Over recent years I’ve had a nagging question about my true life purpose.
It happens to mums like myself, as our children grow, become independent and start making their own choices and taking responsibility for their own lives. The role of a mother changes quite profoundly and that was certainly the case for me. Even though I had a career of sorts, and welcomed the resulting reduction of dishes, washing, somehow losing the role of being the one responsible for my children’s needs, was a huge grief, a loss of meaning, of purpose.
To grow up and be a mother had been my dream for as long as I could remember. I was an only child and longed for a sister to play with. When I discovered I was also adopted, I was determined that one day I would get married and have my very own family, and I wanted at least 10 children, and to marry a farmer and live in the country.
I was married to my husband Dave at 17, we had our first child a few months later having just turned 18, and over the next 17 years had 5 further children. I didn’t marry a farmer or live in the country but I married my soul mate and together we achieved what I considered my life purpose. To bring life into the world and to love and nurture our children till sometimes I thought my heart would completely burst with love. I was never happier than when I was carrying or nursing one of my children. I used to wish that time would stop right there in those awe filled moments and stay like that forever. I joined playcentre and stayed there for 17 years.
To then have to let each of my children go, one at a time as they became independent and made their own life choices, was like a double edged sword, deep pride and satisfaction on one side and a sense of redundancy and torture on the other.
After the first three had left to begin their independent lives, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away. My younger three became my focus, along with my work which I now needed to be able pay the mortgage etc. Then I formed a new relationship and over the next few years my younger children also moved away as they matured and stepped into their own independence.
I was so very proud of each of my children . But oh how I missed the little things. The music they played, the sounds of the voices when they came through the door after school with friends in tow, even when they would create mess in our tiny kitchen which I would sometimes come home to.
I had formed a new relationship, was working full time, and we connected when we were able, but life was so busy for everyone gradually the distance started to grow. Then an unexpected accident meant I eventually needed to move house and this only increased the distance between us.
Deep down in my heart, the ache to be back in the past continued to keep me stuck. I loved my new space, my new work, but I still grieved for what was gone.
” What is there that is really left for me to do now? ” became my question.
What can I do that brings real meaning and a sense of purpose, of making a difference, of participating in creating something worthwhile? What am I supposed to do next ?
Today I met clarity ! Watch this space.