Friday, August 21, 2015

Mother, let thy children go! (and then cry a little)

Today was the first day I didn't walk my Daniel Sam to the tot lot at his school and then spend half an hour watching him play and hugging him periodically when he came and held his arms out between the rails of the kindergarten playground.

I've been sad on and off for the past two weeks since Danny started kindergarten.

The first few days at home alone in this house, the silence I had been craving for so long was so oppressively void of companionship that I was driven to distraction. I missed having a little person in the other room as I wrote, watching PBS and opening packages of cheddar cheese or calling for me to play cards or get him something. But on the flip side of that was my counting of the hours to gauge how much longer I had in peace to write and complete projects. For I have quickly learned that the hours still fly, no matter the tasks or noises that fill them.

An era of my life is over. Just writing that I can feel the tears surfacing. Have I relished my time with my little ones while they were little? Many a time an older woman in the grocery or discount store admonished me to do just that, to savor the moment, their age! But have I? Did I? So many times it felt like I was chaffing, like I was negotiating for more freedom, more peace, more quiet.

Now I may still say to my beautiful children often "Come on, Babies!" or "Time to go, Babies", but I know that none of them are actually babies anymore. Not even my forever baby, Danny Sam. He may kiss me and press my hair into his face in front of schoolmates, but he's not a baby any longer.

There have been many instances these past two weeks when I felt the change in my life and mourned the passage of time:

when Daniel's eyes got moist as he was lining up to walk into his classroom for the first time

when I walked through the mall in the middle of the day to return clothes All By Myself, feeling like I'd lost part of my identity

when Daniel lost another tooth

when I read some of my old posts about the kids to edit them and didn't remember the things I wrote about, then wondered how many opportunities to record their wealth of funny or adorable antics I had squandered

when I couldn't remember the hilarious way in which little Daniel ribbed his big brother, just as brothers should, several days ago

when I talked to the volunteer coordinator at my kids' school and told her I now had time to volunteer regularly, because all four of my children attend school

when I read Dear Boy by Susannah Lewis yesterday and got all choked up

when I dropped my oldest boy, Berto, off at middle school again this morning

So often as mothers we want to get past this stage or that in the lives of our children, because it is just so demanding or exhausting. But when we do get past it, because it slides almost imperceptibly into our rear view or parades out of sight with lots of fanfare, we wish we could have experienced all the joys - and, yes, even the challenges if it means we could have coped better - of that developmental stage a little longer. Sometimes, we wish we had simply appreciated it and soaked it in more, all its messiness and all its glory.

But then we remember that our middle schooler still says "I love you" when he gets out of the car; our eldest daughter still holds our hand and talks to us on the walk to her classroom; our tomboy of a second grader still offers her cheek for a kiss and calls us, "Mama"; and our littlest, the forever baby, excitedly runs over to us, grinning, when he gets out of school.

Then we realize there are things to savor now and more joys and heartache to come, and we'll survive, for what a blessing it is to watch them grow up.

And some day, God willing, there will be lots of grandchildren.


I now more fully understand just what my dad was writing about in his popular post, The Wonder (of so many) Years.

You might also enjoy:

My Super Bright Children

Short and Sweet: The Big Bro


  1. I hate nostalgia - it does something odd to my vision - but I love this post.

    1. Nostalgia attacks my vision more and more frequently lately. Love you, Dad.

  2. I'm not a mother yet, so I can't say I relate to this, but it's these reasons I'm looking into becoming a stay-at-home mom instead of rushing back to the office following my mat leave. When we do have kids, I don't want to miss out on those precious moments I won't be able to get back.

    1. I am very, very grateful to have had that time with my kids. I can't say that I always made the most of it. Sometimes I saw the dirty dishes instead of the giggling toddler, or the littered floor instead of the cute crayon picture. But there have been so many moments in my blessed life when I got to play and joke with or simply watch my children and smile in wonder at the extraordinary gift of knowing and loving them.

  3. appreciate each and every moment with your kids while you have them

    1. Yes. We must think this often, remember it often - just as those older women in the grocery store admonish us to do.

  4. The end of one era and the beginning of another. Oh dear mama I feel your pain. My little man starts kindergarten next year and I'm relishing every last moment I have with him. The next year I am going to try my darnedest to soak up the experience of life with him. I wish we could just capture it forever. Prayers to you!

    1. Yes, if we could only capture it and keep it in a special room that would play the scenes of our children's childhoods on the walls as we laughed and cried and remembered.

      I wanted to make the most out of my last year with Daniel. We certainly played a lot of games together and went to a few places together, and I received and gave so many hugs and kisses. But my own dreams and impatience to grasp my goals got in the way of just enjoying that time to some degree.

      Do soak up this last year! And thank God for the time together.

  5. Sniff. I know JUST how you feel. I saw myself in every word.

    1. Yes, sniff. We understand each other, we mamas.


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