If my father-in-law reads this someday, he will definitely cringe at the title. Dad, I’m sorry. Yes, I know kids are really baby goats, but somehow my children are my kids, too. And aren’t your baby goats just the cutest things ever? :o)
A few days ago, I walked down “the kids’ hallway” in our house and saw the strangest thing. Every one of their rooms was clean! And I didn’t tell them to do it! I could see the color of everyone’s carpet! No funny smells were present! Each of my kids were on their beds reading or talking on the phone, and there was no visible mess anywhere. It was a sight to behold, I’m telling you.
I literally stood in the hallway and gaped for several minutes. Angels may have sung–if they did I was too much in shock to notice.
It struck me that I have most certainly turned a corner. No longer am I the mother of children that play with toys. I am no longer the one who has to say, “You can play outside when your room is clean.” In fact, I barely have to ask for dirty clothes because they pretty much do their own laundry now. Every night after dinner, my “babies” clear the table, do all the dishes, and clean the kitchen because I made dinner so “Have a seat, Momma.”
I own only one sippy cup. I bought it for babies who come visit. I still have an Ariel, Ronald McDonald, and Veggie Tales plate in the cupboard. Not sure why. I have several American Girl dolls packed away next to the Barbies in the basement. Now, in the driveway, I have a car with the name Addilac (Addie’s Caddie) instead of Little Tyke and a truck called Ford instead of Tonka.
No more fighting over which Nickelodeon show to watch at my house. Little Bear has now been traded for some documentary. No Sonic on the Sega. Now, my Kyrsten may be playing Black Ops with her brother some evening doing something involving lots of guns in a nuke town…?
Now, problems involve jobs, and relationships, and future decisions when once upon a time, they were blankies needing to get washed, and sleepless nights due to bad dreams, and fights over whose turn it was.
My next step in all this is GRANDMA! Oh, don’t you worry about me! When my kids are happily married and have their kids, I will be the happiest granny you ever did see! Bring on the diaper butts!!!
But, for now, I am just a bit reminiscent. I talk to fellow moms who have kids just now in their first days of college. I watch their eyes and hear their hearts cry out as baby bird number one leaves the nest. It’s such a difficult thing, this letting go. You spend your life knowing it’s coming. In fact, preparing them for just this thing! But, to experience the separation, and to not be there to see what they see and watch out for them. To not know what they eat, or be able to help them get a good night’s sleep…it goes against a mom’s nature.
From the moment we had them we began a painful separation. I felt this deeply when Justin moved away. As if a huge chunk of my heart couldn’t function properly.
I also hear mommas with their little ones getting ready to go back to school. Sadly, to me, some cannot wait for the school bell to ring so their little guys can get out of their hair. I never related to that. I missed them like crazy when they were at school. Life happened when they got home! I guess that’s another reason homeschool ended up so perfect for us.
I also hear parents who will miss their kids as they head back to the land of poster paint and recess. Any of these moms may be like I was where while some were off finger painting, mom was at home with other little ones doing naps and diapers. My days (and nights) were so very full that I’m not sure I could appreciate the joy of it as fully as I tried to.
Those days are so few. And fast. And so very, very precious.
But, let me also say this. Do not believe the lies that the teen years are miserable. Yes, they are challenging and will ask you to dig for strength and wisdom beyond your capacity sometimes! But, they are also full of joy if you let them be. It is positively fascinating to see these little people go through an absolute metamorphosis into real-sized people. My parents always said the fun part was over when we were no longer little. How sad! I know how that made me feel! We all need to know we matter just like we are; that we have purpose and worth no matter how many hormones are surging uncontrollably!
Hug your “babies” today. That little face will only be little for a half a second. We don’t get to snuggle them nearly long enough. Look at that little person as just that. Not a “being” sucking the very life out of you or getting in the way of the things you have to do, but a little soul who just wants to matter and be loved.
From the momma of three simply amazing kids (with really clean rooms, I might add), I give you two pieces of advice.
Leave no doubt in their minds that they are loved beyond measure–that the things that matter to them matter a great deal to you.
And, make each day count. It is a gift.
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