Something is missing. It’s a child. No, I didn’t lose my kids. I just dropped off both babies at school. My little one is only in school for two hours, but for the first time in four years I am without a kid in tow in the middle of the morning and there are all sorts of emotions happening right now. I am ecstatic. I am sitting in a cafe, enjoying a cup of tea (very British of me, I know), writing. It’s a different experience as my brain feels fresh. I normally sit down to write late at night after the kids have gone to bed and there is a fogginess. Did I mention, I am ALONE? I am also excited for my kids. In the midst of this never-ending pandemic, they get to go and have somewhat of a normal experience. But there is an emptiness too. Here I go, fighting back tears, as the lump in the back of my throat begins to build. I can only imagine what the other cafe-goers will think of the woman sitting next to an empty stroller, crying. I need to hold it together.
Over the last year and a half I chose to be happy, even when it was difficult. I wasn’t going to let the craziness around us take away the one thing that I value the most; enjoying my kids. Of course I had my moments, like all parents. But I think I realized how fast time was going (even in a slow paced year). I didn’t want to waste it, only to turn around and realize anxiety and stress stole something from me. The moments I’ve had with them thus far in their lives, especially in the past year, are moments I will forever cherish and am so grateful for.
Life moves from one phase to another and it’s always a surreal feeling. I still have my boys home (especially the 2 yr old) most of the time, so life for me hasn’t drastically changed yet. But this school year feels a bit different and I think it’s because I am realizing the cliché is true; they grow up before your eyes. My husband and I have decided we are very happy with two savages, I mean children. Why rock the boat? Having that knowledge makes it all the more real that my role as a mommy will change. I think as mothers we are always trying to figure out our role. Should we coddle them more or should we take a step back? Should we run to them when they fall or let them get up on their own? To me the answer is always somewhere in the middle. It depends on what they need at the moment. And right now what my kids need is exactly what I need; to be a bit more independent of each other. It’s time we find our groove before the codependency becomes irreversible.
When my first started pre-k I realized I was just as attached to him as he was to me. Actually, I may have been more attached as he walked into school without so much as a glance back at me, and I was the one wanting to take him right back home. As hard as it is to let go, I think we all can agree, it’s what is necessary. It’s not just important for our children to grow, but for us to grow as mothers and as individuals. Needless to say, the emotions I had dropping the second kid off at school were drastically different from the first. I totally cut in front of the precious little girl ahead of us, pushed him through the door, yelled an introduction, and waved goodbye! But as I sit here I get a little sad. I realize my baby is no longer a baby. I’ll most likely never be carrying a baby around with me 24/7 again. I may not always be ready to enter the next phase in my little ones' lives, but I will certainly embrace this one and even more importantly, enjoy it.