Grief & Grieving

Children, Menopause & A Mother’s Heart

by Magnolia on January 3, 2015

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This is a reprint of a post I wrote approximately 3 years ago when I was blogging for Estroven during the Sleep Challenge Campaign.  

It was back to school for my newly minted teen daughter this week. After one very busy summer, she packed it in and headed back to the classrooms for her last year of middle school.  It’s hard to believe that my “baby” will soon be a high school student, and yes, I’m going to say it: where did all the years go?

It seems like a just few days ago she was sleeping next to me in my bed, hanging out with me during the evenings, and calling me on my cell phone if I was out of her sight for more than half an hour.  Now we’re all about her friends, make-up, clothes, school activities, and yes, hormones.

She’s always been a level headed little girl who has no time for nonsense; a gifted, straight-A-honor-roll-student, who finds academic pursuits far more interesting than the shenanigans of boys, and the silly girls who chase them.  So it shouldn’t surprise me then, that as she transitions solidly into her teen years that she has become somewhat distant toward me.

It shouldn’t.  But it does.

I imagine a sociologist would find the relationship dynamics between a pubescent adolescent and her menopausal mother quite fascinating.  I find them disconcerting.  Letting go of your children is very much like dying.  You know one day it’s going to happen, but there’s still a part of you that holds out for the possibility that you just might be the one who escapes it.

I think this is why menopause is such a powerful life transition for women. It’s the dress rehearsal for the big kahuna, a very real and present reminder that life has an expiration date, and that there are no do-overs.  I haven’t met a woman yet who isn’t pensive about it all either.  I mean, how can you not be?  Your womb is dying, you’re no longer able to bring new life into this world, and the life that you have brought in, is getting ready to leave you.

My daughter and I have been practicing for her departure for quite a while now.  Although I think I’m far more aware of the separation process than she is, particularly when I’m standing outside her bedroom door knocking for God only knows how many times again that day.  I feel vulnerable and shut out.  And not just by that stupid door.

I know I need to let her go, and I will.  I’ve been doing that since the day she was born.  But it doesn’t mean I have to like it, because I don’t.

Good thing I love cats.

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