When my First was born, he needed me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I had purpose. My arms were full. He needed me for a couple years, and then not so much. But by that point I had number two. The pregnancy was fantastic. I had my purpose as long as he was inside of me. After he as born, that purpose slipped for a while. He didn't need me as much as the First. But I was still needed.
Finally, I had my Third. I held on to him for as long as I could, because I knew he was my last. But now he is in elementary school and my arms are empty. What is my purpose? Who am I now that there is no one who needs me like that anymore? How do I redefine myself as a woman? Somehow, being Mother to three school age children seems smaller than Mother to an infant or toddler. My arms are empty and they don't know what to do. I find myself wanting another child, but that can't happen now.
So what do I do? I knit, crochet, scrapbook. I clean house and cook meals. I get involved with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I throw birthday parties and classroom parties, and for a while I have purpose. I have a value. Then there are these moments of inactivity and silence. Moments when my arms are empty and my hands and mind are idle. I begin to feel that old familiar melancholy of insignificance.
My mother tells me I do too much. I am involved in too many activities. That I need to slow down. She has seven children and her arms were full for a very long time. Though her arms have been empty for more than 20 years, she has reached that point in her life where she is ready and accepting of that silence and inactivity. She is confident in who she is as a woman. My mother no longer understands that by my involvement and attempt at constant activity, my mind does not have time to dwell on the emptiness of my arms. When I am at my busiest I can forget that feeling of being unimportant.
I may have spent more than half my life feeling insignificant, but I found purpose in being a mom. I know that at some point I will accept life as a mother of grown children and feel confident in who I will be. For now, I must try each day to create my own purpose.