Still Relevant

Pixabay, insomniaI wake up at 11:45 pm, 1:20, 2:55, and 3:39 a.m.  Each time as I read the numbers, I beg for the clock to race to 5 a.m.

A restless sleep causes me to hear the murmurings of doubts.

Had I been a good enough mother? Was I relevant now as I aged out of parenting? Did I make a difference and do I have a reason for being?

Bad nights like this allow my devil self to bicker with my angel self. We empty nesters have time to ponder our younger lives now that our children are grown and off to their own worlds.

I pop out of bed when the alarm rings, begin the water for my tea, dress quickly, plug in my phone, and hear a “Ding.”

My 38-year-old daughter’s ding.

On my cell, daughter’s text announcements sound like musical up and down notes, much like her. My son’s texts ring out in a trumpet call: “Dum de de DUM de DUM.”

But this text is musical at 6:22 in the morning. I open up the message to find a funny photo of two women in a car. The driver is crouched behind the steering wheel with wild eyes. The passenger holds her hands up as if in self-defense. The saying underneath the cartoon: You know you have a best friend when she’s willing to let you drive.”

I laugh out loud. My daughter thinks I’m a reckless, out-of-control driver. In reality, I’m fabulous behind the wheel.

…. I just get lost easily, my eyes blur in front of highway lights in the evening, and I skip lanes when I shouldn’t at times.

…. But my daughter drives too fast, listens to rock too loudly, and gets distracted by her kids in the backseat.

I text back: “I’m the passenger here, right?”

Pixabay, funnyShe replies with a funny face emoji.

I sip my hot green tea, happy with the sense that I’m still relevant. 

116 thoughts on “Still Relevant

  1. So relevant! And good morning to the little dear parts of ourselves that don’t always feel relevant. Hello, dear ones. You can come along for the ride, too. We’ll keep trying not to scare you while we drive. xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Perhaps we need to start a restless sleepers brainstorming group, Pam. I’m a major clock watcher, too. I guess we can blame lack of sleep on these bogus claims of being a reckless driver. 🙂 I think we’re both still relevant! Enjoy the weekend! xo

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You’ve captured well that limbo-land between the time our kids really need us and the time we start really needing them. How much of our lives should still revolve around them; how important is it to focus elsewhere? Our culture still pulls us apart, despite our wishing it were different. No easy answers. Thanks (she says sarcastically) for the reminder of how much I miss my boys.

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    • You describe our “condition” so perfectly here, Janet. When raising our kids, we’re focused 100 per cent on their well-being. Then, all of a sudden, we’re supposed to stop that worry as they go off into the world? Good luck with THAT. ❤

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    • When our son began driving, we wanted to warn the entire state (well, at least the county) that he was on the road. Strangely, he has become a steady, careful driver. Our daughter though….(don’t tell her I said so, please). ;-0 Happy driving, Mary. If we ever meet up, I’ll let you drive. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This post so rang true for me!! I will get up at any time to Skype with my daughter. We still need each other and always will, even though we are an ocean and a country apart. It looks like your daughter shares your sense of humour. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel your pain, Darlene, as far as missing your daughter, and needing that connection with an ocean apart. For four years I lived on the west coast while my daughter was on the east coast, adding babies to her family. Being near by now is a blessing (except now my son is on the opposite coast, thus, those sleepless nights). xo

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  5. The times are different but my nights pass in similar wake-sleep-wake-sleep modes. Last night, bed at 10, awake at 11:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30.

    *YAWN*

    I don’t have kids so my relevance/irrelevance has always centered on other things. Like how many times a day I make people laugh or smile. 😆

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    • I’m wondering if it’s an “age” thing, that we start doubting our relevance in the world. Looking around, reading/hearing the news, sometimes I feel like I live in a different dimension.
      And sometimes, I prefer my own dimension. :-0
      Your posts always bring a smile to my face. Thank you!

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      • Thanks, Pam! Right back at you. I write right!!!

