Of puppy playtime
Of coffee all day , everyday
Of winter sunrises
These are the days of holding tightly, and letting go. Of closed fists and open hands in surrender.
These are the days of hope for new beginnings, and mourning the endings.
These are the days where things are beginning to come to a close, where I can see change on the horizon.
Will I be ready? What will it look like? How can the perpetually afraid shed that persona to become suddenly brave?
And , for the love, will someone please tell me what it means to see your children grow, and leave, when all you’ve ever done is be a mom?
What, like I’m supposed to exist outside of these people that I have spent almost two decades of life caring for?
We’re supposed to keep on breathing, with all the air sucked out of our lungs?
Our Hearts are supposed to keep beating, even as they’re dashed to pieces?
I don’t know about your house , but here the baby birds keep hitting milestones, becoming increasingly ready to leave the nest. And it’s wearing this mamas heart down to shreds.
We’ve spent our adulthoods building a home for them.
We’ve spent our time caring for them. The sleepless nights, the teaching, the discipline, the growth phases and milestones. First words and first bicycles and first skinned knees and broken hearts.
We’ve relished their accomplishments, and mourned their heartbreaks. We’ve worried about how the choices we’ve made will effect them.
We’ve done our research, vetted teachers, signed them up for extra tutoring. We’ve taught them how to sit up straight and tie their shoes and alway give good hugs.
And then, they just leave?
I’m struggling with the fact that I no longer have little children. My kids ages range from 8 to 16. And 17 is right on the horizon for the oldest. I got pregnant with him when I was 17, and that may be contributing to a bit of my angst.
But it’s all of it. It’s the fact that he’ll be a senior, and the next child just for his permit, and the next child will turn 13 this year.
It’s noticing my own aging. It’s feeling inadequate. Like I haven’t done enough, taught them enough, played with them enough, given them enough one on one time.
And yet, I’ve been here. I’ve been home with them the whole time. And I’m an intentional mom. We’ve had all sorts of fun together.
So why can’t I shake these feelings?
On good days, when I’m feeling brave, I have the hope that this is a new chapter. That my children will not go out into the world , never to return. I have the hope of a deepening friendship, of being involved in their lives.
But , on the bad days, it just hurts.
Because time refuses to slow its relentless marching. And this has been a theme I’m pondering, even as I’m taking children thither and yon.
I’ve come to hate a Stephen Curtis Chapman song that I adored when my boys are small. It’s called “Cinderella.” They played it a father-daughter dance I volunteered at this weekend. At its been stuck in my head for days. I just keep hearing the refrain “and she’ll be gone” on repeat.
So while I wish I had something pithy to close with, some great hope to leave you with, I’m not there right now.
I can however encourage you to give mothering your all, while they are still little.
I think this letting go might be a lot more difficult if I hadn’t had the privilege of homeschooling them. Of being with them day in and day out.
It is worth it. All the labors of love.
I’m just not quite sure when their “growing” became my “pain.”