It wasn’t too long ago that I was publicly bemoaning the fact that May is the busiest month of the year. And I know I’m not alone in thinking this. All over social media, my fellow moms of school-aged children were commiserating with each other and offering solidarity as we all wondered why on earth so much is crammed into one single, solitary month.
But, as I now suddenly find myself in the month of June, I’m looking back on the insanity of the previous month and realizing that perhaps it served a greater purpose.
Because, just as we are entering a new season of the year, I am entering a new season of motherhood.
Last week, my youngest child completed her elementary school education. That means, we are officially no longer apart of the ‘little kid’ community.
No more pumpkin patch field trips. No more walking her into her classroom, enjoying those rare moments when she would actually still let me hold her hand. No more sweet school concerts where the kindergarten class is sure to provide us with some hilarious antics for extra entertainment. No more arriving early enough for school pickup to observe her running around on the playground with her friends.
As I watched my beautiful (inside and out!) girl walk across the platform to receive her promotion certificate, it felt as though the clock of my life just went ‘thunk’ and moved us right into the next time period whether we were ready for it or not. And, we weren’t ready for it.
Of course, it didn’t help matters that less than a week later, my oldest child was promoted from middle school. Full disclosure; there were many days over the past three years that I wondered if we would survive. But, then there he was. Tall, handsome, wearing clothes from the men’s department and size 11 1/2 shoes.
It’s the end of an era for us. Come Autumn, our oldest will enter high school and our youngest will enter middle school and I’m left feeling quite betwixt and between.
I have this vivid memory that stands out from my early years of motherhood. I remember taking my then three year old son for a walk around the neighborhood right after it had rained. He gleefully jumped in puddles watching as his little fireman rain boots splashed water everywhere. And, as we walked, me holding his tiny hand in mine, I closed my eyes for the briefest of moments and inhaled as deeply as I could, then held my breath for a moment. I prayed right then and there, “Lord help me to never forget how this feels.” I wished that I could bottle it up. The softness of his skin, the sparkle in his eyes as he lunged for the next puddle, the sweet smell of spring air.
I had only been a mother for a few short years and yet I knew. Or, at least I thought I knew. I thought I knew how quickly it was going to all go by. But, friends, its gone faster than I could ever have imagined that day as I stood there on the sidewalk with my three year old praying for that moment to last forever.
So, maybe the busyness of May was a gift. A blessing disguised as a crammed calendar. Maybe it spared me from too much time spent thinking about and grieving over the end of this season. Because, I can’t go back to last month. I can’t go back to last season. No amount of wishing for it to all slow down will actually make it go by more slowly.
I’ve never been one to embrace change easily. (If my family is reading this it’s safe to assume they are laughing their heads off at the gross understatement of that last sentence!)
And yet, in recent years, I feel like God has increased my capacity for being in the ‘now’. My melancholy tendencies towards looking back have given way to a greater ability to just simply be in the present season. And maybe that’s one of the most wonderfully surprising gifts of this stage of motherhood. Because, by now, I’m all too fully aware that it goes by faster than we can imagine. But, there are many parenting years still ahead. So I’m learning to exist in that tension between knowing it’s going to go quickly and yet not having the luxury of too much time to dwell on that fact because I’m too busy still being in the thick of it all.
So, as one season slips into the next and then the next and then the next, my heart’s desire is that even if I don’t always happily welcome them with open arms, I will graciously accept their inevitability.
And I will choose to make the most out of all of the joy and the beauty and the memory-making potential that each new season holds for me and will only occasionally glance back over my shoulder at the seasons behind me, if only for a moment, to marvel at how far we’ve come.
Changes in life bring a flurry of emotions and experiences. Still now, in my 60s, I am going through changes in my life that have brought new experiences, feelings, joys and love.
Cindy Barganier says
Vanessa, I have often said this about the Senior year… which you haven’t sampled yet. The first half of the year is so intolerably gut wrenching with the last this and the last that and you have cried a million tears and had about as much sentimentality as you can stand. Then Christmas hits and as soon as they get back to school the crazy schedule hits with the parties and the pictures and the measuring for caps and gowns etc etc etc. By the time you make it to graduation you are like… OK! enough already. Let’s just get this over with. LOL I really do believe it is God’s way of preparing Mama’s heart to push that little bird out of the nest. It helps.
Congratulations to your son and daughter on entering a new school. They will have new adventures to enjoy. it is sad to leave elementary school behind. Have a Blessed and safe Summer.
Yvonne Chavez says
Thank you for this timely reminder of how quickly things change. Being in the midst of my own crazy I was feeling a bit grumpy, but after reading your post I’m ready to tackle today with a big smile
How I wish I could turn back the clock. Our oldest granddaughter just graduated from high school Saturday and it was so hard for me to see her grow up. It seems like just yesterday she was telling me she wanted to live with us forever and ever because she loved to come over and play without her sisters bothering her. Now she’s moving onto play volleyball in college and get her physical therapy degree. Everything she has accomplished she has worked very hard for it and we couldn’t be more proud of her. Next year will be her sister graduating and her other sister the following year. They grew up so fast and I’m still not ready to let them become adults. But I’m just the grandma so I don’t have the say so lol.
Enjoy every minute your son is in high school because it does go by way to fast.
Lisa Mothersead says
My youngest (25/graduate student) left home yesterday. She was gone in college and so I have been an empty nester before. But, this time it certainly feels more permanent. Our oldest daughter is settled hours away. I can tell you that, for me, it feels unlike any other emotion I’ve ever felt. But, this is what we do. We raise them and let them go. It does feel good to know we did our best and a darn good job. They were a priority. No regrets.
Shirley @Housepitality Design s says
I remember that day too…however, what hit me the hardest was the last day of his Senior year…knowing that soon he would be leaving the nest. But thinking back, it was the day of a new adventure as many before and the many joys that have come since that day.