A few years ago, I came home after my morning run to find my little toddler asleep in my bed. She sat up and gave me a grumpy look and went back to sleep. A feeling came over me, then…the end of an era. Soleil is our last little one and she had just decided to enjoy sleeping.
Until that morning, I had tip-toed around my house for a good two years, trying not to wake her. I was so moved by this that I emailed my mommy friends and reminded them that every stage of our babies lives are shorter than we think they’ll be.
I got an unexpected response from those moms, and later an email column called Life in the Mommyhood was born. That column has since graduated to the blog you’re reading, and I wanted to share with you how it all started. Below is the first column I sent out.
It’s funny to see how our life has changed since I wrote this, but I still want to encourage moms of young ones to enjoy their children.
Here it is:
A new season in the ‘Hood
Today opened a new chapter in my life. After being home for the last five years with little ones, I came home to an empty house for the first time. My daughter Coco is starting sixth grade and Soleil is at her first day of preschool. I surprised myself with just how okay I was. No sobbing or hanging out in Soleil’s new class too long. In fact I was the second mom to leave the classroom.
Not like when Coco started first grade at a new school and I sat awkwardly in a student chair as every other parent left. I sat right through circle time and math time, avoiding her teacher’s wary glances towards me. I stayed until first recess, which may have been a record. Today, though I was a brave girl and after snapping a few photos and chatting with the other anxious moms, I was on my way.
In full disclosure, I must tell you Soleil is only in preschool two days a week. You might say I am testing the waters, her lifejacket firmly secured, mommy no more than two feet away. I am slowly letting her go, not ready to see her swim across the pool on her own. Even if she can.
Considering this, all was fine until my husband called to see how I was. His concern moved something in me and the tears came fast and fierce “I’m okay, I’m probably just ovulating,” I rationalized through my sobs as my husband stayed on the line (in total fear, no doubt).
Then out of my mouth rushed, “I just didn’t think it would be quite so soon that no one needed me.” And there it was. I need to be needed. As Eric reassured me that our family still needs me, God quietly reminded my heart of the many blessings in my life. I felt a calming in my spirit as He also reminded me that while my babies may be big girls, my job has barely begun.
Although it seems a chapter in my life is closing, it is more a subtle shifting of seasons. Like the summer heat that lingers stubbornly as fall approaches, my own unique mommy style will linger just as stubbornly as the seasons of life change. Soleil will still want to show off her cartwheels because I’ll still clap with glee for each and every one. Coco is not going to stop our bedtime chats about cute boys, mean girls, and the inherent unfairness of yard duties, because I’ll still pretend not to notice it’s getting late.
Tonight, I won’t be as quick to scold as they laugh that high-pitched hysterical laugh, goofing off when they’re supposed to be brushing their teeth… because I know one day there will be no shrieking in the bathroom. Or in any other room.
I encourage you to make whatever season you are in your best one, because what’s next might be built on today. Seek smiles and hugs while your children still give them freely. Celebrate milestones, the big ones and especially the small ones. Make memories to take with you from season to season.
Your children may be swimming like fish across the pool or clinging frantically to you in their swim diaper. Either way, you’re living in the MommyHood. Seasons change swiftly around here. Enjoy it.