I love to people watch this time of year. It’s easy to tell who is holding onto Summer and who is enjoying the Fall. It’s especially fun to see those who are eager for Winter–I saw “one of those” last night, in her high boots and thick sweater. I let out a little chuckle when she walked by. It hit me funny since I had been walking barefoot on the beach in shorts and a tank top just a few hours earlier. As I looked around at all the other people who were wishing they had prepared for the temperature drop. I was glad I had changed!
Does this fluctuating weather represent your life like it does mine? One minute it I feel the warmth of all the wonderful things that are happening. The next moment I’m chilled to the bone with the difficulties that I am facing. I’ve been here before. In fact, I’ve been facing the challenges of my son’s addiction for many years now.
In the past, I allowed the cold chill of my fears and sorrows to govern my emotions. When his life was full of bad weather, so was mine. No matter what other victories were happening, my mind and heart was consumed with his storm. When my other children had joyous events, I tried to enjoy them, but I went to their beach party in winter clothing. I couldn’t find my happy until all my children seemed safe.
It’s very hard for us mammas to focus on anything else when one of our children are facing a cold and bitter storm. The clouds of guilt, shame, fear and sorrow linger over our hearts, keeping us from enjoying the sun when it does shine.
I will never stop bearing the Winters with my son. He will always be a priority in my life. I will do what I need to do when I need to do it, but I am learning to let it go when there is nothing I can do. The clouds have hindered too much of my joy, my health and my relationships. It is time I learn to wear the appropriate emotions for the moment. In the past, I would feel phony if I put my happy on when my heart was so broken; or I’d feel guilty if I did take off my heavy winter wear when my offspring could not. Now I realize that it is far more authentic to have multiple emotions. You and I have the right to laugh when something is funny and cry when it is sad. That’s life.
If it were a neighbor suffering, we would stop everything, put on our coat and do whatever we could but we would acknowledge that we cannot weather their entire storm. Our children’s lives may have begun in our body, but as they grow independent we must allow the separation to happen. As much as we feel their pain, we must remember their lives are separate from ours now.
I say this with tears as I put my coat back on and head back into my son’s storm.
If you are allowing your child’s Winter weather to cloud your Summers, I encourage you to join me in making a commitment to live in the moment. We can cry, but let’s also stay strong and carry on. If we have to “change emotional outfits” many times a day, so be it. Let’s be as authentic with our emotions as we are with our outfits.
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