Several years ago, upon declaring myself a pessimist, a friend said, “You’re a realist.” As in I tell it like it is. Thus began my columnist career.
I cast myself in a derogatory role not only because it was funny, but so others would see they weren’t alone in their mission as parents. I’ve shared stories of my family for these past nine years, exposing all our foibles, quirks and accidental adventures for the world to see, or at least (as I’ve always claimed) for the 12 people and my mother who read my column.
In the beginning, my two daughters were in elementary and middle school. Much of my writing was about them and comparing their older selves with their toddler selves. I can still see the characteristics of my babies in these adult people they’ve become. They would be wonderful study subjects about being born the person you ultimately are, from temperament to motivation. Of course, parents are important to guide them to become good adult versions of those toddlers.
I’ve rarely mentioned them in these months since we’ve moved. They’re still at home, but as young adults in their early 20s, they’re at a sensitive place in their lives and I didn’t want to exploit the issues that go along with these years. As it was, I often walked on eggshells while writing about them and made sure to run anything I wasn’t sure they’d appreciate by them. And for those who have called me out on “husband bashing,” and for his friends who would check up on him after I’d written about him, know that I read him those columns before submitting them.
I’m not an expert on one particular thing, I’m no one’s poster child for a specific cause. I’m a writer of all trades. Whatever pops into my head was the theme for my weekly column. While there’s nothing wrong with that, as my oldest daughter pointed out “it’s what Erma Bombeck wrote about.” I’ve become complacent.
In the midst of complaining about moving to our new home, my husband’s cousin accused me of resisting change. I denied it vehemently, yet was left feeling burned because it is true in a sense as highlighted in several columns this year. However, if I wasn’t a proponent of change in our marriage, we would still be living in a house with two gold rockers from the 80s and be childless. I’ve been the instigator of most change my husband and I have ever made. Even with this new house, though not my idea, I made it happen.
For a few months now I’ve had a nagging suspicion that this column ran its course. I don’t know if it’s because I’m finally feeling more settled in our new home, or because we are about to be empty nesters (Yes! Finally!), but I feel like it’s time to move on.
My husband has a health concern that will mean a lifestyle change but will be good for both of us (he’s OK). My kids are moving out in September for apartments and college, and I still haven’t figured out my new role as wife and mother since my husband’s retirement, and it’s probably time I did. It’s time for me to focus on this new territory we’ve entered.
I want to thank all of you for your continued readership (yes, I know there are more than 12 of you out there), encouraging words when I most needed to hear them and even calling me out when you thought I was being unfair.
My goal 10 years ago was to become a columnist and I did it. I’m not sure what I’ll do from here on out; dig up my new yard, maybe write something else, or pursue my love of children’s books. All I know for sure is that change is hard, but instead of focusing on what I’m letting go, I need to keep my sights on the possibilities ahead.
Everything runs its course even Living with Gleigh! It’s time.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her websitelivingwithgleigh.com; to read her column every week and see pictures illustrating them, follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.