        When we are working or actively raising children, we are too busy to worry about our purpose and relevance. As the time intensive nature of work/home diminishes, we may begin to ponder our purpose, our raison d’être, our relevance.

        However, having just been to the outer reaches of the Universe at the planetarium ~ flying past billions and billions of stars (in our solar system, the Milky Way, and in millions of other galaxies) ~ I realize just how “irrelevant” life on Earth is (except to its inhabitants). Collectively, we are just a tiny blue dot ~ a drop in the universal sea.

        So, I won’t worry about whether I’m relevant on a large scale. I’m not. I’m relevant to me and to BFF and to other close friends and family members . . . that’s enough! Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Of course you’re still relevant. Who else could take a joke about oneself early in the morning and remain in good spirits? You provide a valuable service for your daughter, a familiar place where she knows she can get a laugh… albeit at your expense. But a laugh!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, you are so smart! My daughter also uses me as a sounding board, a “I’m pissed off and I’m going to tell you all about it board,” and a “listen to what my kids did NOW” board. All of these things help me feel relevant. 🙂 Here’s to our relevance in this strange world, Ally.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You made me smile first thing. I can relate in all areas. The restless sleepers club is one I am a member in good standing. I have my FitBit verify it nightly. Am I still relevant?? The older they get, the more they realize you had all the answers and call regularly to ask how to do this or that. I love your children’s sense of humor. You taught them well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You will never, ever be irrelevant, Pam. I like to drive when there is not much traffic, people obey all the rules, and the weather’s never bad. Which is NADA!

    I’d hate being President, but I wouldn’t mind chauffeur-driven vehicles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re funny, Marian. You’d love to meet one of my CA friends, who swears that if we hang on and live long enough, we won’t have to worry about our bad eyesight and lack of quick driving response. We’ll just take the self-driving car wherever we want to go. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I unfortunately get up often during the night to visit That Room. Each time I come back to bed, I always press the button on my phone. I’m half asleep, and I really doubt that I’d read any messages anyway (whatever it is can wait a couple more hours). But I always check for some reason. This was fun to read. We sure are attuned to our phones now! – Marty

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    • We were so “plugged” into our kids’ lives for 18+ years that it’s hard to unplug. Well, I’d never want to unplug, but I want to make sure they need my plugging (in some form or another) despite the fact that they’re now plugged into their own family. 🙂

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    • What a good point! I DID need to hear some affirmation and by gosh, a little emoji and text communication did the trick. We parents of adult children don’t need much – just a wink and a thought now and then. ❤

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  10. I too get those doubts that I was a ‘good’ mother – that I could have / should have done more Then my sons do/say something that makes the world all right again … and like you said, it could be as simple as a text message that says ‘hi’ 🙂
    Maybe we did ok after all 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can so relate to this, Pam. And in the middle of the night my ability to ward off doubts is nonexistent. That’s when I resolve to have a conversation with my son asking him to be honest with me about his damaged childhood, welcoming more punishment. And then I face a new day knowing I did the best I could and marveling at the fabulous adult he has become. When you figure this all out I want you to write another post about it, okay? Where is the parenting book about staying relevant to our adult children?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny thing is that as soon as my kids became “adults” I read a review about a book called “Walking on Eggshells: How to Talk to Your Adult Children.” I immediately bought it and followed its advice (which was sage, I admit). Then I bought copies for my friends who were telling their adult children what to do, how to do it, and what they were doing wrong. Surprisingly (NOT) they had little communication with/from their kids. So, that said, I don’t ask my kids what I did wrong when raising them, but I’m having a great time listening to them worry about what THEY’RE doing wrong (or right) in raising their kids. I just nod my head and say, “you’re doing the best you can.” At some point in their lives, they’ll realize that’s what we did too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That book sounds like a winner, Pam. I’m going to get it asap! Of course, they are so involved in raising their own children now, they are not likely obsessing about how they were raised. I don’t give my son advice unless he asks – guess I’m on the right track! Having been divorced when my son was 6 years old adds a burden of guilt – but if I had not pursued divorce, I believe his life would have been much worse. Nevertheless, I know how very difficult it was for him, and question whether I was there for him enough – since I was going through so much myself. Off to look for that book!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Of course you’re still relevant! Goodness, that never stops. I love it when the 35-year-old daughter calls me to ask advice or suggests we go out for massages…or needs a sitter. Ha ha. Can’t beat it! It’s a sure sign that our parenting doubts are unnecessary. Just keep loving them up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Never thought about this question before. So I found it interesting. As for waking up with the thoughts running through your mind — ugh! A neurologist once said to me that “we have very few new thoughts. Our brain keeps running a loop of old thoughts.” We all know its ego. He may have a point. I think we all find ways to turn off our minds.

