Giving thanks, empty nest-ness, and in praise of mothers…

In this season of thanksgiving, I’m reflecting on so much that I’m grateful for: three fine grown sons, family and friends all over the world, a healthy love relationship, physical vibrancy, and compelling work. It’s a good life, I know I’m lucky, and I’m thankful!

AND at moments these days I feel a deep sense of loss, missing the boys my sons were and all the daily rhythms and intimacies of mothering. My work with young musicians is perfect for this season of my life, inspiring and energizing me while I process this new “empty nest” reality. They say (whoever they are) that youth is wasted on the young. Maybe motherhood is, too. But the fact is, here in the groovy 3rd Millennium, women are becoming mothers within an ever-widening spectrum of ages. To get firmly grounded in life and self and then choose motherhood… delicious! I imagine this enlightened trajectory as I watch my students’ great moms in action.

Yes, one intriguing aspect of this season is that I’ve become an observer of what I was engaged in on all cylinders for so many years (and still am in a new way): the 24/7 reality of mothering. Children are extraordinarily beautiful to me these days, and mothers are, too. I’m privileged to offer a supportive word in moments that naturally present themselves: a little one’s meltdown in the grocery aisle, a mom’s spontaneous sharing of her struggle with some aspect of her child’s journey. Making a difference to them somehow makes a difference to me. Let’s face it, motherhood is a lifelong, heart-searing vocation. I hereby honor and salute all the wonderful mothers I know, including my own.

Meanwhile, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Take time to relax, reflect, have fun, and gather with people who know and love you. That’s my plan, as one son graces me with his presence at my Thanksgiving table, bringing two brothers who are far from their mom, and the other two feast in Connecticut while on a national tour, in the bosom of dear friends who feel like family. Ah, beautiful life!