I’ve missed it. I really have. So much so that tears came to my eyes.
My daughters are 25 and 28 and have long since left home. They first left when they went away to university at 18 and mostly only returned for short periods – never really permanently moving back home since.
Both live in Western Canada in Vancouver. Both for different reasons. The youngest has just finished up her second year of medical school. She had a month-long break before starting her next year of medical school. She was coming home during her break but managed to coordinate with the National Masters Artistic Swim meet. She has been a synchronized swimmer for the most of the past 14 years but the last time I saw her swim was 4 years ago.
The swim meet was being held in Québec City, Canada. Since this is within a day’s drive from where we live, John and I decided to make the trip to watch her swim and take in a bit of Québec City.
Québec City is a beautiful old city with a tremendous amount of history. John and I first visited Québec City 4 years ago when we celebrated his 55th birthday. Vibrant and romantic, we loved our weekend there the first time we visited. We had been dating for less than a year and we walked around holding hands exploring the city, its architecture, history, and outdoor cafes.
This time was very different. We spent several hours on the pool deck, slipping out for a few hours mid-day on the Saturday to show my daughter’s partner Old Québec. John went for a run in Québec City as part of his goal to go for a run in every city we visit while I took my daughter’s partner for a long walk around Old Québec. We all met up again for a pretty patio lunch and then headed back to the pool to watch my daughter’s next event.
John and I did have a nice dinner alone on Saturday evening while my daughter and partner went to a team dinner. We had a lovely dinner at a bistro with a retractable full-sized wall raised so that we had the feeling of sitting outdoors. We then went back to our Airbnb, stopping in first at the dépanneur three doors down to pick up a bottle of wine. We sat on the front porch drinking wine and people-watching in a residential area of Québec City. Very pleasant evening.
So – what was with the tears? Well, I realized how much I missed being “a Mommy” and the family life that we had. My oldest daughter was a competitive swimmer for 10 years and my younger daughter a competitive synchronized swimmer. We spent almost every day of our lives for 10 years at a swimming pool. Along with our family time, it was also our social life as well as our entertainment à la The Millionaire Next Door.
I have missed being actively involved in my daughters’ lives. They are adults now, creating a path in the world for themselves as independent, self-sufficient young women. I am proud of them but it leaves a big hole in my life.
Part of my resistance to retiring is that my identity has always been very heavily tied to three things; being a wife, a mother, and a businesswoman. When I lost my role as a wife almost 10 years ago when my first husband passed away, I went through a long grieving process of giving up that identity. But I did give it up and settled into a life as a middle-aged single woman. I will be eternally grateful that I met John and have embraced being a wife again over the past 2.5 years. I am still resisting giving up my role as a “Mommy” struggling to settle into my new role as a mother/mentor/adviser (but only when invited to). So, it was with mixed emotions that I sat in the stands watching my daughter in her swim competition. I was thrilled to be there… but sad too that this part of my life was forever gone.
I don’t think I am ready yet to give up my identity as businesswoman. I know that life is short and I don’t want to miss out on other things but it is hard to let go of this last piece of my previous three identities.
I will do my best to share with you my journey, struggles and insights to figure this part out.