It was supposed to take forever

me and girls

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.

kyleighboth girlsabby  

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.

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DSC08794 Waiting in carpool at the end of the day. 🙂

 

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Life as a mom — This is hard!

Something has to end so that something new can begin. But does it always have to come to an end so fast?

Today was my baby’s last day of preschool. Two years of preschool come to an end. The new beginning I mentioned is Kindergarten. In July. How is it possible that my baby is about to be 5 and off to elementary school? It really seems like last week she needed to be held in order to sleep. You probably think I’m exaggerating. But no. I promise you I’m not. For Ladybug’s entire first year, she would not sleep unless she was held. It was a sleepy year for Daddy and Mommy. 🙂

Ladybug is such a silly, fun and smart little bug. I really and truly enjoy hanging out with her. She keeps me laughing and I get plenty of snuggles and kisses. It is simply the best.

Have you ever had someone stop you in the store and tell you something nice about your child (or children)? That compliment is usually followed up with “enjoy it, it goes by fast” or something similar. Okay, okay. I admit it. I’ve said it once or twice to a mom of a tiny one. (Seriously though. In the midst of feeling like you will never be clean and well-rested EVER again, it’s done. And you do shower every day again. And you do get full nights of sleep again. But when you poke your head in your little one’s room, they aren’t so little all of a sudden. And you wonder “what just happened??”.)

But I’m getting carried away. So I’ve been reading this book my mother (in-law) gave me. It’s called Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. [Side note: I’m enjoying the book so far. 🙂 ] One of the stories Glennon tells is about how she was shopping with her two small children. In the checkout line, well, the kids weren’t really being angelic. Some older lady, just being nice, told her how much she enjoyed those years and how quickly those years pass. The lady then told Glennon to enjoy absolutely every moment. All the while, Glennon’s kids are a touch out of control and she’s thinking to herself “really?!? you want me to enjoy this very moment??”. So because life is not always enjoyable (c’mon, do you really enjoy the tantrums?), Glennon decided to find a few moments each day to cherish and call it a success.

After reading her story and seeing my baby end her preschool years, it hit me. While I make a conscious effort to not take this time for granted, I kind of have a different reaction. Well to be honest, I kind of take Glennon’s idea and run as fast as I can in the other direction. I tend to worry that I’m not enjoying this time enough:

Am I going to remember the way this sweet face looks when she first wakes up?

Am I going to remember the little dimple that appears when she smiles her impish smile?

Am I going to remember her sweet and unique Ladybug smell?

And what about her laugh? Am I going to be able to remember her contagious giggle? The one that can crack my I-mean-business face?

Am I going to be able to remember the way those little freckles under her eyes make her face more angelic?

Am I going to be able to remember how warm and soft and cuddly she is?

Will I be able to remember the way, when she is sitting on my lap, she reaches her arm up behind her and wraps it around my neck?

Obviously I could go on, but I think you’re getting the idea. I capture every moment I can with the camera for both of my girls. But there are things that can’t be preserved with a snapshot. They are the moments captured in the heart. I suppose though we may not always be able to readily recall all of the things we would like, they are still there. Locked away in our hearts helping to continually shape us.

But I want to be able to remember all of these things. I don’t want to forget or have it locked in my heart, though I’m sure glad it’s there because it means that it happened. And a selfish part of me doesn’t want my baby to say goodbye to her preschool self. [Man, I’m tearing up as I type this. Hubby is going to wonder what on earth I’m writing about to make myself cry. :,) ] I’m not ready to say goodbye to days spent in the yard with Ladybug as she squeals in delight at finding worms and putting them in a bowl with water. Or to the afternoons in our front yard watching her find and catch roly polys, put them in the compartment on the back of her tricycle and pedal around the driveway. Or to the lazy mornings spent snuggling on the couch watching her favorite movie and kissing those soft, squishy cheeks and getting kisses back. I don’t want to say goodbye to picking my Ladybug up from preschool and watching her run down the hall carrying her tote bag to say ‘goodbye’ to her music teacher, which she did every single day this year.

I want to be able to freeze-frame my baby as she is right now. I want her to go on and become who the good Lord made her to be, but I want something to be able to look back on and be able to remember everything and smell that unique scent of my Ladybug.

Ah, to be a mom. This life has its ups and downs and of course it’s all worth it and I am truly grateful for every moment (even the unpleasant moments, like tantrums, because it means I have children and I am a mom, ya know?). But it’s also hard. It’s hard to let go of the babies as they grow out of one part of their lives and are ready to begin the next chapter. It’s hard to let go a little more. When our children begin to walk, we have to let go a little bit. When our children enter preschool, or daycare, we have to let go a little more. When our children enter elementary school, our grip has loosen even more and they are gone for a large part of the day. I imagine that when our children enter high school, we have all but let go. Then college. And then they begin creating a life and identity outside of the home we built for them and with them and around them. It’s hard. But so worth it. And I’m sure that, if I asked, is what my mom would tell me, her oldest with a family of my own.

So today, I swallow the gianormous lump in my throat as I pick my baby up from preschool for the last time. I put my sunglasses on, even though I’m standing in the shade, to hide the tears forming in my eyes. I know that if I open my mouth to speak I’m going to crack. So I smile the best smile I’ve got, nod a lot, and give plenty of hugs to Ladybug’s wonderful teachers; one of whom taught Freckles in her second year of preschool. I smile down at my little girl in her hearts swimsuit with her Dora towel wrapped around her and her sandy brown hair in braided pigtails and take her soft, cool little hand in mine. We’ve said our goodbyes, and the time has come. She is ready to go, and I want to hang back. Just for another minute. But with wet eyes behind my trusty sunglasses, my little girl and I head to the car to begin the next chapter.