For a better part of our children’s lives we are defined by them, or maybe, become defined by them. Then there comes that pivotal moment when we have done our job, hopefully with much success, and they go out into the world we’ve prepared them for. And with what seems to feel like a soul seeking slap of consciousness on our rosy, worn cheek, we are no longer defined by our children, which then begs the question, who am I? I think of the Dr. Seuss book, “Are you my mother?” while gazing in the mirror at the reflection staring back at me and ask, are you me? I see echoes of myself in reflective surfaces, and wonder tickles the back of my mind for a moment as the resonance of the echo fades, was that me? When do we lose ourselves, or more importantly, how do we get ourselves back once we realize we are empty without our babies under foot?
For the past six or so years, my sons high school and college years, I have introduced myself to people, “Hi I’m Julie, Jerome’s mom,” seriously, no joke. That reference after my name was what brought the light of recognition to the eye of who I was introducing myself to. I was no longer “Julie”, and am not quite sure when that happened. Since losing my children to the world of independence and self sufficiency I have gone back to school, joined a roller derby league, and have tried to slowly introduce myself back into society. I look for myself in the shadows, in the red, chipped bricks and mortar of buildings that I love, in activities that bring faint memory of something I used to enjoy…hoping to coax me out into the living again, the singular oneness of me. It is a strange and beautiful world. There is a timidness in finding me, but an underlying excitement at realizing I really like who I am, and that me is slowly bubbling to the surface…almost at a boil.
Julie D. Long writes: I’m a 43 year old single mother of two, now ages 20 and 24. I just received my AA in English last December at San Diego City College after which I relocated to Washington State, Kingston to be exact. I love the beautiful, rainy northwest and am looking forward to exploring the emerald green forests and steely skied beaches. I have found my nook in the world and have already started spreading my roots in the rich soil of my new “state”