Marching Forward

March 1st. Already.

This is a transitional month, a long-awaited month, a count of days that will see an evolution from the biting morning air to warmer and more inviting hours. This is one of my favorite times of the year, and I have always found March to be aptly named.

It’s a time to get up. A time to get going.

Nose to the grindstone? It’s part of my upbringing, and an approach that has served me well. Besides, it isn’t like I haven’t been able to escape on occasion, trading my flat-syllable mother tongue for another – more musical, and more literary.

And when that happens? A respite. Gone are the worries of scratching for a buck and single parenting. At least – for a little while.

Thriving

But the truth is – I thrive on a demanding schedule, goals that stretch me, and running on all cylinders. I adore the energy that is created from forward movement, and by the time March hits, I’m anxious to embark on new paths with all the resolve I can muster. And of course, the work ethic I’ve come to depend on as I dare to consider stepping into the future. A warmer future.

And lately, a different one.

Tweaking

I am a tweaker. A tweaker of dreams, of philosophies, of language, of behavior. Certainly I’ve tweaked my work life; adaptability is a critical skill that isn’t to be underestimated.

Yet it’s more than that. My tweaking has to do with challenges and curiosity, with the natural outgrowth of learning from experience, and the need to adjust my reality as physical, logistical, and financial limitations present themselves, and (happily) release their grasp enough to explore alternatives, and set new goals.

But the past seven months have been all about my son. May I say that again? All about my son.

While a few trailing items remain on my plate (on his behalf) – for the most part, I’m done. I can begin to recalibrate.

Whatever Comes Next

The role of solo parent wasn’t a choice in my life; it was a consequence. I don’t regret a minute of it, but I do long for missing parts of myself. I’ve said as much before. I imagine I’ll say it again.

And now it is March. Three months until the pressures of schooling and driving are over. Three months until I can take a measure of freedom I haven’t had in 20 years. For the writer. For the woman. For the nourishment of my own dusted-off dreams. Simple dreams. My dreams. And they still want out.

What single parent – or any parent for that matter – doesn’t want to believe in “life after children?”

Yes and No

As a taciturn teen slammed the car door this morning, I remembered that it isn’t over yet. My son’s stresses remain as he waits to receive decision letters and scholarship notifications, knowing that he aimed high, with no guarantees of success.

My “yes” to his weekend partying sits in recognition of the “no” that is part of his day: no to sufficient sleep, no to spending more time with friends, no to relaxing his standards, no to ignoring the weight of his workload, no to discounting the worries he chooses not to share with me.

And these days, I respect his need for quiet. He is not a child; I do not ask.

Single Parenting

My life has been about my sons. And not.

I never removed myself from the working world, of necessity – and also intentionally. But I rearranged its puzzle pieces constantly in order to be the full-time parent, the one parent. That began to change two years ago, and then reversed again as the infrastructure required for my younger son broadened, rather than scaling back.

Over the past month – more than ever – I’ve loosened the apron strings. Clearly, it is time – not only for him, but for me.

Parenting Catch-22

In fact, that same young man has been encouraging me to go out, to pursue the activities that I enjoy, to see friends – even, to date. It’s a turn of events I didn’t expect, and one more indicator of his maturing.

It is also a reminder that soon enough I will be able to focus on personal and professional goals more fully. That includes the possibilities of a richer social life, assuming that I haven’t aged out of the market.

You could say that parenting is all about planned obsolescence. But as it unfolds, there is relief and there is fear. It is, after all, one more layoff to contend with. And for me, part of the transitional process that has always been my favorite time of year. A time for marching forward.


© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. I too love these transitional times of year. There’s something about the changing seasons that reminds us that we should also change. We should grow and evolve and bloom. It’s a very gentle (and sweetly scented with hyacinth blooms) kick in the pants. After the stagnation of winter the idea of a nice brisk March is vastly appealing.

  2. I’ve never thought of the empty nest as yet another laying off. I love that perspective, especially as a daughter whose mother struggles with being the parent/friend rather than the parent/parent.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I’ve found a new love for March, as I never paid much attention to it’s meaning until now. Even my horoscope today said that I am to embark on a new beginning but I also need to take action to see the progress. I like it!

    P.S. Reading your post about single-parenting reminds me so much of my mom. We (the kids) sometimes have to remind her that she has a life of her own, and that we’re big kids now. I say, there’s no expiration date for you to enjoy life and pursue your dreams. So march forward indeed. :)

  4. Loved this! As much as I love a good vacation, like you, I thrive on a demanding schedule and feel a little lost when my load is light. Marching forward is such a wonderful thing to look forward to, no matter how stuck I may feel at times. As for the empty nest as another laying off, I’m far from ready!

  5. Solo parenting is a tough job in deed. Some do it and they are actually married! As hard as it is it saddens me to think of it coming to an end. Mine are not as close to
    the end” as yours. I have a senior, a sophomore and twins in 8th grade. I know the high school years zip by lightning fast, though, so already feel it coming. How did this happen? Just yesterday they were so tiny. Now they are bigger, but need just as much, but in a different way. I think it will be a huge let down from being needed so much to essentially not. I guess we will see when the time comes. One cannot always predict the feelings that accompany a milestone such as this. Could I have ever predicted the grief that has been as close as clothing for a couple of years now that came with my divorce? Heck, I didn’t even know what grief was! Some things are better not fully anticipated right? We wouldn’t leave our homes each day!

    Then theres dating. Ugh. Who would of thought? Anyway, good luck and have fun with all of it!

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Internet problems yesterday – or I would’ve responded to these comments. And yes! It’s slow and quick, all at the same time, Michele. (Oh that college app & financial aid process… more on that one. Be still my rapidly beating anxious heart!)

      And you said a mouthful on grief. For some of us, divorce is the grief that keeps on giving. No such thing as closure, ever.

  6. I have to admit, typically I feel energy begin to flow at this time of year, but this year I feel only dread. I’ve grown accustomed to the slumber of winter, the quiet schedules, the sitting and resting and cozying by the fire. I crave it in copious amounts. I’m going to have to find a way to wrap my life with it this summer. I’m not out of the woods yet, still a long way to go!

    But I also feel some enthusiasm trickling in your words. And I love how it’s there. It’s infectious!

  7. There is a lot of verve in your writing — and hope! And THAT is a wonderful thing to behold. I can understand the anxiety, however.

    It’s funny, I know I’ll grieve when my son leaves for college — but I sometimes wonder if I won’t say au ‘voir to the older one with a big sigh of relief. Teenage girl. ‘Nuff said.

  8. I’m usually dreading March only because I have experienced some very heavy and sad events during this month.
    On another note, I like feeling productive and sometimes a demanding schedule harnesses my energy into accomplishing goals I’ve set for myself. The demands make me feel alive.

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