Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Flipping the Dog by Teri Foti

                 I would like to start by saying that no dogs were harmed in the writing of this blog.  What I am referring to, flipping the dog, is a Yoga term that is used for a position that is very difficult for me to do.  In Yoga, you start out in a “V” position called, downward facing dog, hands and feet on your mat. Flipping the dog is when you move one of your legs toward the outside of your body and are supposed to end in a kind of back bend position, supported by your legs and one arm. I guess what I don’t like about this move is that I am never sure if my supports, my legs, will hold me, and I cannot see where I am going during the flip.  I compare this to the empty nest that I have experienced in the past year. I was afraid of this new chapter in my life because I was unsure that my supports would hold me, and I had no idea what lie ahead.
                I am a mother of 2 children.  Will, my oldest and only son, is 20. Maggie, my baby, and only daughter is 19. Both are about to finish their sophomore and freshman years in college. When they were 2 and 3 1/2 years old, I decided to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom.  I always knew that this indeed was a privilege and calling on my life by God.  So, for the next 15 years I nurtured my nest and took care to tend to my family’s needs. I can truly say it has been one of the best seasons of my life. For this reason, I was fearful what lie before me with both of my children at college. As I sent Maggie on her new journey, I knew that I would have to find a new purpose. I was also not sure how my one and only of 24 years, Ken, and I would get along without kids in the house.  You know what I mean.  But I found out that God is never finished with us.  No matter what stage of life we are in, He is always here and more than ready to lead us into the next part of our life.
                  This is of course is my story, and I feel as if I need to share some of the ways I coped with this new chapter in  my life.  First of all, nurture your relationship with your husband now.  I know that we mothers tend to put our children’s needs ahead of all things, and sometimes that is necessary. But we, as women, need to realize that our lives began with our mates, and if we both live long enough, will end with our mates.  Have a “date night”, weekend away, or maybe a lunch for just the two of you so that you will not forget why the two of you fell in love.  If you are a single parent, nurture yourself.  Make yourself a priority by scheduling alone time, a “girls night out”, and getting involved in women’s ministry opportunities at your church.  All of these supports will help you stand when your life takes a turn.  Also, find women who are now empty-nesters. Find out what worked for them and what didn’t work.  I got a later start on motherhood, so I have an awesome group of friends, some who are grandmothers now.  They helped me through some difficult days of missing my children.  I have not gone through empty nest perfectly.  I have faced a bout of depression, self-pity, and even went through a rough spot in my marriage.  But I can tell you one thing, God is sooo faithful.  Ken and I have found out that we can now travel more. We don’t have to be home at any particular time.  We can choose what we will do with our time together, because our children are not at home. For something I was so afraid to experience, has turned out to be one of life’s greatest blessings.  Oh, and by the way, I “flipped the dog” the other day.  My two legs did support me, and it didn’t matter that I could not see where I was going. I made it just fine.

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