- my idealism and youth as I enter middlescence and question my identity
- the diamond on my wedding band that I’ve worn for almost twenty years
- my reproductive system; to prevent squamous cells from turning sinister
- the original alternator on my vehicle that hasn’t been changed since we drove my new vehicle off the lot
A creature of habit I splashed cold water on my face this morning as I reached for my wedding rings; aligning the bands. It was then that I discovered the diamond was gone.
When under duress I am not the type of person that “freaks out.” I methodically searched the areas where a diamond and prongs could have dislodged. But between work and home and everywhere in-between; the search was in vain.
It is vanity that makes me search for the diamond; just as it is vanity that makes me cling to my youthful ideals knowing that those years are behind me.
I mourn them as I think of the “would’ve, could’ve, should’ves” of my life; wondering if different choices would change the trajectory I currently am on to a more prosperous one.
While driving home from our older boys’ final high school marching band competition, my vehicle began to lose power downhill on the steep grade of the Grapevine. The hubs watched the voltage decrease and I quickly searched for the nearest auto parts store as we entered the outer city limits. After coasting six miles we had enough “juice” to arrive at the auto parts store as the alternator finally shut off my vehicle.
I remembered the advice of parents as I ran after toddlers while my husband was deployed. “Enjoy this time now because it goes by in a blink.”
It seemed so cliche and I recalled dismissing them as I stayed up all night with a colicky baby or fretted over potty training, first words and preschool. My priorities were to listen to Mozart, read board books, join baby Gym classes and socialize with other new parents.
I voraciously devoured parenting books to learn how to be a mother; lamenting the unexpected loss of my own mother in 2003.
As I undergo the hormonal changes of middlescence my sons parallel me in adolescence. Their testosterone peaks as my moods ebb; struggling to find balance and common ground. All of us feel misunderstood. As my sons mature I now stand on the precipice of rediscovering the person I was, before the hubs and kids.
I’ve slowly come to realize that I am not that person; that marriage and motherhood have altered my identity.
I am reminded of what changes life can bring as I wait for my upcoming surgery. My reproductive system has served its purpose and it now turns against me.
I watch as my eldest is about to step off into the next phase of his life. I remembered the hopes and dreams I once carried at his age. Life was an open book and its pages were still unwritten.
My own book has many earmarked pages. Some chapters have closed. I am at a loss for words.
As the alternator died; so did our battery charge and my cell phone. I quickly texted the group of moms who were driving home to greet the five charter buses carrying our 225 member marching band.
“I’m not gonna make it.”
It was my senior’s final homecoming and I had coordinated logistics between several parties to help make it happen. But my mind quickly returned to the task at hand to replace the alternator. I had to let it go.
The hubs muttered under his breath. He did not bring any tools. I had no words and I pondered whom to call first with the remaining 6% battery my mobile device had left. I held my automobile club card in my hand, ready to dial the toll free number.
And then the phone rang. My girlfriend, ten miles ahead, had pulled over. She and her husband decided to backtrack the ten miles to offer tools and to transport the senior portraits that were to be given at the homecoming at the high school. The moms in my text, on various miles on their journey, also offered their assistance and the ones already home offered to take my sons home. My mother-in-law agreed to pick up our boys, representing our family upon the group’s arrival. Soon after my phone died.
The alternator got replaced within the hour and we were on our way. I realized that my vehicle is symbolic of my family; the mode of transport since 2002. It couldn’t die because with its demise, it would symbolize the changing dynamics of my nuclear family and the endless road trips and memories associated with it. It has sentimental value that I am not ready to part with.
My fellow parents took pictures and videos of the police escort and grand homecoming that awaited our kids back home. My sons quickly spotted their grandmother with her foam “Fight on” sign; grinning at her spirit.
Relationships. They are everything. The quality of these relationships determine how prosperous we are.
My vanity made me lose sight of this. For large retirement accounts for financial stability. For material things that represent my success. For titles that tell me I’ve made it. For accolades that affirm my time was spent well; that it was worth it.
As the hubs fixed the alternator in the parking lot I remembered the years when he washed and waxed his first car; proud that he maintained and cared for it. I quietly watched him work. It had been one of the things that drew me to him all those years ago. Through thick and thin we have one another and it is the years we have between us that keep us bound. Diamond or no diamond.
I’ve realized I am not alone in my journey of what lies ahead. The friends who walk with me on this middle road of life and are transparent with their own; we are hormonal together.
The moms on my text continued to keep me in the loop of the status of our band’s arrival home. And the girls who happily read words with me insist on providing meals during my recovery period in December. When another mom got unexpected health news, she reminded me that our reproductive systems have given us beautiful kids and it’s time to let them go; to reinvent ourselves and find what makes us happy.
Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Our friendships are priceless.
I called the insurance company and filed the property claim for my ring and realized, my policy had not been updated since 2002. I’m slowly coming out of my mourning. It’s time to re-engage, to let things go and to update my status.
In acknowledging things that are lost, new things can be found. I am finding myself and my words. My book is open.