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MY MORSDAG MEDITATION



Today is Morsdag/Mother’s Day in Sweden and it feels particularly symbolic this year. I recently celebrated my daughter’s college graduation; she just rented an apartment in New York. My son will graduate high school in two weeks, and in August, he'll be off to college in the US. It feels as though my years of active parenting are effectively over. I’ll no longer have a child living at home full-time. Both bedrooms will be empty for months until one comes to visit. The refrigerator will no longer stock my son’s protein drinks, and the mountain of laundry I’ve done for the past twenty years will decrease significantly. Furthermore, my kids might decide to stay in the US and never move back to Sweden. I’m adjusting to a new reality.


Frankly, I’ve been processing these changes for a while and spent the first half of 2023 feeling melancholy. A sadness that an era was ending has been quietly spreading under the surface. The shock that time passed by so quickly. Frustration—and guilt—that I didn’t enjoy it enough when they were younger. I got too caught up in the details of having a clean house rather than embracing the chaos of free play. I wasn't too fond of all the driving and running around. Little did I know that their independence and self-sufficiency would gradually build and then hit me with a bang. Suddenly, I was no longer needed in the same way I had (sometimes begrudgingly) become accustomed to. Nowadays, my attempts at inserting myself into their business are not always appreciated. I went from craving time for myself to wanting to hang out with them all the time.


I was nervous in the lead-up to my daughter’s graduation. I remembered those early years as a young family and feared breaking down from nostalgia during the ceremony. Surprisingly, I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of pride, love, joy—and gratitude. Grateful that, somehow, my husband and I had pulled this thing called “parenting” off. My daughter is well-adjusted and ready to enter the world as a full-fledged adult. I can’t stop that progression simply because letting go is hard. As unsettling as this emotion has been, it has better prepared me for my son’s college journey and ascent into adulthood.


Nature has determined that my kids are ready to move on, recalibrating my frame of mind. I’m still their mother but must develop other skills for this new phase. Listening more and talking less. Accepting rather than judging. Suggesting instead of dictating. Opening my mind to the world they live in today--their passions and choices--and not clinging stubbornly to my ideas. They are unique personalities, not carbon copies of me or my husband.


Hubby and I have talked a lot about our future plans. They include reprioritizing our relationship after having the kids as our primary focus, spending lengthier periods of time in the archipelago and America, improving our tennis game, taking up golf (The ultimate cliché! You can groan; I get it.), and nurturing deeper relationships with friends and extended family. Our children fill our hearts and will always take precedence, but we'll give them space to explore and lead their lives. Ostensibly, they’ll also be more time for writing, so don’t be surprised if I cobble together a story about a menopausal empty-nester 😊.


Wishing all the mothers and mother figures in Sweden a very Glad Morsdag!






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danbelung
May 28, 2023

There are different phases in this life and as much as we wish we can hit pause, life moves forward. Be proud of the beautiful humans you’ve reared because they turned out wonderfully… Happy Mother’s Day!

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