Sometimes I get tunnel vision. I’m in the home stretch of my kids living under my roof and being constantly under my influence. So I’m focused on them, my own tiny little anthill of activity. And sometimes I forget there is a whole, wide world out there beyond our little bubble.
But sometimes, like when I go to a writer’s conference or, like last night, to a business dinner with my husband, I remember. I remember that there are people out there who can talk about more than SAT scores, teenaged crushes, or the latest high school basketball game. I remember that people can have thoughtful, intelligent conversations on many subjects. And I remember that I am a thoughtful, intelligent person who can participate in those conversations.
I need that remembering once in a while. For one thing, it helps me as I prepare my kids for the whole, wide world, for the people and situations they will encounter beyond the threshold of the very small world they live in now. But it also reminds me that I am, and have been, and will be again, a part of that whole, wide world. That when I look up from these intense years of child-rearing, my life isn’t over. Indeed, it has just begun. For then I will return to the wider world older, wiser, more experienced, more understanding of human nature and of myself.
This is why I can’t grieve over my children growing up and leaving home. Because all it means is that together we will expand the arena of our lives and our relationships will become all the richer for it.