If my memory serves me correctly, it was only a few months ago that my friends’ moms graced our Elementary School classrooms with their presence. Loaded down with Tupperware filled with decorated sugar cookies and boxes of craft supplies, they hosted our holiday parties in style. Before the last bell to go home, everyone created their very own Santa Claus ornament to put on their Christmas tree. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a lifetime ago because Mr. Claus is still tucked away with the decorations in our garage.
Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of social media, I have virtual connections with many of my childhood friends. As I peruse pictures of weddings and new babies, the reality sinks in that our parents are entering a new chapter that includes empty nests, retirement, and a new-found love for their very own grand babies. The same women that spent their nights helping us to learn multiplication tables and cheering us on at every game, all while balancing loads of laundry and work outside the home are now setting sail on uncharted waters. Their character has been established over the years, so their compass has a strong sense of North. The sails of their ship have withstood storms of chemo treatments and scorching rays of financial stress. Stowed away below the deck are cargo chests overflowing with precious memories from the past.
Many of these women are bursting with excitement as they consider how they might be able to spend more time with family and friends, or traveling the world, as they bid adieu to the demands of the workplace. With such a considerable amount of anticipation, I can only imagine that the first weeks of retirement would feel like a vacation. What happens when the newness wears off? Once every nook has been dusted, every sock pair has been folded, every weed has been pulled, and the refrigerator is stocked, there is a beautifully wrapped gift of hours in the day and days in the week.
The same strengths, talents, and abilities that course through the veins of these women will continue to flow for as long as their courageous hearts will beat. The next generation is hungry for the wisdom of these women and parts of the world have yet to be touched by their compassion. It is my desire that women who are entering into this season would board their ship with boldness, carrying a map to navigate their course. My heart beats in tandem with my heart for young women, to see the generation who paved the way before me continue to thrive as the women they are created to be. I look forward to the moments when I see BIG dreams come to life – the moments when the women I work with begin to understand that the waters ahead are not privy to cruise control, but require a great deal of confidence at the helm and dedication to living out their life purpose!