Vail Valley Voices: Empty nest looms
Vail, CO, Colorado
I was given a simple task recently: Create a poster for the graduation party – a visual story of the most memorable moments of my graduating daughter’s life.
As I spent two weeks going through numerous picture albums, a recurrent question kept coming to my mind.
Here is the question: When you are about to become an empty-nester and your heart is aching because of the lingering doubt, namely, can I survive one more transformation in life, can I survive one more loss? (God knows how many scorching transformational fires we have all survived so far!). When these gyrating thoughts are spinning your mind like mischievous winds in the desert sand, how can I logically and calmly pick a linear time of the most prominent memories when each and every one is memorable to me?
That was the daunting task.
Meanwhile, for two weeks I got lost in memory lane: memorie, memoir, memorable. I pondered deeply on the meaning of these words. I realized the unavoidable chain of cause and consequences: The deeper you love, the more you ache when is time to let go. Such is life.
So, here I am, almost two weeks later (as I write), thumbing through picture books and my living room floor is tiled by visual squares of memorable moments, frozen in time by the eye of the camera, creating footpaths to the center of my very essence, the center of my longings; footpaths made of heart, smiles, sweat and tears, forged by the magical moments of breathing and living together; flashbacks of foamy baths with baby’s best friends, of of rubber duck-duckies; of sweet unexpected slumber over spaghetti plate, slouching on a high chair; of Easter egg hunts, of kind tooth fairies, of quietly whispering on Santa’s lap; memorable memories of Christmas mornings, of presents unwrapping, of birthday cakes with silver, slippery frosting on children’s noses; moments of nappies with kitties, motorcycle rides with Daddy and killer hikes to unreachable lakes with Mommy.
Here in front of my eyes is the recreation of all these magical moments of first bath, first step, first Halloween costume, of Pippy Longstocking, and malleable mermaids’ with silver-blue hair – best friends, first kiss, first love … all beloved moments, fragmented in a time we call the past, resurrected in the present by a simple, easy task called “Create a poster of the most memorable moments …”
Here I am, thumbing among the pages of our lives, each picture representing also the collective approval to self, the golden medallion to validate, overcome and appease the lingering self-doubt about appropriate and quacy meeting the fallible, feeble and fatiguing task of becoming a better parent to my child than my parents were to me.
While sitting on the floor, cutting the “tiles” into fun floating clouds for my poster, I have a profound question for God: Please, tell me, did I really make it to the other side of self-approval?
Here it is: I am sharing in stream-of-consciousness the duplicitous thinking of an about-to-be empty nester, celebrating the passage, applauding my daughter for her amazing achievements and simoltenuosly afraid of the emptiness momentarily caused by change.
Blessings to all of our graduating seniors, our adult children, off to their life of dreams, of better and brighter tomorrows.
May devine grace shed light on the path of your future of love, life and the pursuit of happiness.
God bless you all.
With the deepest maternal love, I also wish a smooth transition to all mothers and fathers about to let their “babies” go.
Simone Fodde-Crotzer’s daughter graduated from Battle Mountain High School this year.
While it will be postmaster Elizabeth Turner’s first busy season in Avon, it’s far from her first holiday-shipping crunch.