I never thought I was cut out for this “mom” thing. I honestly never thought I would choose to be home full-time with kids. I really just never thought I would be good at it or enjoy it.
When I had Freckles, I thought the 5 years leading up to her going off to kindergarten would last forever. What in the world was I supposed to do all that time? I mean, geez, I’d never have any time to myself. Those years were going to take forEVER!
Or so I thought.
I was 2 1/2 years in of doing this mom thing, and we decided to add another baby to the family. Hey, I was enjoying this. And time to myself? Didn’t really cross my mind. And if it did, I had some awesome family ready to hang out with my girls. But I was loving my job and never looked back. After all, this is going to last forever…right?
See, I thought I’d be happy when kindergarten rolled around. I’d get my freedom back! Thinking back on it now, it’s astonishing that I ever felt that way.
You know how part of the miracle of having children is that women don’t remember exactly how painful giving birth is? (We forget and think, “hey it wasn’t so bad, I want to do it again”. Then we do it again and remember it all and wonder what in the world we were thinking. 😉 ) I believe that there is another part of the miracle – one that occurs after the first day of kindergarten happens…
Looking back, I don’t remember how torn up I was about Freckles starting school. It probably helped that Ladybug was home with me and I didn’t want to fall apart in front of her. I do remember being sad and shedding some tears, but I don’t remember being ready to fall apart or feeling a heavy sadness in my heart. I do recall thinking that “this was the beginning of the end”. But at that point, Ladybug was still home and a whole year off from preschool. Surely having her home with me was going to last forever.
I seem to have blinked a touch too long because Tuesday was Ladybug’s first day of kindergarten. Wait, what? That’s it? It’s over? But…but…but it was supposed to take forever. They were going to be home all day everyday forever before they were going to be off to school.
Wasn’t it going to take forever? Wasn’t Abby always going to be in her car seat behind me in the car? I never envisioned a time when I would come home and not need to open the door to let a little person out. She was always going to be there waiting for me to open the door, undo her bottom buckle (because she can undo the top buckle on her own) and hold out my hand to hold her little hand as she climbed out of the van.
Wasn’t she always going to be with me as I headed out of carpool line in the morning? With her sweet little voice already asking for hot chocolate when we got home? Or asking to go to the store because she had stuff to buy?
Having both girls off at school all day 5 days a week was something I rarely thought about. It just seemed like an abstract idea. But, alas, here we are. Two kids in elementary school. How did time go by that fast?
Hubby and I dropped Freckles off at her door and walked Ladybug to her class. Then we headed back down the hall, out the front doors and began the lonely wall back to the car. Without either of our children. I was holding on pretty good until one of the teachers we passed by (who was Freckles’ assistant teacher in 1st grade told me “good luuuuuck” as we passed by. I began to say ‘thank you’ and my voice cracked. The dam had been broken. Luckily I had my trusty sunglasses to keep the tear-filled eyes hidden….though I’m pretty sure the furrowed brow and quivering bottom lip gave me away. But I held on tight to Hubby as we continued walking away from the school that held both of my precious babies.
In the safety of the van, and then the house, I didn’t hold back. There was a heavy sadness within me and all I could do was cry. I was sure Ladybug, like Freckles, was going to be fine. I’d left her for two years at preschool and she was always fine; she always did well. But it wasn’t for her I was crying. Something beautiful had just ended. There wouldn’t be anymore snuggle-filled days with my little buddy. I’m not going to be able to go to the Farmer’s Market with her and pick out fresh fruits and veggies then to get some ice cream. Instead, I’ll have all day to clean the house and keep with laundry and prep a lot of freezer meals. Given what I’m trading in for a clean house…a clean house just doesn’t seem all that important anymore. I thought the messiness and being behind on laundry and always having someone underfoot would last forever. It was supposed to take forever to get to this day.
I know, we will have track-outs and vacations and weekends, but it just won’t ever be the same. We will make the most of this new era of our lives, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the next 10 to 13 years aren’t going to take forever either. In fact, I’d wager they are going to fly right on by.
It really felt like it was supposed to take forever.