I've been teetering on the brink of depression for months now at the realization that my days as a hands-on mom are just about over. I loved being a mom of little kids. I gladly and without any regret left full-time employment to stay home with my babies and only grudgingly rejoined the work force as they approached school age and we needed the income. I love my career, and in many ways it allows me to be creative and to walk a path I feel privileged to be on, but I loved being a mom more.
I even loved it when each of them entered adolescence, because I was ready for that maturational stage too. The funny thing about parenting is that you grow up with them. You are really ready for school when it happens, and if you’ve done it right, you’re probably ready for high school when it happens too.
But I was not ready for college or for the leave-taking that followed. Wiser people than me have said it takes about six months to get over being sad when the first one goes off to college, and that is partly true. I found, however, that every time she went back to school after being home for a week or more, I re-experienced the sadness and tears that I’d experienced that first September in 2007.
Now she is graduating from college, ready to move on to the next stage of making her dreams a reality, and her younger sibling is graduating from high school and preparing to start his college experience. They will both be gone by September.
I’ve been pulling together photographs to use on Facebook and in graduation announcements and the result is I’m remembering how incredibly happy those early years of motherhood made me. I never expected to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. As a teenager and as a young adult, I always assumed I would have a career and put the kids in daycare, but when the time came, the reality hit me like a sledgehammer. I couldn’t do it. I had to work for the first few years of my firstborn’s life because we had not planned on me not working, but I managed to finagle night-time shifts and part-time work, so I could be home with her during the day, before eventually quitting completely.
BEST THING I EVER DID. It surprised everybody, myself not the least, that I wanted to be a full-time mom, but still: BEST THING I EVER DID.
So, I am celebrating this particular Mother’s Day with gusto. I know the future holds great things (I can see it through the tears), and that this is just the next stage in our (mutual) development. I am happy for both of them, and I am grateful that they gave me the time they did. I will hold it in my heart and treasure it forever.
Happy Mother's Day!