So many of my peers seem to be grieving this change in their lives. And that’s what it is, grief. They mourn the passing of the child rearing days and all the hoopla that comes with it. It was wonderful and all-consuming. Few of us are prepared for the empty nest. We never gave it much thought. We were too busy packing lunches, shuffling schedules and “playing the outfield with mitts on both hands” (Maya Angelou on being a mother). What we NEED is a Rite of Passage party!
A rite of passage ceremony marks the transition from one phase of life to another. And why not mark this transition? Let’s have a party! We will give it its due recognition and launch ourselves into the next glorious 50 years! We celebrate our children passing adolescence with Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s, Quinceaneras and Sweet 16s. Why not celebrate passing the “adult” baton to our grown children? Why not celebrate new adventures and careers? The truth is, I might need a little hoopla to help me let go.
While the kids were growing up, I enjoyed teaching, some public speaking engagements, and writing books. I called it my “jobby” because it was somewhere between a job and a hobby. The kids, the house, and the husband – they were my life and also my greatest joy. I’m not complaining. I was happy to leave my career on the back burner. Now it’s time to turn up the heat. So where do I start?
Why, Pinterest of course! Party themes and ideas are plentiful there. Being Irish I started with an Irish Wake theme. I will plan a party that celebrates my previous life and give it a proper send-off. Avoiding all things black and morbid, I choose to decorate with pictures of my kids, husband and our adventures together. My friend suggested a three-tiered wedding style cake with a woman reaching for the stars on top. We’re still thinking about that. It will not be a three-day event, but perhaps over a weekend so I can enjoy time with out of town guests. Guests will bring their planners so that we can schedule adventures, networking and girls’ nights. We will do facials and bring in a massage therapist. It’s going to be amazing!
Next, I presented the idea to the family, our kids, my adopted kids, and my husband. He thought it was awesome. The kids were uneasy. They found the idea of Mom-in-transition made them a little nervous. Oh, they think I’m the “Cool Mom” but what is this transition thing? Was I going to go crazy? Or sprout horns and a third eye?
It’s sometimes difficult for our loved ones to think of us as anything but the role we play in their lives. It doesn’t make me sad, but it does make me think. For children of divorce, for example, it might be strange to think of Mom or Dad dating. The thought of them kissing their date goodnight is likely to cause gagging fits! You might meet with a little resistance from them regarding your coming of age celebration. That’s okay, soldier on! You deserve this.
I have reassured my children that I am still “Mom,” but I am also “ME.” We will still hold the same family holiday traditions, but they will be expected to participate in the planning, execution, and clean up. Like them, I, too, have social engagements I need to attend. Beginning with my very own Rite of Passage Party!