Man-o-man. Aren't we all sick of people complaining about how fast time goes and how quickly kids grow up? I am. But then I find myself watching young(er) mothers with their babies and toddlers and thinking, "I remember those days. What happened to them?" At the time, I never thought my kids would ever grow up. That surely, sleeping in, going out on dates, only buckling myself into a car would never be part of my life again. I remember sitting on a plane with three tiny kids watching the lady across the aisle read a magazine and then take a nap. Green with envy, I thought that would never be me again.
A few years has changed more than a few things. I sleep in all the time - probably more than I should. Kyle and I have tons of dates. No babysitter needed. Aside from a booster seat, there are no car seats in our car, no stroller, no diaper bag. I have even reached the seemingly unreachable dream - I read magazines on planes.
A wise friend once told me that you reach a point in motherhood when you stop counting up as your children get bigger and start counting down to the day they will leave. I feel like I'm there.
You may think I'm jumping the gun, but lately I've been feeling this emotion that's difficult to describe. Sadness, yes. I'm not ready to think about my kids leaving home. Happiness, too. So much less on my plate. Less meals to worry about, less laundry to do, and less nagging about chores and homework. A little fear. I hope my kids use what tools I've given them to make something of themselves. What if they don't? A tad bit of excitement. I'm excited to see what they become. What they choose. How they live.
Reminders of that coming day are everywhere. In Eden's womanly face and her maturity. In Abby's sense of self and responsibility. In Katie's independence and commitment to her goals. In Davis' hunger for knowledge and understanding of how the world works.
I think, for all of us, those reminders coalesce into one when a rite of passage occurs in one of our kid's lives. A few weeks ago, Abby graduated from Elementary School.
I'm sure you're thinking, "Why the tears? Eden did the same thing two years ago." Good point, but hear me out. With the first child, everything is new. It's the first time for everything. Our parent-selves are born when that child is born and grow with each of their "firsts." I expect Eden to have graduations and crushes on boys and driver's training, but when Abby passes through these things, it becomes more real that Eden isn't the only one growing up. They all have the potential to grow and leave and have lives beyond our home.
I'm just not ready.