Thinking of Shakespeare and Company, I decided to share this piece from 2015 once more.
Prompt: If you could have given yourself a snapshot five years ago of what your life is like now, what would the picture be of and how do you think you would have felt about it?
Five years ago, I had adjusted well to my oldest child being a college student three states away. My other two kids were in high school though the end was in sight. I so enjoy having the three of them around that I was not looking forward to the emptying of my nest.
My wise friend June was in the same stage of life. She told me that we had to figure out what made us personally happy and pursue it. What she understood was that our nests wouldn’t feel so empty if they were filled with what we loved other than our children.
And so I rekindled love: the love and friendship that my husband and I shared as newlyweds; my love of creating art or something like it; and my love of reading. While all my rekindled loves bring me joy, it is my reading that has surprised me with its voraciousness. Each night as I lay in bed it is not the stillness that has replaced footfalls on the stairs that I hear, but the adventures re-experienced with characters I’ve known forever or new escapades with those I have just discovered. I feel no loneliness in the wee hours as my husband sleeps peacefully by my side because I am kept company by historical figures and fictional friends page after page.
The greatest accomplishment of my life is motherhood. The times that my children are nestled under my roof are still my favorite times of all. But the other times–the quiet times of solitude and contented partnership have a magic of their own. Like all great stories, as life unfolds I am surprised and entranced by the plot twists, especially those which I could have not predicted such as an empty nest where a sense of emptiness is completely foreign to me.
Snapshots taken at an English bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris, France.
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