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."



Adam and Crystal said...

Shelly, that was beautiful 💜

Andie said...

Shelley oh this is hard and also something for you to use to
Grow and breathe and embrace. 🤎

Tabitha Studer said...

yes! you definitely carpe'd the hell out of those days. I feel for you momma, how incredibly bittersweet and quite honestly unbelievable the way that time passes. What a beautiful window this new stage will open for you, but also how rose colored the old window looks now. xxxo sending all my momma hugs to you!