Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How My Universe Unfolded

As this year comes to an end, I am reminded of how worried I was this time, last year, about all the changes that the coming days would bring.  Holly had moved into her own apartment, the twins would be moving out shortly, and Olivia was going to be starting Western Michigan University in the fall.  I was afraid of  letting go of the doorknob, as my universe unfolded, because I felt unprepared for what lay ahead on the other-side of the door, and melancholy about the love and laughter I would be leaving behind when I closed it.  I found myself standing on unfamiliar ground for the first time since I had started my family, and I felt very unsure of my new place in the world. Well, I am delighted to say, for all those facing similar prospects this year or in the future, that the universe did unfold, exactly like it was supposed to.
What I discovered over those next few months is that my relationships with my daughters did indeed change, but the changes that followed were really quite wonderful!  At first, I could only notice how lonely our house felt with Dave and I wandering around its empty rooms; the quiet accompanying us, wherever we went.  I had less work to do, but now, that didn't seem so important.  Slowly though, as the girls settled into their own new lives, Dave and I found ourselves getting many delightful phone calls from them, filled with all the news about the direction those lives were taking them in. I began to get many invitations to join them for lunches or dinners, and when I did, I found that I was no longer speaking to the little girls I raised, but, rather, to the grown women that were the result of all that raising.  I could just listen and enjoy, rather than advise or rebuke.  These women were no longer children I had to parent, but more like friends that I could just enjoy spending time with, and, quite often, they refused to let me pay for my meal, as well!! 
The distance between us seemed to give them a new perspective, too, and they seemed to view Dave and I much differently, than they had in the past.  They had always been appreciative of us, but now they were in a position to demonstrate that appreciation more, and they did so with great frequency.  Whenever Dave and I had health issues they would adjust their schedules to drive us to appointments, or, following my back surgery, pick up Olivia from college. Their visits home, especially when they would spend the night, were filled with happiness over a home-cooked meal, which, despite my obvious lack of culinary talent, would somehow taste wonderful to them. They each loved their new lives, but they also missed their old ones, and I found myself basking in the glow of their affections.  On those most delightful of all occasions, when they would all spend the night at the same time, the warmth from having the whole family together would seem to linger for days.  It was better than I could have ever imagined.
I realize now that I had mistaken the dependency of my children with their love for me, and that, in actuality, those are two very different things. I underestimated the children I had raised, and I think, perhaps, I had underestimated my own value to those children.  They are the results of Dave's and my own finest efforts, and I see pieces of the best of each of us, sparkling in them, like starlight on a summer night, whenever I look at the women they have become.  Had I realized all this last year, rather than worrying about what would happen when I closed that door, I would have embraced the opportunity to see what was on the other-side, much sooner...I have to remember that.
So here's to a New Year, in which you each let go of your own doorknob, and allow your universe to unfold.  I will leave you with those poignant words from Max Ehrmann in his essay "Desiderata," in hopes that we will all remember to keep them in mind, during those times we are facing change in our lives, during the coming year.

"And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

May you each have a Blessed and Happy New Year!


  1. Once again , you totally amaze me. Beautiful words. Wishing you all the best in 2012.

  2. OMG, what a wonderful, beautiful story, you are such an inspiration with your writing Amy, I am truly inspired

  3. I love it Amy! I have felt the same things as I have (and continue) to let my 5 children find their own ways in this glorious gift called LIFE! This passage is very comforting to think about when we realize that no matter what our own universe is constantly hanging....sometimes just a little - sometimes alot...but changing none the less! Thank you! Peace & Joy to you in 2012! Love Michele

  4. thank you all, for your kind words...and peace and joy to you each, as well.

  5. life goes on and sometimes it is so amazing all we can do is smile.You are so interesting to read Amy. Nancy Martin

  6. amy you are amazing, you've captured what almost every parent feels.....wait til they get married and you have grandchildren.. your whole world changes again.. then you look at these beautiful women you raised and see what amazing smart intelligent beautiful, parents they become as i see my daughter do ,, that bond tightens ...and you say to yourself... thank you God for the gift of my daughter(s) hAPPY NEW YEARS TO YOU DAVE AND THE GIRLS ..peace joy and hearts full of HAPPY and blessings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!patt oravec

  7. thumbs up

  8. Amy, another wonderful read! You have a knack of putting into words what others are thinking or feeling. Lovely!!!

  9. thanks again, for all the kind comments. reading them makes me feel very happy. love, amycita xoxo

  10. Really nice work Amy!

    1. thank you, michael...i appreciate your kind words.