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    • That neurologist is like my engineer friends. Everything is black and white and in a box. Ack! Very few new thoughts?! He never delved into my mind. I even worry about the wild turkeys pecking at our bird feeder, and the squirrels getting ready to hibernate for the winter. The granddaughter who is 10 sometimes seemingly going on 30, and the daughter-in-law with upcoming surgery. A loop of thoughts, for sure, but that neurologists could be perplexed at my range of subjects. 😉 That said, learning to turn off that loop is a valuable lesson. ❤

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  14. This post made me laugh. First of all, you get up at 5am. I wish I were a morning person. An empty nest can be a lonely nest but I think you have fared very well. You have two successful adult children who love you. And really there is nothing better in life than to know that you once upon a time, small fry, are now swimming very well in a vast sea of humankind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh, thanks for laughing. I know, many think I’m absolutely crazy for waking up at 5. But interesting things happen at 5! As my tea steams, I watch the wood creatures begin to stir, the night elves slink off into their stone homes, the chipmunks chatter as they prepare their winter nests, and the chimes on our porch ring a soft good morning. Best time of the day! And you have just made the rest of my day glorious with your beautiful phrase about our (universal) children, “swimming very well in a vast sea of humankind.” That’s all we can hope for, that we ourselves, and our progeny, learn to swim in that sea. Gorgeous, Yvonne. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pam, think of it this way. You are one of the fortunate women who now can follow YOUR dreams in Part II of your life. Think about it. The time has come for you to do for YOU. What a concept! Hehehehehe Of course you are still reverent to your family! A Mother is the glue that holds a family together. Even if your kids are no longer at home, you are still their Mom. Treasure that! FYI … I have trouble driving at night as well. The lights hurt my eyes and blur. *sighs* So says a woman who has arrived at “aging gracefully”. LOL ☺️😉💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the smile. Yes, Part II is fun; I write “stories” about my family and they have no control over it. Worries them at times. How fun is that? 🙂 On the night driving, my OT (who I was seeing for my concussion) suggested eyeglasses that reduce glare at night. I just found clip-ons to wear over my glasses. You might want to check it out! ;-0 Here’s to us “young ‘uns” who have many more years of Part II ahead of us. ❤

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  16. I do think with age we question our relevance. My parents are in their 70s and I try to make sure I let them know they are needed, that they add value to things- I can tell it’s really important to them, probably because I’ve recognized it’s becoming more important for me. Wonderful, thoughtful post. ♥️

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    • Thanks for understanding my dilemma – you are seeing it from both sides. As my kids are now adults, I think back to my parents when they were my age, and I wish I’d reassured them more about what great parents they were. But …. I think they knew. 🙂

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    • What’s the saying? The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Same with aging, perhaps. The older we get, the more we doubt about “life” and our role in it. Particularly in the middle of the night! ;-0

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  17. “As I grow older I have learned to perspire with aplomb .” LOL!!!
    ‘relevant’s ‘ origin comes from Mideval Latin—to raise, lift up!!
    How about that???!!! Hmmm…can’t find an emoji for fantastic Mom that you are and have been!!!! ❤️

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    • Thanks for enlightening me about the origins of the word RELEVANT. Isn’t that fascinating? To raise and lift up! Yes, that’s what I want to do/be. You, my friend, are the epitome of being “relevant.” xo

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  18. This resonates with me as I’m new to this empty nest thing! It is really hard getting used to the fact that your children don’t need you in the same way as they did. Those sharing of moments over texts and Facebook messages are so special.

