children, no grandchildren, no major disappointments or regret ; no parents anymore with expectations or advice admonishing me to slow down and drive carefully. It felt good to finally be in the driver’s seat with no baggage to speak of. I went far, far away with my new man and new life. So far away, I got lost.
It was all I could do; hang on and cope, one day at a time, one mile marker after the next, until suddenly the traffic thinned, the road opened up and my life was more history than mystery.
It was tough raising a family in the midst of my own identity crisis. It’s tougher still seeing it all play out again from the back seat; tough watching my grown children driving with abandon until they run out of gas and dreams and direction. Watching my children lose their way, fight their own battles, begin again with a new tank of gas and resolve is by far the most frightening, amazing, frustrating and rewarding part of being a parent.
I had no idea I’d be a parent this long; a lifetime; their lifetimes. Without my children, I’d probably still be a child myself, mired in self-indulgence and self-importance. I needed them as much as they needed me.
The ride has been more like a rollercoaster than the flat stretch of interstate that carried me home last Friday. Escaping the pull of gravity at the bottom of a 6-second two hundred foot drop is a lot like learning to live without fear, learning to love without condition. It's not for the faint of heart.
When it’s all said and done, I’d still opt for the rollercoaster over the straightaway every time.