SpaceX was set to launch astronauts for the first time on Wednesday, thereby restoring NASA’s human spaceflight program. But then storm clouds rolled in.The rocket was fueled and sitting on the launchpad. Officials had conducted final reviews to make sure everything was ready for liftoff, which was scheduled for 4:33 p.m. ET. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were suited up on board. The mission was a go.But just 17 minutes before the scheduled liftoff, bad weather — specifically thunderstorm anvil clouds and a strong electric field that could produce lightning strikes — made the skies above Cape Canaveral, Florida, unsafe. The mission commanders called off the launch. -Morgan McFall-Johnson May 27, 2020, Business Insider
Moms of kids ready to launch into elementary school for the first time, this description seems on point for you. You have poured years of preparation into this. This little person was placed in your arms 4-5 years ago and was 100% dependent on you. You have taught them everything; supported them as they learned everything. You sacrificed so much in hopes of celebrating this launch. It is a hard and beautiful season that was winding down, and your emotions were equal parts ecstatic and weepy.
If you’ve launched older children into school, you knew the joy. The amazing growth and independence that happens. You looked forward to Meet the Teacher. You anticipated the first day of school outfit and backpack. You looked forward to them making new friends all on their own, checking out library books of their choosing, bringing home stories of conversations from lunch time, and so many other things. You were so excited for them. You also realize that you really can’t be their whole world. They need their friends in a deep way.
If this was the year you planned to launch your youngest, you were also so very excited for yourself. Two short years ago, I launched my youngest. I was looking into office space and malpractice insurance, getting my business license, building a website, and about a hundred other things to launch myself back into my career. A career that I loved but put on hold for the baby years. I described the process as “dusting cobwebs out of the corners of my mind.” It felt so good to be getting back to something I really loved. I imagine you had plans too, or plans to plan. Or was it the freedom of that big childcare bill? That payment is like a mortgage, totally worth it but big. Maybe it was having more time to exercise and find comfort in your body that has also been through a lot during this season. Possibly you looked forward to rebuilding friendships with people who lived more than 5 minutes away, or don’t have kids the same age as yours; friends who’s life stage mismatched yours for a while. Maybe it was your spiritual life you wanted to invest in as it had been coasting on fumes for a while. Whatever it was, there were some depleted parts of you that you were looking to restore.
But here we are. 17 minutes before launch and the storm clouds rolled in. A global pandemic rolled in. The skies darkened, the world withdrew, your supports and resources shrank and your responsibilities grew. Dear one, I see you. I’m with you. As much as you will allow me, I want to give you permission to grieve. You are in the midst of loss. This is hard and sad. It’s exhausting and confusing. The decision fatigue alone is enough to take you down. You are constantly bracing for impact and loss and you have very little control. In my world of counseling, I would call this trauma. Not trauma in the way we understand it as a culture, but trauma in the way I understand based on what is happening in your brain and in your body. The things you value are beaten up and still vulnerable. This is a type of trauma. So please give yourself the time and permission to feel what you need to. Don’t minimize or dismiss your struggle, or stuff your emotions by telling yourself that others have it worse. While it may be true, that doesn’t make your hard things unworthy of your grief. Be kind to yourself in on the days when you anxiety has you overly productive trying to feel a sense of control over the dust on your base boards or the clutter in that closet. Be kind to the yourself on the days when your anxiety has you empty, unable to figure out how to entertain your children or execute dinner. Have compassion for that distracted and unsettled brain of yours that is unable to either think productively or effectively find calming peace.
I know the storm has yet to pass. I am in it with you too, only my littles launched and are now recalled to home base. This will not last forever, even if it feels like it will. You will not go under. I will not go under. but if either of us does, our people and me and my colleagues will be here to help pull you back to the surface. You are neither too little nor too much. Who you are and what you do matters. You are seen and loved. This is launch is experiencing a delay, not a failure.
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