"Music is not in the notes, but rather in the silence in-between." Amadeus Mozart
The space in-between.
I've been a mother for 25 years, and just this week, I realized that my mothering days have mostly spent in-between something.
Some of those days were perfectly wonderful, yet other days were edgy and uncomfortable. What if we allowed ourselves gratitude for the days we spent resting in the uncomfortable.
Stay with me here for a moment. Can you simply acknowledge that yesterday might been uncomfortable? Yesterday might have been devastating. Yesterday may have, just well, sucked! Can I say that? Right. This is my blog; I can say anything I want.
If we’re honest, our lives are filled with a whole lot of disappointments and difficulties, with comparatively fewer joys. Of course, social media turns this concept on its ear. How often do we allow ourselves to see the real, the raw, and the hurts that life throws our way?
As parents, we are not only first-hand witnesses to not only our own disappointments, our own difficulties, but we also get to live in of our kids’ less-than-perfect moments. If you aren’t naturally one to wear your heart on your sleeve, then parenthood may very well rip your heart right out of your chest and plop it on top of your blouse, blood and all! It did me.
Life’s in-betweens occur at every juncture. We, however, are always preparing for our kids’ great in-between when they leave home and enter adulthood. This is what we want for our children: a successful launch into adulthood.
We prepare for this ultimate moment when we drop our kids at the preschool doors and at the neighborhood bus stop. We watch them pull out of our driveway on their maiden ‘voyage’ at 16. We unload their stuff at the college dorm; we help them sort their Tupperware at their first apartment. Ultimately, we stand at the door and watch them make their first move into adulthood.
With any luck, they won’t come back. But, the latest statistic says, a whopping 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May, according to a poll by Twentysomething Inc., a marketing and research firm based in Philadelphia. Say it isn’t so!
Nothing, nothing can prepare you, as you watch your young adult move far, far away, knowing well that the next time you see him, he will have stepped fully into adulthood. This week, I got to experience this moment with our oldest son. This child was born with autism; he overcame great odds. Honestly, twenty years ago, we didn’t know if he would ever come to live in his own. Five days ago he moved to Germany. To live.
Today, as I reflect upon my past week, I realize that my yesterdays were spent doing … being, in order to fill space, to fill a calendar, to fill a life.
Here’s my take on it. Even when we fill our lives with the good things, if they don’t fill us up, they are using up our precious space in-between. As human beings, it is our nature to constantly be running toward something. A girl wants to be a teen, a graduate wants to be a collegiate, a collegiate longs to be someone’s wife. Then, as a mother, we spend the better part of 18 years chasing our kids’ in-betweens.
Today, I find myself in another in-between … as I was yesterday, and the day before, the week before, the month before, and year before. Today, however, I’m resting in the in-between. Because, the alternative would throw away any disappointments, any “not-quite -perfect” in-between moments, and in turn, empty our lives us of any sustainable joys.
Here’s what I’m talking about. What if I took away life’s lowest of lowest? Would you be able to fully embrace the highest of highs?
One of my sons was on an antidepressant medication for a period of time. As a young adult, he made the choice to come off of this drug. He said to me, “Mom, it’s like my life is a piano keyboard. On the medicine, I can only feel the middle octaves. I want to feel the high notes, as well as the low notes.”
This, my fellow parents, is bravery. It is courageous to want to fully feel; it is brave to be unafraid of tomorrow’s in-between, even when yesterday wasn’t so easy.
Some days, my in-between feels complete. Other days my in-between feels a bit restless. I just don’t like it. Today, as Winston, our new puppy, sleeps at my feet, he reminds me of my in-betweens of yesteryear.
Life is full of ages, stages, and constant moments of the in-between. Take rest, my friends. Life is just, well, in-between.