Finding one’s new self in the wake of a major life event is what it is. It gets easier over time, but there will be the occasional day of feeling adrift at sea.
When I felt adrift in the past, I reached out to a variety of family and friends for support and reassurance. Thank God they were there. I thank every one of them for helping me to ride it out.
When I feel adrift now, I don’t reach out to anyone. I have learned to bear the weight alone. More importantly, I have learned to protect the kids from my struggles and concerns.
A facet of protecting them from my darker days is candid discussion of the intense pressures of adulthood framed in the context of childhood. When they see me functioning at a lower than normal energy level, I try to relate my current mood to one of their least happy moments and the moods they experienced at that time. I make sure to remind them that, with effort and time, the moods pass. I ask for their patience and I give them mine.
Mood management is a skill as critical to one’s quality of life as listening, observation, foresight or comprehension. No one can master them all, but having a decent grasp of each defines the well-adjusted individual.
Now, some of my acquaintances might ask just what the heck I would know about a “well-adjusted individual”. Not much, maybe, but my daughter tells me she once saw one riding a unicorn.