Guest Blogger: Claudia Hufham – Claudiareinvented
One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the beach every summer with my family. It was so much fun to be with my extended family in the same oceanfront house every year. We would have wonderful meals, put on “shows” for the grown ups and swim all day in the ocean. I also remember, more than once, while playing in the surf, I would get knocked down by a wave and go spinning and swirling under the surface as the water churned all around me. My first instinct was to panic and as I would try to get back to my feet another wave would come and knock me down again. Eventually, I would struggle to my feet and head right back out into the surf.
Wave on Wave
This year I feel like I’ve been stuck in that surf. Being knocked down over and over, as I try to get up; being tossed in the relentless unending waves. Losing my job, my benefits, my security, made me panic. But just like when I was younger and stuck in the surf, I realized that it wasn’t until I got past the panic, once I relaxed and just let go, I was able to get my head above water and back on my feet.
I can’t say that I was graceful while pulling myself up, as a child and I am pretty sure I haven’t been very graceful about it now. I suppose as long as the results are that I am on my feet, the way I got there isn’t all that important.
My life has actually been full of “letting go”. Letting go of my favorite stuffed animal when the dog chewed it up when I was a child. Letting go of my hope that life was going to be a musical, just like all the Rogers and Hamerstien movies I’ve watched. Letting go of friends that moved or pets that passed away. Letting go of the way things “used” to be. Letting go of dreams and relationships. And of course, the most painful one, letting go of my kids as they grew up and became more independent as each year passed.
Roots and Wings
A mother and father’s job is to teach their kids to not need them anymore. To give them both roots and wings. The saddest part is when they are successful and they have to let go.
I have found that sometimes letting go can be freeing and, in some cases, a relief. Like when you are in that relationship or a job that is holding you back. Other times, when you lose someone close or a pet, it is heartbreaking. Then there are the times that letting go is bittersweet. Like watching your kids grow up and fly away.
It Happened So Fast
I can distinctly remember the first time I realized that my daughter Kaylan was becoming an independent human being. The first time it really hit me and made me happy and sad at the same time.
She was in the first grade and one morning before school, she was adamant about picking out her own clothes. I had always let her wear what she wanted to once she started having an opinion about it. Even when she wanted to wear her princess dress that her Grandmother made her for Halloween every day. I encouraged her independence, but I usually laid out her clothes the night before so it wouldn’t be an issue in the morning. On this particular day she didn’t want me to see what she was wearing until she came into the kitchen and presented herself to me. She was beaming and I could tell she was feeling good about her choices.
Kaylan came into the kitchen and I looked up for a second to see her, but I hadn’t looked all that close. I was distracted by making breakfast or something. Just trying to get us all ready to get out the door. I did realize that she had on a flowered skirt and a polka dot sweater, but I was okay with that. You do you Kaylan! I smiled and told her that she looked beautiful and I meant that from the bottom of my heart! She was beautiful, no matter what she had on.
What I didn’t realize was that her skirt was on inside out and it was picture day! I don’t think there is a school picture of her that I love any more than I do that one. It just makes me happy. I was happy to let her take over getting herself dressed in the morning. I was proud of the fact that my first born was making her way towards independence and I was learning to let go a little.
It hadn’t really hit me until that point, that one day she would no longer depend on me for much of anything.
When Keegan was three, almost four, he wanted to take the training wheels off his bike. Kaylan was eight and still had the training wheels on her bike, so I said no; ‘”It’s too early; you need more time with them on.”
Keegan, being the smart boy that he is, went to his Dad and asked. Before I knew it, he was taking off down the road on two wheels. He had great balance and no fear. My fear was that he was growing up too fast.
Not long after that he was on a skateboard, roller blades and a snowboard. When he was in college, he was on the snowboard team and went to the National Snowboarding Championship. I attribute that to me letting him take his training wheels off at such a young age! (*wink*)
Just Let Go
As it turns out, I’ve had a lifetime of letting go, but yet it never gets any easier. I think I’ve finally figured out that what I need is to let go of what I thought my life was supposed to be like and make the most out of what it is. I should never be surprised by the waves that hit me, but learn to ride with them. It’s both scary and invigorating for me and has definitely been a learning experience. I am a work in progress, learning to let go of my idea of what “should” be and and finding my peace by accepting the way it actually is.
About the Author
Claudia Hufham is a blogger, mom to two grown kids and a Boxer/American Bulldog, who found herself looking for a new career at age 59. In her quest to reinvent herself and save her sanity, she started a blog. Her humor and down to earth story telling of her life lessons have led her to be featured on sites like Feedspot.com. You can read more from Claudia at Claudiareinvented. You can follow Claudia on her Instagram and FaceBook Page as well.
Claudiareinvented is featured on Feedspot as one of the Top 10 Women Over 50 Blogs