My Kids Are Growing Up, and I’m Not Sad

mykidsaregrowingup

We went to the zoo over the weekend. Just the kids and I, like “old times,” as they like to say. I had a single backpack with a few drinks and granola bars, my wallet and my phone. My oldest carried her own bag, and my middle child was sure to snag a map at the entrance, even though we’ve been there a hundred times before.

But the “hundred times before” for him, he was in a carrier, or a stroller, or crying before we were able to break away from the diaper change in the floorboard of the minivan. His younger brother would have been screaming, waiting to be nursed, while his four year old sister would have been trying to devise different ways to exit the minivan, due to the wailing and diaper pail smell, of course.

Planning to enter the zoo would have taken me a good forty-five minutes, a double stroller, a backpack carrier, and a minimal amount of sanity. It would have been a labor of love, as all of those tangible motherhood moments are, but this weekend was different. This trip, I could breathe.

My kids are growing up, and I’m not sad.

IMG_4264

Young motherhood totally wrecked me in ways I still cannot put into words. While I watched friends gently swaddle their newborns or lovingly play with their toddlers, I struggled just to make it from sunrise to sunset with my three kids under three. There are women that thrive in the newborn/toddler stage. But for those of us who do not, it is a lonely space to live. You feel isolated when motherhood seems to suit so many before you. You feel alone when having so many babies in one tiny house can make it an impossible feat to leave for a simple trip to the store, while other moms can seemingly balance the newborns in the jogging stroller, a hot cup of coffee, and toddler on her hip, and look stylish while doing it.

What I have discovered is that childhood can indeed be magical, it just depends on where your magic lays. I can make a stranger’s baby cry just by smiling at it in the grocery line, but talking to my nine, six, and five year olds about the giraffes we saw that day, how many marshmallows we plan to roast around the fire tonight, and what chapter they are on in their favorite book I can handle with ease.

My kids are growing up, and I am growing up a little, too.

We returned late that night, trying to make the most of the long weekend. Everyone rubbed their eyes and sleepily unbuckled themselves from their seats and trudged along inside. I grabbed a few empty coffee mugs from the front seat and threw my purse over my shoulder when I spotted my five year old, sitting on the porch steps in the dark, looking at the moon.

“What’s wrong, buddy?” I asked, walking toward him, my shadow growing smaller as I became closer. “Why are you still outside?”

He took my hand and replied, “I wanted to wait on you. I didn’t want you to be alone.”

For all the struggles I had when you were small, thank you, children, for waiting on me. I no longer feel alone.

, , ,

3 Responses to My Kids Are Growing Up, and I’m Not Sad

  1. Ceri September 10, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    Man, I can relate to this in a two-fold way. I had two girls 11.5mos apart. I got to stay home when I wanted, go to work when I wanted and eventually decided to stay home again. Except, they were old enough to be “fun and easy”. We were in a good place. Then, I got pregnant. Along came son #1. And we were homeschooling. So far so good. Then he became mobile. And I was pregnant with son#2. And homeschooling. Things got difficult. And they continue to be so. #2 son is so demanding, clingy and hard. Unless he’s attached. We spend much of our days at home, though to be honest, I prefer getting out as to preserve some of the cleanliness of our home. But then we’re adding on to our home and that adds another degree of difficulty.

    All this to say, I’m in a weird place in motherhood. I want to be enjoying my girls like I was, but I so love my toddler and baby too. I’m ready for this time next year when the baby stage is behind us. But then I fear we’ll never leave the house. The will be 3 year old and 2 year old will be fun but adventurous. I’m hoping I can enjoy it the way I did with my girls.

  2. Skye September 25, 2016 at 10:20 pm #

    Gosh, I needed to hear this from another mom so badly! Thank you for letting those of us who are still in the not-so-fun stage that we are not alone!

  3. Cathy March 16, 2017 at 10:57 pm #

    This is a liberating read. I have a two year old and a 7 month old. It’s stressful, hard and I’m so sleep deprived! There are fun and lovely moments too of course, but mainly i feel frazzled! Thanks for the encouragement that it can get better from here.

Leave a Reply