One day last week, I tied the shoes, packed the lunches and zipped the backpacks, piled my four kids into the vehicle… And then walked them to their classrooms.
All while my heart demanded that I grab their hands and march them back home!
This is my first year with all of my kids in school full time. It’s the day every mom “dreams of,” right?
I remember sitting on the couch one afternoon (messy hair, no sleep) with a newborn in my arms and a toddler snuggled up beside me. What I wanted more than anything in that moment was just to go to bed.
I found myself wondering, What would it BE like for these kids to be in school?
In the middle of those years of potty training and sleepless nights, I pictured this day with eager anticipation. I pictured myself grocery shopping alone, making lunch for only one, and taking a nap just because I could. (A girl’s got to make up for those years of sleepless nights somehow!)
But here it is, the day all of my children are in school, and instead of whooping with joy I’m wandering the house noticing how quiet it feels. I’m watching the clock, begging it to speed up just a fraction so I can go get those big kids of mine and bring them back where they most belong.
Granted, I do enjoy the ability to efficiently run errands and to work at the computer guilt-free. But during those quiet, solo moments, I can’t help but wonder…
Did I do enough with them while they were home?
Did I work too much? Did I say “just a minute” one too many times?
Did I really, TRULY treasure the days of them being little?
I tried so hard.
But this is the challenge of motherhood: moving from one phase to another before we’ve truly learned to appreciate the one we’re in.
First it was getting used to not having a baby in the home—getting used to walking into my youngest’s room without seeing a crib take center stage.
Then it was getting used to being needed less, like when I realized no one needed to be carried on our family hikes.
And now it’s getting used to the knowledge that a good portion of my children’s lives are experienced outside of our home.
It’s a lot to wrap your mind around, especially when in many ways, it feels like just yesterday you were washing bottles and averting toddler tantrums.
But I’m trying to embrace this new stage of motherhood, because as I’ve learned so far, it won’t last.
With two in elementary school, one starting middle school, and one starting high school, we’re trading in our little kids for “bigs.” We’re trading diapers and bibs for Pokemon cards and soccer cleats. Instead of celebrating first steps and new words, we’re celebrating learner’s permits and football wins.
Dear moms of big kids, let’s remember this:
This stage is beautiful in its own way. We just have to hold on to that.
With every year we get a fuller picture of the people our children are becoming. We get to see them grow in their independence and act on the lessons we’ve taught them all their lives.
Dear moms of big kids:
We have so much to look forward to.
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