Ruminations and the Wall Street Journal

Where do you get your emotional support?
Today I found mine ruminating with the cows and in the Wall Street Journal.

This morning, walking Wesley, we stopped and watched the cattle ruminating.  And I realized I was ruminating.  RUMINATING on EVERYTHING I have done wrong as a mother over the past 28.5 years.  I look back and see what I could have done and I see that  I am too late in seeing.

Too late to do this and too late to have done that. I failed this child and this child and this child and this child and this child, and the other child. I could have been fun. I should have been patient.  I could have, I would have, I should have… The hammer of would have, should have and could have was doing a jig on my heart.

I KNEW IT!  And. I. Could. Not. Stop!

“Gwen, you are in a downward spiral and to no avail.  It will change nothing.  Spiral up, Gwen, spiral up!”
“But, oh, that time….”

Do you know where the word ruminate comes from?  It has to do with cattle and their crazy digestive process.   Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svw5KA8YlAA
Crazy awesome and exceedingly disgusting.

Basically, the cow swallows the grass whole and then after a few laps around the stomach (rumen) it comes back up a cud for the cow to chew again. So ruminate means (of a ruminant) chew the cud.

synonyms: think about, contemplate, consider, meditate on, muse on, mull over, ponder on/over, deliberate about/on, chew on, puzzle over; formal cogitate about
“we ruminated on the nature of existence”

HECK YEAH!  I was so ruminating on the nature of existence! 

I get home and sit down with the WSJ while I am brewing my green tea.  What kind of green tea?
Wild BITTER!
Bitter tea to go with the state of my heart!

After reading about imaginary war games played by the US and NATO military (WOW!), the Casanova exhibit showing at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth (now through December 31, 2017), Kushner and Russian stuff, some editorials from indignant GOP writers (I am trying to understand the other), I discover:  “A Survival Guide for Parents Now That Your Child Is Off to College.”    WAAAALAAAAA!!!!!

Unexpected emotions. CHECK! Happiness. CHECK!  Grief. CHECK!
And the coup d’etat  (and by that I do not mean a sudden and decisive action in politics, especially one resulting in a change of government, but a sudden and decisive change in my understanding.  Hmmm, maybe I need another French word here.)  I find a paragraph that exactly describes my morning rumination.
WSJ: What are some of the emotions that empty nesters typically feel?
Ms. Boykin: The empty nest kicks up much more than just sadness or loneliness. For many parents, there is also guilt about what they wish they had, or hadn’t, done while raising their child. This can range from specific negative interactions along the way to a broad sense of not having done enough to prepare them for the “real world.” And they can feel a great deal of anxiety and worry about how their child will fare in a new environment.  Parents can also feel excitement, pride, joy, and relief as they get a glimpse of a life that doesn’t center around kids and their goals all the time.

I am a bundle of guilt and grief. Oh, it is not all about the empty nest, there are other things going on that have set me up for the empty nest experience to be magnified, but the WSJ nailed it.  The exact discussion I had been having with myself.

There is more than empty nest going on.  I am also grieving other familial relationships, but the WSJ gave it a name.  

 

I was not instantly over it.  But the name helps.  I can separate these emotions from the other stuff and deal with it.   Misery loves company is how the old saying goes and I am relieved to know I am not alone in dealing with this insanity.

And my nest isn’t empty yet.
Poor Jubilee, I hope I don’t try to make up for 28 years of failure in the next six years with her.  Poor, poor Jubilee.

Here is to all of us dealing with emotions whose sources we maybe have not recognized yet.  Here is to finding healthy ways to process those emotions.

This afternoon, while I wait in the endless line of parents picking up middle schoolers, I will ruminate on the human beings my children are in spite of me.

I will ruminate on their resilience and varying degrees of grit.  I will forgive myself for 28 years of failure.  (It probably won’t stick, but I will start and start again.)  I will focus on getting through the ride home and finding swim gear without any drama from myself or Jubilee.  (PLEASE, GOD, PLEASE!  Wow, that was dramatic!)  I will exchange the fungicide at the feed store and see what the afternoon brings.
YEE HAW!  Gwen
PS  It was VERY good for me to go back through photos and remember that it was not all bad.  I love my little family.  I am so very thankful.  SPIRALING UP!

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