The Italian Mama tells me that it’s a time for reinventing yourself (again) when a child leaves for college. She told me this when I had both girls suddenly in elementary school, when I had girls in middle school, when they left for high school, and now when I have one in college. You just keep inventing yourself, she says. Again. And you’ll do it again with each new stage of life.
It’s a hopeful feeling. It’s a strange kind of expansive hope. You begin to see possibilities for your children and for yourself. I’ve had to reinvent myself during COVID-19, and I know what this feels like and what could happen. It’s like that day I thought I might try gardening, just a little bit, and see how it feels to put on that identity. I kept giving myself permission to try this or that new thing, and before I knew it, I was knee-deep in weeds, then mulch, then ripe tomatoes. And then today, I’m elbow deep in Roma tomatoes, Serrano peppers, onion, limes, and cilantro as I make fresh salsa. So the new me? I’m a gardener, a harvester.
I’m also an organizer. I spent some time organizing all the yarn and crochet supplies from the daughter who left. She gave me the go ahead to “freshen up the bedroom” with some new bedding and freshly painted dressers and bookshelves. Perhaps I’m now one of those people who paints furniture. This I do with my youngest daughter who enjoys this kind of thing.
So, in this time of reinventing, you take the empty space and you ask what the new possibilities are.