When you’re personality is defined by parenthood, it is easy to forget who you really are. That is what was so hard about my nest emptying. The kids were gone and so was my identity. Or so I thought. Thankfully, my life is full of highly positive people who are helping me remember I was never bored before I had children. Nor will I be in the future.
And, they have me looking forward to the future. Remember when we were little and we’d dress up and have tea parties. The guys reading this blog are saying, “no” and I say to them, you’ve seen your sister or daughter in this moment. Those tea parties were the female gift of being able to temporarily leave reality and enjoy the world as they wanted it to be. For this particular story my friend Alex would be my tea party partner.
Now that we are getting older, we do a reverse tea party. Instead of tea, we returned to a world we knew before anybody could say the word carbs, triglycerides, and blood pressure and bring terror to our eyes. We had soul food! Red Kool Aid, fried chicken, grits and waffles! Because it was a “tea party” our arteries didn’t waver, and I think our cholesterol may have dropped a few digits. Anyone listening in our conversation would never have guessed that she is a doctoral student and I am almost done with a third masters degree.
The conversation went something like this:
Alex: My sister says adults don’t drink kool aid.
Me: (Noticing the gray in Alex’s bangs and thinking I should touch up my hair too. ) Clearly she’s wrong!
From there we chatted about hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and giggled so much kindergartners would have been disgusted. I know the waitress was probably thinking y’all need to stop drinking my kool aid and leave this table.
Eventually we left a packed restaurant, apparently our love of soul food is a common trait among adults. As we left I handed Alex a piece of gum. She said, “My sister said adults don’t chew gum!” Giddy from the red kool aid stupor I thought to myself, “Somebody needs to slap Alex’s sister.” I actually said, “She’s probably never had a teacher with stinky breath.” We left holding our guts and giggling.
It was that moment that I saw the beginning of the relationships I used to envy in older people. If you watch them, they are at times inappropriate, can be moody, and dress funny. But dang they look like they’re having a lot of fun when they’re together. That was the beginning of realizing who I was and who I am to become. Now, I am no longer fill in the blank with one my children’s names mom and getting to know who she is. So far I think I like her.