My youngest son started his Sophomore year of high school a few weeks ago. I was a sophomore when I met his dad. My oldest son is 20, the same age we were when we became pregnant with him. Just to put some context to it so you know where I am coming from.
This morning, bright and early af, my son got ready for his first day of 10th grade. No, I still didn’t get up and make his breakfast, we walked out front, like we do every year. Before he heads to the bus stop, (pause- yep, some kids still take the bus and it picks him up at 6:30 am which is it’s own form of torture for teenagers) Josh says, “Ok, Come on, Lets get this over with”. I take a picture of him, in the front yard, like we do every year. (I noticed right away it was the same outfit he wore to his first day of school last year but he doesn’t care, so why should I)?
Clicking away as fast I can before he escapes. Surely I will capture a smile. “Stop Mom”.
After picture time, I watch him walk down the street, putting his headphones in. I hope he is listening to something good.
This is when I rush upstairs to shower and get ready for work. I’m scrubbing, and shaving.. yada yada. As I am blow drying my hair in a rush, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. A real glimpse. I look myself in the eye and I said, “Stop, Momma stop.” Hahaha. Ya Right! I don’t have time to stop. To fully succumb to what just happened. My baby. My youngest. Going into his 10th grade year? Nope. Not gonna. You can’t make me, momma. I cannot dwell in this. I am going to see a new momma that has a long dark tunnel in front of her. I am going to be a twinkle of light to her. I have no time to dive into my own being. My own mothering journey. My own tunnel. Nope. I get to be the guide in someone else’s tunnel.
Then it flooded me. But I didn’t stop.
With my first son, Jacob, (Jacob Drew, I love you), I was able to stay home and entertain him and teach him. Actually, I was entertained and taught by him. What a gift. Absolute JOY! Like I have never experienced. “An answer to a prayer I hadn’t found, the answer to the silence, he’s my sound” (Blue October) My husband had joined the Navy, before we knew we were pregnant, and before we were married.
When Jacob was about 6 weeks old, we joined daddy in Whidbey Island, Washington. I was so grateful I didn’t have to work those first years. We had pumpkin patches and berry picking farms and tulips as far as the eye could see. Slow. As slow as raising a baby could be. Co-op pre-school and VQ-1 Military wives clubs, and book clubs.. and commissary grocery shopping. This little tiny being saying, “Stop momma, stop. Homme” (Hold me).
He wanted to be with me. When they are little they want to be with you. They are not “them” without you. You are them, and they are you.
I can feel the umbilical cord ripping and stretching out of my body. They wander. They try new slides at the park. They go down scary water slides. They attempt jumps at the skate park. All the while our insides are being invisibly awakened by this new found independence. Every once in a while you will here them say: “Stop, momma stop”. We would read. They read to us. In a voice sent from heaven. (Until they don’t stop talking, but that is a different blog)
First, you’re walking them to their classes, then to the front door of the school, then you are dropping them off in the “kiss and go” lane, then they are taking the bus… THEN THEY ARE ARE DRIVNG. IN A CAR. AWAY FROM YOU.
OK..Stop. Then you pray. Even if you have never prayed before, you pray. Because seriously, what else are you going to do?
Then things change. And you work. Because here in America, it is, for the most part, a two income family. You need it. Then you take your babies to daycare, or nannies, who by the way, will never do it as good as you, but that doesn’t mean it is bad. It is just different. Find someone that loves your children the way you would. Kisses and all.
When you drop them off, look back and wave. It is ok. It will break your heart, but do it anyway. Watch them at the window saying (crying) “Stop, Momma Stop”. But keep going. Only look once. When your day is done and you go back to pick up your precious angel, they start to realize that you’ll always come back for them.
As moms, we know the struggle of working and managing a household. We are the doers, the maids, the cooks, the tutors, the chauffeurs, the nurse, the referee, the nurturer. The struggle is real. In the midst of being the doer, you have the little un-doer, saying, “Stop Momma, Stop.” Stop. All that stuff can wait.
You lose some of your identity when you become a mom. Who you were before is no longer. But, you are better then before. As they get older and grow more independent, so do you. This can also make you feel lost. I remember the first trip to the grocery store without a child in toe, I felt lonely, insecure. I had no one telling me to “Stop”. ( I will admit, it started to feel quiet lovely and shopping was so much quicker. Imagine that.)
There is so much in the middle. It will get even harder. If you’re in the depths of sleep deprivation, doing the 5 S’s repeatedly, feeling like the milk maker of all milk makers, don’t be pissed that I am saying it will get harder. It is just reality. Along with things getting harder, things get easier too. It is just a different kind of hard. Being a new mom is no joke. It is utterly exhausting. Stop.
When they start to become in charge of their own choices, when they have their own responsibilities, you think, oh my gosh, I hope I stopped enough. I hope I got through to them. I hope I did ok.
My point to all this? The tables will turn. You will still hear, “Stop Momma, Stop” because now, you’re annoying and embarrassing.
You will be one to say “Stop”
Stop growing so fast
Stop eating junk
Stop saying that
Stop driving so fast
Stop and think before you do
And then one day, they will come back around, full circle, because they will realize, you really did know everything all along.
Life moves so fast. No pauses, no rewinds. Stop when you can because even when the days are long, the years are short.
My 2 beautiful boys. We have survived. Even through tattoos.