The first part of my adult, I was a mom raising two sons. All decisions I made, every decision I made was to improve life for them and prepare them for adulthood – because I didn’t want them living with me forever! As a single parent it was critical to me not to sacrifice my kids for anything, personally or professionally.
Then BAM, a couple years go by and they’re adults and now what? I have an entirely new rhythm of life. It feels strange and uncomfortable and exciting and scary and like the promised land awaits, but with a hint of guilt! Truly, it is difficult to flip a switch and not be a mom, like I was before. Thus, this intermission between Act I and Act II. Thinking about this intermission brought back a memory from the dairy farm.
My dad always had salt blocks/salt licks around, usually at the end of the feed bunk. The salt block provided supplemental nutrients. Dad watched to see when it needed to be replaced; the cows consumed it gradually, “secretly”. They used it only when they subconsciously knew their bodies required it. It always took a different shape because they picked at it, in different places, until it was gone.
In the Second Act of motherhood, (we really never stop being a parent) my job is to leave salt blocks lying around. It won’t be obvious, but when I check those blocks occasionally, I get to notice a corner licked off, a groove in the front, a big hole being wallowed out in the middle of the top. They are taking what they need when they need it. It’s my job to keep checking on those salt blocks, I know I won’t have the same rush of adrenaline that I got when they needed a big dose, but isn’t that the natural course?
Just as they are establishing new rhythms, so am I. Once I started seeing the intermission this way, I was ready to embrace and celebrate Act Two, with no guilt, with a new set of eyes to find joy! I had to give myself grace to grieve what used to be, realize the transition and then choose to see the Second Act with exhilaration!