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  19. What a beautiful post Pam, sweet, moving, courageously undecorated. I’m not a mother, yet I still found plenty to resonate with here, those devil thoughts in the night…and the beauty of The Universe responding just when we need a little pick me up, a little reminder of just how much we are loved. Love is the only thing needed to make us relevant, and we all have Love, it just shows itself in so many wild and varied ways, we sometimes forget…but it’s always there, just hiding sometimes. Thank you dear Pam, your post has made me deliciously thoughtful…I shall go ponder further… Much love, Harula xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Courageously undecorated” – best phrase I’ve heard about writing in a long time. I’m going to share that with my writers. Because that’s what we want to do in our writing – be brave, show our warts and flaws and worries and joys – because then we’re sharing the universal condition, right? And I appreciate your response to my post – ohyouaresoright. Love makes us relevant. Love to you and your glorious being, which shines bright on your posts, and your comments. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  20. So often I lay awake pondering the choices I made as a parent. Those night time thoughts can be stark ones. Thank goodness there are those moments, like the text from your daughter, that remind us . . . all is well. We are enough. We did enough. xo

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  21. I’m not an empty nester, but I suffer from doubts of relevance being a mom of teens! Getting an extra text or “snap” from either of my kids is a day-brightener! Love that you have an inside joke with your daughter. 🙂 Funnily enough–my daughter’s ring tone is a barking dog! lol Don’t know why–she prefers cats!

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    • My daughter gave her husband’s ring tone (when HE calls HER) musical chimes. Helps her stay calm when he texts, “gonna be late,” or “what’s for dinner?” or “did you just see our credit card bill?” 🙂 I like choosing which ring tone will go off when a loved one calls – gives me a quick heads up before I even look at the phone.
      (Of course, you’re more relevant than ever, when you’re mothering teens. Good luck with that!) ;-0

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  22. Of course you’re still relevant! And always will be, as will the rest of us. It’s just whether or not those who THINK they’re so relevant are able to catch on to the body of relevance that has been the sum and experience of our lives to date. Booyah!

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  23. Awww… loved reading this.. Those hours on the clock some nights seem to take forever… laughed outloud at your opinions of each others driving.. I drive too slow for my daughter, yet I keep to the speed limits.. LOL… 🙂
    Wishing you well Pam.. ❤

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  24. Love reading your posts. Especially love your blog site and the cartoon characters you use to tell your story or relate to what it is you are talking about. I should have such imagination. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face and thus giving me that little boost I need to think up something funny for my next post.

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  25. WOW! You just made my day! I’m thrilled that you enjoy my posts and the silly photos/cartoons I find to keep them sparkling. I try to use my own photos, but I’m not good at drawing cartoons – so find them from Pixabay, etc. Take care!

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  26. Bless you, Pam … how can you even ask?! Your close contact with your children shows how central you are in there lives and what a wonderful text from your daughter early in the morning! Road trips with the two of you must be hysterically funny … and the video might not be too far from the truth! 😀😀 Even though my son still lives at home (but is very often out), I treasure his text, even the shorter ones of ‘okay, will do’! The two accompanying kisses make my heart flutter! Wishing you a lovely weekend with deep restful sleep. Hugs ❤️ Xx

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  27. It’s such a nice feeling, isn’t it Pam? Whenever I hear from my kids (one has left the nest, 2 in college and 1 still at home), I know. And it’s usually just a short text or a quick call that makes me feel relevant. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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