipes don’t turn out tasting that great.

My “new life” requires me to master new software and tech devices. I don’t know what I’m doing when I sit behind a computer. I want to learn how to research using the Internet, but I’m impossibly inept. Daniel used to help me with my technology dilemmas. Sadly, I also don’t know how to make life as fun as it used to be when youngsters’ laughter and my kids’ activities made life so full and fascinating.

The business side of my therapy practice requires me to hassle with insurance companies. I get stumped sometimes when I try to process the claims electronically, so I dislike that part of my job and every aspect of the billing process. Part of the joy of the full nest was the joy of knowing what I was doing. But I didn’t always know. I remember being scared that I would kill my first baby out of ignorance. However, I greatly desired to be a nurturing mother and learned the ropes as I went along.

The above five paragraphs summarize a journal entry from twenty-eight years ago. Obviously, I was painfully aware I didn’t know how to navigate empty-nest land and was mourning the loss of a “full house.” Looking back, I now realize every life stage has required mastering new life skills and learning how to “do it.”

In Chapter 2 of Life’s Third Tri, I discuss the challenge of educating ourselves, making course corrections, and searching for wise mentors in the process of reinventing ourselves as mothers of adult children. In that second chapter, “Longing for a Third Trimester Coach,” I identify possible sources of wisdom to help serve as a blueprint for building our third-tri life and surmounting the hurdles facing us.

The truth is we all need a blueprint every day of our lives. We always have and we always will. I want to encourage you that you can “do” this too. You can be part of a mature sisterhood learning as we go along. You can regain your confidence and joy and start to hum again!

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