19 years ago, I was a young working mother at 28, independent and working for a prestigious company, until circumstances made me choose between family and career. After going through weighing my options, I chose to become a full-time Homemaker because I believed that family should come first if the situation would permit.
However, I had a wake-up call four years ago. It happened on a lazy weekday afternoon when my 10 yr. old daughter arrived from school. As an affectionate habit, I'd kiss and hug her, join her in her room, and help her settle down. It's great hearing how her day has been.
But instead of receiving reciprocal warmth, I got a glowering look plus a creased forehead for a bonus. Although I've been noticing her surly attitude whenever I approached her after school in the past months, such display of rejection sank only during that unsuspecting, lazy, afternoon.
After getting used to doing things together or simply being there for her 24hours a day, a sudden realization that I need to respect certain boundaries did put me off balance. 'Privacy and 'independence' suddenly become the words of the day. She wanted less of the 'intrusive' side of her mom. Her notebooks, slum books, even notepads gradually became confidential.
Gone are the days when she wrote loving notes on mother's day except when it has been required in class, and whispered 'I love you's' for no reason at all. Gone are the days when she wants to be cuddled, to listen to bedtime stories, to sleep through sweet lullabies only I could hum dotingly.
The person in front of me that lazy afternoon was neither an adolescent nor a child. I simply saw a daughter distancing herself from me. And with my son already submerged in his own world, seeing my daughter little by little wanting less of me can really hurt and make me rethink of my role as a Mother and Homemaker, and comparing then and now.
A Change of Direction
I guess with more time in my hand, I've slipped into a limbo, doing things I've been so used to doing but sensing there's no need for them.
With much encouragement from a long time friend and classmate, I was able to pull myself out of that dramatic lull. We did a little brainstorming, assessing some things I can and cannot do at past 40 years of age.
And my love and talent for writing was brought up. The work was the most appropriate and less demanding thing I can indulge in at that moment. The best part was I can work from home, earn a little with less disruptions to the demands of home life, and I learn and grow in the process.
Through this friend's prodding, I started to reconsider the idea and I discovered my fervor to share through writing still burns inside.
I pursued writing although I was apprehensive as I started out late in a competitive field.
Imagining myself as a 'Published Writer' elicited fear, uncertainty, and embarrassment. It is a title or label that can be intimidating and with inherent criteria that may require much to live up to. But I went ahead.
I did not rely on mere talent. I worked on acquiring additional knowledge by investing in books, endless search on the internet, and getting educated through correspondence courses. I practically walked on a self-help journey to reinventing myself.
Answers From Within
After close to five years of writing online and in print, I can say that I made use of that 'wake-up call' wisely without going through much drastic changes.
It is amazing how we could at times come up with a tremendous list of put-downs for ourselves. No wonder some people achieve so less in a lifetime despite being so talented, innately intelligent and with bountiful opportunities right before their eyes.
Sometimes, we need wake-up calls to push us and remind us of latent skills and forgotten passions which become our tools for reinventing our lives.
We all have a significant part of us that get muddled with the chaos of everyday tasks. It is a part of us that lies dormant in the midst of routine responsibilities.
And it is never too late to tap them, to work on them and to revive them.
I've also learned to listen to and recognize messages not readily discernible.
These days, I may be in for another wake up call because it is midlife for me and adolescence for her. There will be more periods of realization and crossroads ahead for both of us. We will have our own crisis to face and ways to understand and tolerate each other.
But before the next wake up call arrives, I am busy being a mom, a wife, and a Writer at the moment, too occupied to take my daughter's intermittent adolescent rejections seriously.
About The Author
Grace V. Planas, Filipino Chinese living in the Philippines, is a Homemaker and part time Freelance Writer. Formerly a Contributing Writer of Working Woman Magazine (Phils), most of her works are currently published online. She writes Poetry, Psychology/Self Help, informative as well as inspirational pieces. Some of her works can be read at TheWriter'sLife, Absolute-DebateDesk, HiddenTalent, The Techmage, Poetrypoem.com, The Ezine Dot Net, LongStoryShort, 1stHolisticLiving.com, Uselessknowledge.com and more.
She holds a degree in Accounting, has completed correspondence courses on Freelance Journalism and Adult Psychology. She has two teenage kids, a boy and a girl, and an extremely supportive husband.
She's been writing since she was in grade school and was a Staffer and later Literary Editor for her School's College paper.