Monday, April 25

menopause, empty nest, and midlife crises

No, the title of this blog post (thank Jesus) does not refer to me. It refers to the book I just finished reading: The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonja Sones.

A bit of background: I have a curious method for selecting the occasional new release novel from my library. I peruse the selections available and, contrary to common wisdom, I judge the books by their cover. I look for the cover that leaps off the shelf, provoking my curiosity to delve within the pages. I look for a cover that is unique, provocative, and eye-catching. And that is the book that comes home with me.

On my last visit to the library, Sonja Sones's work came home with me. And it was intriguing, most notably because it chronicles a stage in life that is rather opposite to the one I currently inhabit.

It tells the story of a woman who is a poet, is enduring the full wrath of menopause, is suffering the suspicion of her husband's possible infidelity, and is coming to terms with the concept of an empty nest, as her only daughter prepares to leave home for college.

The thing that grabbed me at first glance, however, is the fact that this novel is written entirely in verse. Now, it's not your average "Roses are red, violets are blue" variety of poetry. It's lovely lyrical rhythm and, let's be honest, who doesn't love the SHORT chapters of a poetry book?

I almost returned Hunchback after noticing that it was in verse. I'm so glad I didn't. It's a thought-provoking read, especially for those of us women who are just getting married and beginning to form our families. It gives us a perspective from the future. The author captures this perfectly in the following image: An older woman recalls being a young mother, playing with her daughter at the park and watching the ducks along the lake, noticing the older grandmas. Now, she herself is the older woman, wistfully longing for her youthful energy and for her daughter to be small again.

As a young mother, I am thankful for the reminder to enjoy my little boy. We sometimes can miss the current stage of life in wistfully wishing either for the future to arrive faster, or for the past to return. The only day we have for certain is the present day. Instead of wishing my boy was a baby again, or longing for the day he is potty-trained, obedient at first command, or eager to eat all types of foods, I need to cherish the level he's at right now. Otherwise, I'll miss it entirely. And these are days, mommies, that we never get back. Your child will never be just like he or she is right now ever again.

Cherish your kiddo. Hold him or her close and love them just as they are.
Love yourself, and be forgiving. You are what you have to work with. Baby steps to perfection, always counting on the Lord's mercy and grace.

And above all, be grateful. You never realize the full extent of the blessings you have until they are gone.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. I needed to hear the part about putting away wistful longing to be at some other stage with the boys. As always, beautiful, Gabi.


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