The End of an Era

My kids are all at school.  The cubbies that hold their backpacks are empty and I am here alone.  It's 11:13am on a Tuesday morning, I am attending an online writing meeting for Mine To Tell, and my bedroom door isn't even shut.  There is no one here to interrupt me or ask for food.  There is no one I need to remind to go potty or fetch a water cup for.  There is no one here to dote on or clean up after.

Oh friends.  My feelings have been all over the map on this one. 

On the one hand, I have been waiting for this day for a long, long time. I mean what mom surrounded by littles (remember, at one point I had three sons, age three and under) doesn't dream of the day when she will have six hours to herself?  What mom doesn't push hobbies to the back burner for "someday" because there's just not time (or energy) to devote to them now? What mom doesn't grit her teeth, bearing one more tantrum, knowing that someday this stage will pass and there will be time (and quiet) in which to think a thought to oneself?

But now that I'm here... Now that I drop the twins off, and an hour later drop the littles off, and arrive home to an empty (but for three pets) house... I'm not sure it's all I dreamed of. 

Well, actually that's not true. It's freaking amazing. 

But (but!) as much as I am loving all the time I have (Wyatt has asked no less than six times what I do all day while he's at school) I must admit that it's hitting me hard that this is the end of an era. Growing up, the one thing I knew for sure I wanted more than anything else was to be a mother.  I toyed with the idea of also being a teacher or nurse, but motherhood was the one true calling I never wavered from. 

I am not trying to be dramatic here. I know that I am not done mothering. From 3:00-4:00pm every afternoon I am made accutely aware of just how much four humans can need you as they arrive back from their days full of stories and injustices, permission slips and syllabuses. 

But my days of mothering littles? My days of grocery shopping with miniature legs dangling in front of mine from the seat of the cart? Those are over.  When was the last time I lifted Carly's lanky body into a cart? When was the last time I ran an errand with her small hand tucked in mine, her carrying a puppy or toy to keep her occupied as we waited in line?

They tell you, "It goes so fast", but when you are in it, you don't believe them. Because it doesn't go fast. It drags on and on.  The sleepless nights, the food struggles, the timeouts and "one more story's".  Then you wake up, and you've crossed the finish line.  There are no more diapers, no more night feedings, no more strollers.  No more sippy cups or Baby shampoo.  No more high chairs or booster seats. 

After thirteen years of babies & toddlers to care for from sun up to sun down, I have now been gifted these beautiful hours of solitude.  And I can't help but mourn what was and acknowledge that that was a beautiful time in my life, and I will miss it.

Thankfully there are two things I can rest assured of.  One is that I carpe'd the hell out of those diems with babes at home.  I literally moved to the middle of nowhere Alaska to be with my boys (for five years) day in and day out, and I never took for granted that I got to be home with them.  Same goes for Carly once the boys started attending school. I was made for motherhood and I lived out that destiny daily for a decade. 
The other is that "there is more".  As hard as it is for me to say goodbye to each stage (farewell nursing; goodbye baby teeth; so long mispronounced words)... it helps to know that the next stage is also going to have things I will love, cherish and someday miss.  

Arriving home everyday from drop off and seeing all four of the kids' backpack cubbies empty, my heart squeezes a little bit.  But each day it gets easier. 

I am hopeful that these heavy feelings regarding the passage of time and my children growing will lead me to continue treasuring the gift that these days are.  Because just as I look back at infancy & toddlerhood with rose colored glasses and a wistful tear in my eye, I know that one day I will look back on these days with all four of them still under my roof and lament how quickly it passed.  

"Someday when the pages of my life end,
I know that you will be one of its
most beautiful chapters."



Around Here: Week 37 2021

 {September 5-11th}

{pc: Carly}

{pc: Carly}

{Dropping things off for the twins' friends & saying hello through the window.
We miss you friends!}

{my recipe book: just an old binder I use to collect my favs}

{after school snuggled with Daddy}

{all my babies :: 6 months old}

{all my babies :: kindergarten}

{ 2021 School Year}

Watching... Collateral Beauty, Sarah's Key, and Last Letter From Your Lover this week.  I also watched Worth with Josh for date night.  It was deep and hard, but good to watch.  

Washing... my van inside and out, knowing that once the kids start school I am going to be in there at least four times a day (for drop off and pick up for the twins; and for drop off and pick up for the littles.) So it's all fresh and smells good in there now. (No small feat!!)

Listening... to Breath by James Nestor on audio.  My takeaway was: breathe through your nose as much as humanly possible.  It's associated with such better health. 
Also listening to The Empty House by Rosamunde Pilcher on audio as I went about my housework this week.  This is my second Rosamunde Pilcher book, and both were so incredibly cozy.  (The first one I read was Winter Solstice) If you need a comforting read, both of these are great. 

