April 25, 2017

My eldest daughter seemed to morph into a teenager overnight and I just about lost my mind.

I thought I was ready. I’d supported countless women and teens through this same transition and always thought of it as an exciting time of life, full of potential—which it is.

But I wasn’t ready for the waves of emotion that came up.

After years of this parenting thing under my belt, I thought I was pretty good at being present for change and transition. I’ve moved twice in the past 8 years, left more than one job, and ended unhealthy relationships.

But watching my daughter morph, suddenly my own teenage years came rushing back. Talking to a friend one day, I cried so long I couldn’t believe my body could possibly generate any more fluid.

I didn’t realize I had to look the end of this cycle in the face in order to move through it. I needed to purge the old feelings in order to join my daughter on the journey to something entirely new.

That emotional purge taught me so much about hidden thoughts flitting through my awareness, like:

  • Part of me is sad when I look into my daughter’s eyes because I’m no longer looking at a child.
  • Sometimes I’m afraid I won’t be ready for this next stage—will I be a good enough Mom?
  • Watching boys turn their heads to look at my daughter in “that way” is startling and hard—when did that happen?
  • How did I survive my own teenage confusion and make it safely through to adulthood?
  • Sometimes I’m afraid time is slipping away.

If you’re thinking “Carolyn, you’re a great Mom” or “this is a beautiful part of life” or “it will all work out,” I know these things—most days. I also know and trust in the value of being in the uneasy feelings when they come up—which is why I’m sharing mine with you today.

The paradox is, now that I’ve started to cleanse my tears and fears, I feel more ready for the changes in my family, myself, and this big wide world too.

Letting go and facing the end of a cycle isn’t always easy. New life will come but not if we can’t first acknowledge what needs to be released.

So I’m walking forward with shaky legs.

If you have a big transition going on in your life, I’m with you. You can walk forward into new territory without always being brave and strong. Never mind the wobble—it needs to be there.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear what’s got your legs shaking! What are you stepping into that feels right, but sometimes a little unsteady? We’re all in this together.

So much love,
Carolyn

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