Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today Marks the End of an Era, and I'm Not Exactly Happy (And I Wrote It Yesterday, So Good Luck Figuring Out the Timeline.)

I have been dreading this day for 16 years.

Tomorrow will be Phoenix's 16th birthday.

For 16 years I have had a child or six to take care of during the day.

For 16 years I have had a little hand to hold or a little body to hug or a little face to kiss any time I wanted, day or night.

For 16 years I have loved this job more than anything I have ever done in my life.

Taking care of little kids is what I was made to do.

I was made to read to them.

I was made to play games with them.

I was made to take them on adventures.

I was made to do crafts with them.

I was made to wrestle with them.

I was made to take care of them.

I was made to push them on swings.

I was made to listen to their stories and answer their questions.

I was made to bake with them.

And then one day, after 16 years, everything that I was made to do can't be done anymore.

After 16 years, the youngest child starts school.

While yes, I know he's only 5 and I will still get to do plenty of these things with him and his siblings, I also know that once a child enters school, everything changes.

There will be hours of my day where I am not surrounded by the little people that bring me such happiness.

I have had hours of my day in which I'm not surrounded by children before.  Of course I have.

This is very different.

Before, in those hours, I knew the kids were at home and I felt an urgency to get back to them.

When I drop that little 5 year old off at preschool, that's it.  No one will be at home waiting for me.  I can't just go home and get a hug from a little person.  I can't go teach a little person how to skip rocks in the creek at the park.  I won't be able to hear a little voice asking me what is under grass.

It will just be me.

And the quiet.

Well, quiet except for the loud sobbing.

And with each quickly-passing year, it will only be more and more time that the kids are away from me.

Do me a favor.

When you see me around, please don't ask me what I'm going to do now that the kids are in school.

The answer is "crying".

I know this is normal.  I knew from the moment Phoenix was born that my job was to lead my kids to independence.

Away from me.

I've been dreading it ever since.

After the tears have been shed, I'll think of something.

I have no doubt my days will get filled rather quickly with things to do.

I'm pretty sure at least part of those days will be filled with other people's children.

That sounded bad.

Don't worry.  I won't be snatching anybody's kids off the street, but the image makes me laugh.

"Honest, Officer, I just wanted to make a Christmas ornament with him.  I was going to take him back to his parents!  I swear!"

So, don't ask me.

I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Right now, I have to go squeeze a certain little boy until his eyes pop.

Have a lovely day!

33 comments:

  1. This is just beautiful and sad and so true. Kindergarten for my first was such a forewarning of this this year. Three more years.

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  2. I so remember. You know a cure for this is to have another baby. Don't throw anything at me here. It's just one way to prolong this a bit longer.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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    1. I wouldn't dare throw anything at you! Actually, I would be quite happy to discover I was pregnant again.

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  3. I really feel your sadness Christine.

    It was especially hard for me as I only had one child so once he got to school age that was it. However, after the initial sadness had worn off I realised that there were many advantages - I could get the housework done without having to break off to read/play/watch tv with him, I had the freedom to go shopping on my own and take my time to browse, and I had time to put my feet up with a coffee and a magazine if I wanted to. Then when the school holidays came round I looked forward to having him home again for a while, but conversely I also looked forward to him going back to school and getting my 'me' time back.

    It's all part of life, of loving your kids and helping them to go forward in the world - you're a great mom doing a great job so I think you're allowed a little sadness. You'll get over it eventually, but meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with having a good cry.

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    1. I know there will be advantages. I'll get there. Eventually. Thank you for taking the time to let me know of the things I have to look forward to. And for saying such nice things. :)

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  4. Awwwwww....you are such a rock star mom!!!!! No wonder your kids are all so awesome!!! (((HUGS)))

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  5. Hugs to you, Christine! I'm already somewhat panicking watching Calvin grow, knowing that before I know it he'll wean himself, then start school, leave for college, etc.

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    1. Ha! Thankfully Calvin is only what? a month old? It is sad to see those little ones grow so fast. Savor it as much as possible!

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  6. Once a mom, always a mom, no matter how old your children are. That being said, your post makes me want to turn back the clock, and relive some of those library-storytime/zoo/children's-museum/cookie-baking days. Hang in there. (Oh, and happy birthday to Phoenix!)

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    1. That is the truth. As moms, we just have to take on different mom roles as they grow. At least you get to do some of these things with the granddaughters, right? I hear that is just plain awesome.

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  7. Your post triggered two distinct motherhood moments for me. First was when my 17 stopped by my school to tell me he had passed his driver's test. It was a practice fire-drill and the whole school was out in the parking lot. As I watched him drive off, I marked the occasion as the moment he drove out of my life. The second memory was when my daughter, the youngest, entered First Grade. A full day for the first time. I didn't realize the affect this had on me right away. I knew I was depressed and gaining weight, but it wasn't until I saw a Mom and her daughter giggling together in the food store, that the tears came. (As they are right now). Cry, cry, cry. It's good for you.

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    1. Oh Val, your memories got me to tear up all over again. I am shocked it is hitting me as hard as it is. I'm on the brink of crying all day long.

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  8. I used to take great pride in packing all your lunches! Don't know why, but I just thought of that. Maybe some day you will be sitting reading one of your kids' blogs! And feeling very proud.

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    1. And to think you left this man all alone last 4th of July, forcing him to take one of the most pitiful selfies I've ever seen....

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    2. Dad, you did pack a rock solid lunch. :)

      Ah, Dyanne, enough with the guilt!

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  9. *hugs*

    I think Dyanne said it all already xo

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    1. Thank you. And the same goes for you. :)

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  10. (from the headlines in the local newspaper):

    Wave of children seemingly missing for hours, turning up at home, inexplicably better behaved with sudden to tie shoes and a confident smile on their faces. Police baffled. One parent quoted as saying, "...sorta of missing. I told little Jimmie and Janie to stay in their rooms while I went to pilates class. I get home and they've picked up their rooms and done their homework!!"


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    1. Ha! Thank you for grabbing onto the humor in the situation. :)

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  11. I think that is why the Duggars keep having kids... but than again they home school. Internet hugs and crazy cat pictures all around... because it is a thing to make people laugh, like this one.
    http://loldamn.com/funny-cat-photobombed-family-photo.html and one more for just because =)
    http://everythingfunny.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/442.jpg

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! I love a good laugh, especially when I'm emotional and teary.

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  12. Huge hugs to you - that's all.
    Here's weird for you...with one child, every single thing that's a first? Also a last. I try not to think too hard on that one.

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    1. Thank you! I'll take them.

      Oh, don't think I haven't thought about you and other moms with one child. Don't think too hard. I won't either.

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  13. My oldest started Middle School this year, while my youngest is in 4YO pre-K. I have somewhat gotten used to us being apart during the day, but these transitions still make me a bit teary. {{hugs}}

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    1. We have kids the same age! Thanks for the hugs. I'm beginning to think that's all we'll ever be..."somewhat" used to being apart.

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  14. Hmm... you definitely shouldn't steal any little children off the street and make Christmas ornaments with them! But maybe you could volunteer at a preschool or Head Start to get your little kid fix? ORRRRR... you could be a foster parent!

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    1. Probably would be a bad idea. :)

      I have always known I would go back to working with kids once my kids were all in school. Volunteering in the inner city or the family shelter is on the list of possibilities. I'll be subbing at my kids' school, too. I don't know if we're even allowed to be foster parents anymore. Indiana passed a law that any family that has 5 or more kids can't go through public adoption. I don't know if it applies to fostering or not. Either way, while I would love to do it, Bryan isn't quite so keen on the idea.

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!