Hanging... my back-to-school banners (thanks, Target!) and finding all the back-to-school books to put on the shelves in celebration of the new year starting up. 

Enjoying... eggs from Logan Sunday morning when he cooked us both up a batch of spinach eggs.  They were delicious! 

Cleaning... house on Sunday and feeling so grateful that I am raising up such hard workers. Those boys and I manage to get this house into shape in a few mere hours every week and it's just the best. 

Taking... Grady on a walk Sunday and finding that my Sunday morning walks with him are my favorite.  The whole neighborhood moves more slowly and the birds and trees are alive and beautiful and it's a really rejuvinating time for me. 

Starting... Migrelief after too many migraines last week.  I am desperate.  I have tried Propranolol, a number of birth control methods (to control for hormones) and Topomax. None of which has worked. Wyatt's neurologist suggested Migrelief when he was suffering migraines a while back. So I'm going to try it. (fingers crossed)

Baking... bread and tortillas this weekend in preparation for the week ahead and loving how great the house smells. 

Enjoying... a last family day on Labor Day, watching Daddys Home 2 (thanks mom for letting the kids rent it!) & photographing things that make me happy like my stacks of Fiestaware plates and my rainbow glitter collection. 

Finishing... my 105th journal and starting my 106th.  I still can't believe I have filled that many with my ramblings.  

Searching... all over town for masks for Carly after the ones I ordered from Amazon got delayed. Thankfully my friend Kara helped me find some in the back at Safeway and, murphy's law, when I got home my mailbox was full of the masks I had purchased.  Haha!

Exchanging... special bracelets with Carly the day before school.  My sister sent me the link to these a while back and I ordered them, thinking Carly might be comforted by the thought of our matching heart bracelets connecting us even though we're apart.  Truth is, she put hers on one of her stuffed animals and I'm the one wearing mine (as an ankle bracelet) on the daily to remind myself that even though she is gone, we are still connected. Hah! Go figure. 

Comparing... pictures of my babies at six months to pictures of them on their first days of school and cursing time.  How is it both eternal and instant? 

Sending... my four little babes out into the world for their first day of school in 2021.  The twins are off to eighth grade; Wyatt to fifth; and Carly to kindergarten.  I am so proud of them.  We spent the long weekend prepping- washing laundry, packing backpacks and choosing masks. When the time came to jump out of the car at drop off, all the kids happily waved goodbye and took off towards friends and teachers.  Carly's cheerful voice simply echoed, "Bye mom!" as she skipped off with her big brother into the building. 

Crying... for a solid twenty minutes after drop off that first day and just letting myself feel it.  It's not that I am not happy with where we are- I am.  But it's the end of an era.  I am no longer a stay at home mom with babies or toddlers underfoot.  That was a beautiful time in my life, and I can't believe it's over.  

Comforting... Grady as he was so confused with the house basically empty all week.   He was so out of sorts, poor pup.  Everyone's at school, bud.  It's just you and me now! (And the cats...)

Coloring... with Carly before school started and loving the chance to be a little creative. 

Cutting... flowers from our yard and feeling so darn proud of the dahlias I grew from tubers.  They are just so beautiful!!!  I sent some along with homemade banana bread and a "Get Well" care package to Logan & Jack's closest friends.  They along with their mom have been sick and I wanted them to know we were thinking of them. Plus on that first day, I needed a distraction from my own nostalgia and sadness.  

Reading... The Heart's Invisible Furies in an attempt to get back to reading.  I am going so slow this year.  I'm only at 38 books so far!  (Last year I read 105!)

Accomplishing... a handful of projects this week while the kids were at school and feeling so proud and glad that I did them.  The first was organizing the cabinet above our computer. I don't think I have touched that cupboard since we moved in (over two years ago) and now it's so much more organized and tidy.  I also tidied up my recipe book and got rid of recipes we don't use. I have been very focused all week  on accomplishing things on my running to-do list. 

Learning... to laugh when my favorite mug broke. I feel like every week another mug in this house breaks.  I have had the one that broke this week since we lived in Alaska and so it has a lot of memories associated with it, but I am learning that I can keep the memories even if I lose the actual item itself.  Do mugs get broken 24/7 in your house too??

Sending... the twins off to football practice with mouth guards on Wednesday after Logan ran with cross country one day and decided that it was not his cup of tea.  

Signing... all the syllabi in the universe as Logan & Jack unloaded their backpacks everyday after school.  Holy moly!  

Playing... in the mornings before school (no screens allowed) and loving how Wyatt & Carly choose to read, build Jenga blocks and play bubbas. Some of the bubbas even came with us in the car to drop off and waited for Carly in her carseat all day.  I just love her imagination. 

Thinking... still of my friendship break up.  Despite knowing it was the right thing, my friend keeps popping up in my mind.  The pandemic has taken a lot from all of us.  This was a big one. 


Some good words for this week: