Go With The Flow

Today I will take my youngest child to live in the dorms at a Big Ten University. I’ve spent the last 22 years of my life focused on my children. Now that they have both flown the nest I’m not sure what my new goals in life will be. I’ll have time to sit and think and hopefully not drink.

Since summer had passed me by without so much as having one fun excursion, I decided to take my daughter and her boyfriend on a trip down a river floating on an inner tube (tubing). I asked my mom if she wanted to go. She’s always up for an adventure and wasted no time inviting two of her friends. So, the six of us packed ourselves into my vehicle and began the two hour trip to the river. I felt like I was a bus driver and was thankful that I didn’t have a hangover.

The river was chilly and the sky was overcast but we didn’t let that stop us. (What it did stop me from was using sun screen. I knew better. Water + virgin white skin + eventual sun = ridiculous sunburn.) The idea behind tubing is going with the flow of the river. It’s nearly impossible to fight the current so you learn to go with it.


Going with the flow takes some getting used to when you normally try to control every aspect of your life. The current may pull you to the left bank when your group is a quarter mile to the right. Just go with it I told myself. It reminded me of drinking. Sometimes people are drinking over there on that side of the room while you’re over here on your own. Just go with it. It’ll all work out. And it does work out to my surprise. After being separated from the group, we all ended up at the same destination but some of us took a different route.

All in all, it was a relaxing four hour trip down the river with family and friends. In my drinking days, I would’ve been hung over and all thoughts would’ve been about how soon I could get that first drink in me. Lucky for me, my family is mostly non drinking because most who go tubing bring an extra tube for the cooler filled with alcohol. (Sadly, booze and water activities don’t mix well. A young man was drinking last week on this same river trip and got out to go to the bathroom and drowned. They didn’t find his body for a few days.) I’m grateful to be with people who can have fun without drinking.

So today I stay goodbye to my longest career of being a full time mother to both of my daughters. I’ll be waiting in the wings watching them soar and feeling proud of the two best things that ever happened in my life.


2 thoughts on “Go With The Flow

  1. VG,

    Congrats to your daughter! And in a Big Ten! You must be so proud. My daughter just graduated and has her first real job. She is living with me right now, which is great for me. I plan to enjoy it while I can. I hear you on needing to find new things to fill you up. After such a long and rewarding career of mothering that I truly enjoyed, I didn’t like being forced into retirement. At least I still get to play consultant with both kids, so that’s a great thing for me. My biggest task in sobriety is to find things that fill me up. It was too easy to put all my needs on the back burner for many years. Sometimes, I just do not know what to do with myself. The only thing I know for sure is that I first have to fill the spiritual void.

    Good luck to you.


    • Focusing on myself has been hard. Filling the void will be a challenge for me as well. As you said, filling the void spiritually will be most helpful.

      I’m so proud of both of my daughters. My youngest received a full ride scholarship which is all inclusive. It took us a minute to realize that this was better than winning the lottery. We both cried. Especially my oldest daughter who will graduate this fall nearly $100,000 in debt.

      I’m looking forward to watching you as we traverse this sober, child free world.


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