Tag: empty nest

Mothers Letting Go

Mothers Letting Go

Mother's Day

“The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother’s side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.”  Erich Fromm

Many of us are in the phase of “letting go” of our role as mothers. The hardest part is often where allowing our children to be independent and make their own decisions conflicts with our need to protect, guide and love; when our children cut the strings and pull away. We feel the loss acutely, and yet, that is our job. We must set them free to make their own mistakes just as we have made our own.

We must never forget, however, that they will always need the love and acceptance of a mother’s love. When we set the example of unconditional love they will grow a mother within themselves that carries them far beyond the length of our years and our presence in their lives. Holding them loosely in our hearts through the years of growing independence gives them a safe haven in a storm when they need it while allowing them to grow into the adults we long for them to become.

When our children no longer needs us, we must grieve and let them go. Still, we must never forget that our role as mother never ends. We need never stop sharing our mother love. We only need turn our attention elsewhere. Children needing love spill out of every crack and crevice throughout the world. If we look carefully, we will see the unloved child in the cashier at the grocery store, the grumpy mailman that always messes up our mail, the young woman whose husband abuses her, the little boy acting up in church, and in face after face of those we encounter briefly or every day. The wounded children of the world need the love of a mother to grow strong and whole. If your heart is full of mother’s love and your children no longer seem to need it, let it spill over on the world around you.

Download your copy of my book, Finding Hope today, as my gift to you. (Offer expires at midnight tonight. 5-10-15.  I think you’ll find a little extra strength, guidance and hope between the pages that may just take you through the hard moments of “letting go” to a new place of acceptance and outward of expression of mother’s love.

Happy Mother’s Day!

GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

I have followied Veronica and David James of Gypsynester fame since they first flew the empty nest and ventured into the world of life ongypsynester the road. I admired there chutzpah and their sense of humor, not to mention their upbeat outlook on life. It was a breath of fresh air. Life seem more than hard from where I sat and I was curious to see how tossing all one’s cares away would all play out. A very big part of me was wishing I was doing the same thing! I so wanted to escape old age!

Back then, when boomers everywhere were trying to figure out the next phase of life, the internet created an opportunity for us to be privy to some really awesome adventures, and courageous folks telling their stories in vivid detail. If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to read David and Veronica’s blogs along the way, you’ll love their new book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. Humor always prevails in their world and they both have the gift of the story teller. It’s a delightful, page turning adventure complete with pictures.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Then scurry on over to their website and sign on for further adventures. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All

by David and Veronica James

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

FOLLOW David and Veronica on Twitter and Facebook. 

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Finding Courage

Finding Courage

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”  ~ Anaïs Nin 

3823782148A few years ago, a couple of friends and I bought matching silver “tree of life” pendants for our necklaces.  I love the tree of life and it’s representation of a healthy life with strong roots holding to the earth, and healthy limbs reaching for the sky.  Later, I added a small charm with the word courage carved into it, and another love charm later from a friend.  I treasured my jangling trio, until one day recently, I reached down and they were gone.  My necklace turned up at a place I had visited earlier in the day, but all three charms were gone.

I was thinking about my missing charms a few days later while talking with my daughter who was home on college break, and how everything is constantly changing.  It is the transition, the actual act of changing from one thing to another that is often the most difficult part.  At 19, my daughter is transitioning from child to adult and her 22 year-old brother, graduating from college soon, is doing the same.   Managing this transition is a turbulent, unsteady time for me, a time of missteps and discovery which can be exhilarating and a little scary.  I would imagine it’s similar for them.

As my children transition and step up to their adult lives, my mother with Alzheimer’s disease, is stepping out of hers.

When I was pregnant with my children, I was in awe of the women who had given birth before me.  It seemed I noticed the mothers in the world for the first time.  Her and her and her.  Mothers.  They were suddenly everywhere and they became holy members of the “mother club.”  How had I not noticed them before?  It’s like this for me now as I notice women whose children are long gone and who have surely lost their mothers by now.  Her and her and her.  Empty nesters, motherless daughters, carrying on, laughing, living.  I’m intrigued and curious about their lives, now lived without their mothers walking this earth, their children far away, and with smiles on their faces.

As my daughter shared her thoughts on growing up and the changes this will bring, we talked about how the only constant thing in life is change, and how we can DSCN0393_2 (1)open our hearts, unclench our grips, and flow with, not fight the changing currents that come our way.  As we talked about letting go, she shared her realization of how difficult it must be for me to lose my mother to Alzheimer’s.  In this moment, with a pensive look on her face,  I knew she was talking about me — that she was imagining ME with Alzheimer’s and HER saying the long good-bye.

It hit me then — my daughter is watching me navigate my mom’s Alzheimer’s disease just like I watched my mom with her mother.  What kind of message was I sending my children in my struggle to let go of my mother and of them? What were they learning from me about accepting change?  Perhaps more importantly, what message did I want to give them?  In barely a breath, a subtle shift took place and I told my daughter that letting go and embracing change is what we must do if we are to live in peace.

I realized that letting go and embracing change is what I must do if I am to live in peace.

Maybe it’s peace that I see on the faces of the motherless daughters with faraway children who seem firmly planted in their next chapter.   If that’s the case, I like to imagine theirs was a hard won peace that began with a valiant struggle against the strong tides of change, tossing them about, churning up muck, then spitting them out into calm waters once they accepted the flow — and finally let go.

A little lighter, and later in the day, my daughter joyfully tracked me down and announced, “Dad found your courage on the driveway!”  We shared a knowing look, then laughed at the fullness of the moment — my courage had been found!  It was beat up but intact, along with my tree of life and love charms which were also on the driveway.  It turns out, we had been driving and parking on them for a week.

Sometimes I miss things that have been in front of me all along.

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Joanne Leonardis
Joanne Leonardis

Joanne’s most recent occupation was as a stay-at-home mom to an active son and daughter.  But due to the recent fledgling flight of her children to college, Joanne’s full-time job was recently down-graded to part-time, with most of her duties occurring during the summer months, Christmas break, and through frequent texting.

When she’s isn’t tending to her far away children, or contemplating what her next chapter will be, Joanne spends a fair amount of time as a long-distance caregiver for her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease, and her father who is bewildered by living alone after 50+ years of togetherness.

Joanne has a B.S. in Human Services Counseling, and has worked as a Social Worker with the elderly and at-risk-youth. She currently volunteers in her community in various capacities including as an Alzheimer’s Advocate.  When not traveling between Virginia and Minnesota to visit her parents, Joanne enjoys gardening, meditating, running, and spending time with her husband.

Joanne writes about preventing Alzheimer’s, navigating mid-life, and letting go of her mom on her website Racing Alzheimers
You can also find her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RacingAlzheimers and twitter at https://twitter.com/RacingALZ