I was watching my daughter play with a bubble machine today. She and I were laughing as she was running through the bubbles, and we were both looking at the bubbles floating up to the sky trying to see different images. I looked over at her as she watched the bubbles drift away and she had the biggest, sweetest smile on her face. I wondered in my mind if she would remember this extra special ordinary day because I knew I was making an imprint of it in my own mind…these special moments with just the two of us in the middle of the day in the middle of a week are starting to slip through my fingers…
Spring time is always a time of anticipation. There is the anticipation of the beautiful blooms of all the flowers. Many are anticipating graduation at this time of year. And, many children here in the U.S. are anticipating the last day of school for the summer. I am so happy my first grade son will be moving on to second grade with confidence, and my daughter finished pre-school and will start Kindergarten in the fall.
As I am typing this, it almost takes my breath away. My youngest child is going to Kindergarten next year…all day…each day. I will so miss her little drawings she brings me of the two of us during the middle of the day when she is home with me.
I have written before about my struggle to actually become a mother, and seven years ago, my beautiful son was placed in our arms forever in Guatemala. Two and a half years later, we had the surprise of our life when I gave birth to my daughter. I was finally the mother I had always wanted to be. I quit teaching and became a full time stay at home mom and I have not ever looked back with regret about my decision. (And, I also remember each day how fortunate I have been to have been able to have that choice.) I had waited so long to have these children and I knew my place would be with them.
These seven years of mothering have gone by so fast. At times, it does feel as if some days are dragging on longer than others. But, I have thoroughly enjoyed my children as babies and now as the young children they are. I have recorded first steps and first words and kept locks from first haircuts. I have an overflowing box of “firsts” from school from both of my children. I have both of their small hand prints displayed in my bedroom to remind me of how very small they once were.
But, I am finding myself at the end of a chapter in my life. I can no longer identify myself as a mom who is at home with a young pre-school age child in the fall. It seemed that ending the chapter of working as a teacher and beginning the new one as a brand new mom flowed so seamlessly. I feel like I am having a “writer’s block” on how to begin this new chapter of my life. I know I am not the first mom to go through this transition, but I am feeling confused and not sure what the “opening pages” in this next chapter in my life will start with.
Some may think that I “put too much” into being a stay at home mom and am now going through a type of identity crisis. I don’t see it that way. I have kept my teaching credentials up and could go back to working outside the home when I want to. It isn’t that I can’t identify myself anymore; I know I am still a mom, but my role is changing, and I don’t know that I realized how fast these early years really pass. I just don’t feel like I am ready to quite “let go” of those years.
I have been given glimpses of how this next chapter will be written through my son no longer telling me he loves me once the door to the car is open and other children are around and can possibly hear him. I see it through my daughter when she no longer needs me to brush her hair because she can “do it herself!”
This next chapter in my life will be quite different than the last seven years for many reasons but one I can see I particular. I had a friend who told me that the goal of parenting is to teach your children to be independent. I can see more independence blossoming in my children each day, and as that happens I feel a bit of joy and also a tinge of sadness that I believe only a mother’s heart can truly understand. All I truly want for my children is to grow to be happy, loving, healthy and independent people. But, in becoming those remarkable people they are meant to be, they will be taking small steps away from a life I had grown so accustomed to over these last years.
And so, I will take a cue from my children and move forward along with them and help them in the new ways they will need me as a mother. I may not need to be there to change a diaper or spoon feed them anymore, but I know they will need me in other ways as they grow. Who knows? They just may need me to wipe tears away because of a broken heart or be there to help find that perfect dress for a school dance or just tell them that they are so very special because I love them.
Is there anything which you have emotionally struggled with to let go of as a mother? If so, what was it – and how did you let it go?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Meredith. You can check out her experiences living in Nigeria as an expat and her move back to Houston, Texas on her blog We Found “Happiness”.
Photo credit to the author.