Yesterday I wrote about fixing the cracks in ourselves, especially those that emerge when 'mistakes are made.' But some cracks can't (and really shouldn't) be fixed. Every single thing eventually cracks and falls away, making room for something new to grow.
Families outgrow what we have been--kids grow outgrow old interests, families get bigger and smaller, we leave an old house or town or school. I'm feeling that in my family as my firstborn leaves the nest. The circle of our family is broken. The cracks are not going to heal or repair the same family unit. We are changing. As a family, we have two important tasks (and perhaps you can relate to this in your own way?).
First, we need to grieve the old family circle, allowing ourselves to mourn, to feel the disappointment and loss and discomfort and whatever else comes up. This frankly sucks. We are trying to talk to each other and be supportive, but it's hard. It's tempting for me to skip over it, getting busy with something new that will distract me. But I know that won't help. Grief is important and just has to be felt, no matter what kind of loss inspires it.
Our second task is to open to the new circle that is forming. The old is gone, the new is not fully understood, and we just need to open to what is beginning. This is most visible for the one who moved away and is starting a new life. But even back here at home, we're starting new as we learn to connect with each other in new ways, to stay connected with our fledgling in a new way, and to adapt to this smaller and larger family sphere.
This has always been happening, since I became pregnant. It will always be happening, as our youngest moves away, when they return home with good friends and partners who temporarily and permanently join the family circle, when they one day maybe have kids who join the family circle, and when we older ones leave the family circle and it dissolves into the next version.
For now, our task is to grieve and feel and love each other. The new circle is already forming, slowly and organically.
As a mom (to 2 teenage sons), wife, and person in the world, I have been on a long imperfect journey. I have made many mistakes, but with mindfulness, emotional reflection, and lots of support I have learned enormously from those mistakes.