Facing My Greatest Fear :: What If We Don’t Know How to Be Us Anymore?


Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
~Jacques Prévert

For some reason during this time of year, I become extremely introverted and reflective. I don’t know if it’s all the changes taking place in nature or if it’s something else altogether, but autumn sends my mind into a tailspin of what-ifs. And honestly, I hate what-ifs. I realize how futile and unproductive that line of thinking is and yet, I still find myself meandering down the road to nowheresville.

This year, my silly mind is stuck on one specific what-if question. I won’t lie; I’m scared to death of the answer. Maybe it was sending my oldest daughter off to Brazil and watching as my other two continue to grow and become more independent that’s making me realize a harsh reality. A reality I thought I wanted more than my next breath when the girls were all still running underfoot and costing us more than $1800 a month in daycare and aftercare fees. But now… now that my babies aren’t babies anymore and they are quickly leaving the nest–my mind just won’t let go of that one question.

What if we don’t know how to be us after the girls are out on their own? Maybe we didn’t give ourselves enough time to be a married couple before we starting our family. Maybe we don’t know each other as well as we think.

This is how it started. My husband and I were watching Songland on Hulu and one of the songs made me think about our relationship and how long we’ve been together, as well as all the changes we’ve experienced. I turn to him, placing my hand on his upper thigh and I give it a little squeeze to get his attention. The conversation went something like this:

Silence. He’s turned the television off and is sitting in his favorite chair with what I can only describe as complete and utter shock casting shadows across his strong features. I make my way to my corner of our restored Victorian sofa, curl my feet under me and pull my favorite throw across my lap, tossing popcorn in my mouth while I watch my husband have a nice, little, quiet freak-out.

Quick History of Events

We were married in October and conceived our first child in January of the following year. In essence, we had roughly three months of being a childless, married couple under our belts. That’s all the time we had together when we were the only two people to take into consideration when making choices.  Planning meals, where to live, where and when to vacation, how much to spend on entertainment, grocery, dining out… Three months of learning to live together as husband and wife.

After that, we became mommy and daddy. And for the last twenty years of our relationship, we’ve been parenting and managing our family. Now that the girls are getting older, I’m scared out of my mind about it just being him and me again. 

The What-ifs…

What if we don’t know how to talk about anything other than the girls and home management stuff? What if his interests have changed and I didn’t notice because I was so busy trying to raise the girls and make a home for our family? What if he has no clue who I am or what I’m into because he’s been so hyper-focused on his career and providing for our wellbeing? What if we’re not compatible anymore in areas that may have sometimes taken a back seat during more hectic times in our years spent parenting? What if who we thought we were during those first three months were only honeymoon versions of ourselves and we find out after the girls are gone that we are just not right for each other?

Take a moment to breathe…

Deep breath in, deep breath out.
Where am I? I am here.
What time is it? The time is now.
What do I need to focus on? I need to focus on here and now. That’s all that matters. Hear and now.

I literally had to and have to sometimes still have to talk myself down from the ledge made slippery with what-ifs. Logically, I understand how asinine it is to allow these thoughts to muddle my mind, but fear does not operate in logic. Fear operates from the ego and the ego only wants to protect the idea of self. (click the word fear to listen to my podcast episode on unpacking fear)

My husband and I went on the same ego-trip of what-ifs; fortunately for me, he cut his trip short and upon realizing I was still stuck on the tour bus he came back to get me off, too. He’s such a caveman sometimes and thanks to whoever made him that way. We had a different conversation, one he initiated that went something like this.

I must say, I prefer the conversation he initiated to the one I started. How could I ever doubt that we’d be fine once out girls were out of the house? Unhappily, married people don’t raise the kind of children we have. Unhappily, married people don’t share the kind of intimacy we do. My new-found hope about my marriage once the nest is empty, is shored up by one of my favorite quotes by Jack Canfield.

My greatest fear was losing my best friend and husband after our girls left our home. I’m no longer afraid of that reality because I know my best friend and husband will be right there with me as we learn how to be an us without them. Only this time around, we have more wisdom, patience, self-awareness, and money. Yes, we will have more money this time around!

Remember, life is a journey and sometimes the Universe sprinkles Her wisdom on the path to guide you along the way. Be present, don’t miss the enchanted moments of your life. Until next time; be brave, be beautiful, and be enchanting. 

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Vickey Finkley-Brown
Vickey Finkley-Brown was born and raised in the Lower Richland area of Columbia, SC. She attended Lower Richland High school, where she met and fell in love with her high school sweetheart in 1992. They’ve been married for 20 years and have three beautiful daughters; Kay (18), Sonne (15), and Sadie (13), one quirky dog (Sammy 11), and ten… yes, count them—ten guinea pigs! Vickey graduated from The University of South Carolina with a BA in English and went on to earn a M.Ed. in Curriculum Design and Instruction from Lesley University, which enhanced her 13-year high school teaching career. After developing systemic lupus erythematosus and narcolepsy w/cataplexy, she and her husband decided it was time for her to come home and learn how to live as healthy as possible with the new reality their family was now facing. It turned out to be a blessing, because a few years later, her youngest daughter developed two of the rarest neurological sleeping disorders in the world (Klein Levins Syndrome- a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty Disease and Sighted Non-24). Not only is Vickey able to be at home with her daughter while she attends South Carolina Virtual Charter School and when she goes into KLS episodes, she is also free to pursue her passion as a romance writer, podcaster, and blogger under the pen name; Ella Shawn. Her enchanted platform is an extension of her philosophy of living, loving, and evolving. She writes to gain understanding of the hard choices women often have to make. She endeavors to create enchanted spaces in which to disrobe and see the whole of who she is, and who she isn’t. Vickey shares her journey of self-discovery through writing romance novels, on her podcast, and in her blog. She loves connecting with women who enjoy seeing glimpses of their truth wrapped in sexy happily-ever-after’s. Vickey uses her platform to encourage women to reconnect with their true and essential selves. To cultivate and nurture spaces where they cease being simply women of flesh and bone and become Enchanted Beasts. When she’s not being Ella Shawn, or learning coach, or caregiver, or being taken care of… You may find her painting, crocheting, meditating, or sweating it out in a hot yoga class. But she’s a wild and free spirit who would be just as happy living in a converted van and tooling around the country—sleeping where she runs out of gas. Landing wherever she lands and meeting whoever she meets. However; she’s pretty sure her husband and children wouldn’t be willing to pack up and hit the road with her and, anyway—where would all the piggies go? So, she indulges her nomadic, bohemian spirit with planned travel, mother-cation weekends, and her ever-growing imagination.


  1. I loved this!!! There are so many things that we are learning about ourselves. Silence is so much louder that noise. I have some of the same fears, but I do believe that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. I have no doubt that we will grow gracefully together.

    Your Husband

    • Thanks, babe. The fact you’re fine with me sharing my fears with everyone confirms how rock solid we are. Love you bunches 💖🙏🏾💋


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