This past week, we moved my daughter back to college. She’s entering her fourth year and is living off campus with some friends this year. She has grown up so fast. It seems like just yesterday she was playing with her favorite baby doll Nah-ne (how she pronounced Natalie when she was just learning to talk) in her play kitchen. Now, she’s off making real food in her real kitchen!
While the day we moved her in last week was exciting, it was not long ago that I was a hot mess when we dropped her off at college for the first time. I cried for days leading up to dropping her off. I had this countdown going – 15 more days with Kaitlyn, 14, 13, 12…..It was as if she was leaving for good, yet she was planning to come home to visit at times on the weekends. I got so wrapped up in her leaving, that I didn’t realize how much goodness I still had.
At the time, it felt like a part of me was dying. My oldest didn’t need me anymore. She was old enough to make decisions without me. Long gone were the days of my daughter feeding her Nah-ne a bottle and rocking her to “sleep” as she mimicked me rocking her brother to sleep the same way. This was a hard pill for me to swallow. An identity was fading and it felt like I didn’t have any others to fall back on. My identity as a leader of people had already been shattered about nine months prior when I decided to step into a different role at work. My once youthful body was in full-on menopause, so it felt like that identity was gone too.
I noticed everything that I didn’t have at this time. I fell into depression. I used food to cope even more than I already had. I could not see all that I did have. I still had a 15 year-old son living at home. I still had a husband. I still had a job. I still had a new puppy. I had a lot to be thankful for, yet I could only see what I had lost.
It took a lot of internal work to realize that I am more than a mom. I am more than a wife. I am more than an IT professional. I am more than a coach. I am a beautiful soul who loves the beach and worships the sun. I am a beautiful soul who loves to notice beauty in nature. I am a beautiful soul who loves to put together a puzzle or solve a good mystery. I am a beautiful soul who loves to learn and is constantly looking for another good book to read. I am a beautiful soul who loves to have a deep conversation with someone, the kind where you lose track of time. I am a beautiful soul who is on this planet for a very short period of time in the grand scheme of things.
The list could go on and on about all the things I am. I am so much more than a mom, or a wife, or a coach. When I found out who I really was behind all the identities or titles I had over the years, I realized who I was at the core. I realized that no matter what identity or role I take on in this thing called life, I was still someone who loved the beach and the sun and beauty in nature and a good book. Those things are what make me, me. I will have those “things” no matter what role I am in.
Now, I try to stay focused on being present so that I can realize those goodies that my life has to offer me in the moment. I realize I have a lot to be thankful for and that life is so much more than an identity.