Last Tuesday, April 20, 2021, my husband forwarded an article that he had read in the New York Times. It is entitled My Second Phase of Adulthood by Charles M. Blow. In this article he reflects on this period of his life and what it means to him both from the aging process but also post-COVID.
The reality shared by this author really touched me. It touched me because of the honesty and the reality of what he shares. The truth of a time in life where we are attending funerals and hearing of the loss of our friends and family members. Children leaving home to venture out into the world in their own unique ways after years of day-to-day care and responsibility. The letting go and trusting in what is yet to come.
My Never Ending Trip
I had the pleasure of traveling last month to St Lucia. A beautiful remote island deep in the Caribbean. It was a trip of a lifetime planned to celebrate the big birthdays of a dear friend and my husband. It was glorious, until the day we were to fly home. After 10 days, we were ready. However, the day before, a volcano erupted on St Vincent, an island approximately 40 miles to our south. The soot from the volcano created a layer of debris in the atmosphere and some of the airlines were not able to get planes in or out of the area. We were rebooked for Tuesday, three days after our scheduled departure. On Tuesday, we were ready to go and news came that the airline we were to fly that day did not leave the US. We were now scheduled to fly home on Saturday, a full week past our scheduled departure. Needless to say, it was a bit challenging and yet I am fully aware that this was a first-world problem! I was “stuck” in St. Lucia, one of the most beautiful places I have visited.
The most challenging part of the journey was that I was scheduled to be in Bloomington, Indiana on Friday to spend Mom’s weekend with my son, Charlie. Having to cancel that broke my heart. My husband and I spent those extra days on the island connecting. We went hiking, swimming and venturing out some, as we were also complete in the COVID-19 quarantine protocol for visiting there.
It was Thursday, when I woke and stepped out to the pool and saw a bird feather floating on the top. Feathers have always had significance in my life as a sign that something positive was about to happen. I trusted and waited, and then a text came through that AA had a flight leaving on Friday and that there was space for us to fly home on it. We booked our flights, said goodbye to the staff and fellow travelers we had met and made plans to fly home. Because of the earlier departure, I was able to fly from Miami to Indiana on Friday night and save some of the time I so wanted to spend with my son.
Releasing to Keep
We met the next day for breakfast. He is so tall — 6’ 4” — and has put on at least 20 pounds since I last saw him. He is working out every day, enjoying college life and his new-found friends and freedoms, adulting in the most remarkable ways. He is clear headed and smart and knows what he desires for himself and his future. He is not my little boy anymore. I have always desired for him to be independent and self-reliant. Yet, part of me desires for him to come back home and be my baby. I often say to him, when will you come back to me? As children leave the nest and I hear that they eventually do come back into a relationship with their parents, it is hard to have the separation.
In the NYT article, Blow says, “This idea of developing a friendship with your children is foreign, exhilarating and absolutely necessary. It is a form of releasing them to keep them, of elevating them and respecting them.”
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Charlie and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to visit.
We are in the process of developing a different relationship and forging a friendship. I deeply love and respect him.
Unfortunately, upon my arrival home, I received a series of news of deaths of friends and loved ones. Having just lost my mom just over a year ago, the sting of death still hurts. Losing friends my age or younger is shocking.
Again, the article touched on so many things that I am dealing with right now. He says, “This seemingly sudden intrusion of death into your life changes you. At least it is changing me. It reminds me that life is terribly fragile and short, that we are all just passing through this plane, ever so briefly. And that has impressed upon me how important it is to live boldly, bravely and openly, to embrace every part of me and celebrate it, to say and write the important things: the truth and my truth.”
I continue to blog each month for this exact reason. To share the truth, my truth, his truth and the truth that plans change whether we want them to or not, children grow up and we have to let go, and people die. This is life. This is our lives.
I like what Charles Blow decides, “…to live boldly, bravely and openly, to embrace every part of me and celebrate it.”
In deep love and gratitude,
To learn more about your second phase of adult development, sign up for Christy’s UPROOT course. She is now accepting attendees for her second cohort. For more information about this transformative curriculum visit: https://christybelz.com/uproot/.