Last week Josh went up to visit his sisters for spring fling. He left on Wednesday night. Thursday morning I got up at my usual time, 7am and began the day. I work out Thursday mornings so I got into my workout attire, came downstairs, walked the dog, posted a blog, sat down for breakfast, coffee and the daily read of the NYTimes but something was different.
It is not as if Josh comes down and has a leisurely breakfast with me but it was that he was not there. He did not come down to say good morning, take a look at the paper, grab a cup of coffee and have a quick convo about the day ahead. Instead Fred came down and we had a brief convo about the day and off he went and there I sat. The silence was deafening.
I have been thinking about that moment since it happened. Over the past six years I have slowly rebuilt a new career for myself. The first angel investment I did closed in June 2007 with Curbed Media. I made a conscious decision to start down a new path for several reasons. I looked at where our kids were in their lives and realized that in seven years we would be empty nesters. The amount of time that I devoted to them from running errands to making dinner took up significant hours. Those hours were slowly going to be diminished to a very small percentage of my day over the next seven years. I wanted to start filling that time so when seven years were up I would have my days filled with other things that I enjoy. I do enjoy building businesses and so the path I chose made perfect sense.
So what have I been thinking about is that the path I took was to make sure I had balance in my life between fulfilling my own intellectual curiosity yet being available whenever for our kids and family. It has worked beautifully. Yet the other morning I thought now I can do whatever I want. I do not have any intention of stopping what I do from angel investing to the Womens Entrepreneur Festival to blogging but I do not really have to find balance anymore. I can be completely unbalanced. Certainly I am lucky to be in that position but last Thursday morning it was a strange realization. I thought I could just blow off that meeting and go to the art show. I could just sit on a couch and read a book. I could jump on a plane and go to Europe for a few days. I could, I could, I could. I was letting myself dream big.
I might have prepared for the year when Josh becomes the last kid to leave the nest (he has one more year left at home) but I am not sure anything prepared me for the thoughts that seemed to ramble around my head. The good news is that I have not lost that sense of self that I felt seven years ago that I got back six years ago. Being a mother is one of the most rewarding incredible experiences. Women that are beginning to sit on publicly traded boards or women who are starting their companies or women that are CEOs of major companies or women who change the world through non-profits or women who get involved with their kids schools is personally rewarding yet the part about being a mother is still prominent in our lives no matter what. The feeling of our children leaving the nest and our job being shifted when that person is no longer under your roof is something that hits home for all of us in different ways. It is beginning to hit me and I am thrilled that we raised our kids with wings to soar from our nest but it is still a very very very strange feeling.