Eras. They have their beginnings. They have their endings. History marks them. And while we mere humans passing through time are but specks on the timeline of history, our own lives are marked with the beginnings and endings of our own personal eras. Recently, I witnessed the end of an era in my own family. And, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I am not sure how I feel about it.
A Bit of Reference
My two daughters returned home for a visit over the holiday season [I hope you had a memorable, fun-filled holiday!], and we had a marvelous time. 🙂 We packed a fair amount of fun activities into the short time they were home, and as is always the case, their dad and I felt like our time together with them was too short. They have their own lives to lead, however – one resides in California, the other in Japan. Prior to the girls’ return home, plans were set in motion for them to start going through their bedrooms and closets to look at their belongings with critical eyes. “One day your dad and I will sell our (Wisconsin) home,” I told them in an email, “and it would be a good idea if you could start deciding what you’d like to keep, and what you no longer want.” That would make the inevitable a bit more manageable, was my thinking … not that we’re looking to move anytime soon. Since the girls always have kept their belongings in excellent condition, most of what they decided to cull from their wardrobes and collections could find a second life in someone else’s home. 🙂
Erin and Caitlin grew up on Star Wars. 🙂 I want to go on the record saying that while I hoped the girls would embrace the space fantasy that their dad and I always have enjoyed, it would have been okay with Tom and me if neither of the girls gravitated to Star Wars. I know there are many Star Wars parents whose children never became interested in the Skywalker Saga – but always hoped their younglings would. I can understand their disappointment. From a young age, both Erin and Caitlin immersed themselves in Star Wars – watching the movies over and over and over again, creating their own elaborate scenarios with the immense array of action figures [yes, we opened them!] and enjoying their own small collections of their favorite facets of the film franchise. By the time Erin left for college [in 2007; she was a film student at George Lucas’ alma mater], her deep affinity for Star Wars had waned [although she still considers herself a fan – just not as intense as she once was], but her younger sister still felt as strongly about it as ever. Whew! I still had Caitlin with whom to enjoy everything Star Wars. 🙂
Back to the Present
I walked into Caitlin’s bedroom a few days ago to tuck away the last of the clothes she had worn [and had been laundered, of course 😉 ] while home, and I was struck by how empty her room looked. Not only was she no longer residing within its darkened walls [her room is black], but there were gaping holes on the walls and ceiling where just a few days earlier some of what I thought were among her favorite Star Wars works of art had been. It hit me – with the force of a stun bolt – just how deeply I find myself affected by her desire to shed items linked to her past. To our past. We purchased all those posters together, at Fan Celebrations that gave me some of my most cherished mother/daughter memories. Was she jettisoning the memories as well? Was there nothing Star Wars she wanted to hold fast to – even for sentimental reasons – that would evoke the same warm and fuzzy feelings I experience when I gaze at a particular poster hanging in her room, or when I let me eyes settle on one of her maquettes – remembering walking through the crowded aisles at a Celebration, stopping to admire something that caught her attention, and the pleasure of being able to add it to her collection? While working her way through her room, my 24-year-old asked me if it bothered me that she was getting rid of such a big portion of her Star Wars collection. [I was touched she would be concerned about how I would react to what she was doing. 🙂 ] On one hand, it really didn’t bother me [and still doesn’t]. The posters, the collectibles – they all belong to her, and she always has had control over what to do with them. Keep them. Sell them. Give them away to a charity. It is – as it always has been – her decision. I told her as much. She must be free to determine what, if anything, she wants to keep – because it has merit to her, not to me.
I firmly believe – and stand behind – that sentiment. I always will.
Yet, if I am to be completely honest with myself, I find this ‘new reality’ saddening. Oh, I know she still likes Star Wars – thankfully 🙂 – but just as sure as I am about that simple fact, I know, too, that her interest no longer is as keen, as deep as it once was. She’s growing. She’s changing. With her growth and the changes associated with it, her interests are changing, too. As her mom, though, it is a bit heart-wrenching to watch this facet of change occur – because it involves something we both enjoyed very much. Together. Of course, I know it doesn’t mean we never can enjoy Star Wars together, just as Erin’s waning didn’t signal that. It just won’t be as big a part of her life. Which means it won’t be as big a part of our lives. I will be okay with that. With time. Over the course of the past few days, I have found myself on the jarring Star Tours ride of emotions – careening from one emotion to another as I work through moments of mourning, acceptance and knowing [just as Leia knew about Han], Caitlin has her own life to lead, and must follow the path that is meant for her [even if that means she won’t be as “into” Star Wars as she once was 😉 ]. One era is ending. A new one is beginning. [Thank the Maker, just as Han couldn’t leave the fold completely, neither will either of my girls. 🙂 ]
When Caitlin is completely done with her culling, it will be interesting to see what she has decided to retain. With Caitlin, it really is a matter of “less is more”, and I really should look upon this interconnecting chapter as nothing more than her endeavor to link two chapters of her life. Maybe all she needs is that one, maybe two or three, piece(s) that invoke the cherished memories she has stored away in her memory bank – that worthwhile link between her past and future present. 🙂 As a wizened Jedi Master put it: “Always in motion the future is.” I think that was Yoda’s way of saying one must strive to be adaptable. It’s a good lesson to always keep in mind. 🙂 Don’t get so settled in one’s ways – because change is inevitable.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. By the way, if you have any hints for dealing with your own children’s interest in our favorite Space Saga waning, I’d be happy to hear what you have to say. Please leave your thoughts in one of the comment boxes below. 🙂
Until next time,
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