I don't wanna miss a single thing you do...
Being a parent is amazing, isn’t it? I mean, we all make complaints and joke about the typical parent cliches. We don’t get to pee alone, we may never get a full night of sleep again, and the ever changing likes and dislikes of kids is enough to make anyone pull their hair out. But generally, it’s a pretty magical thing, this parenthood gig. Having finally “settled in” at home in North Carolina, I decided to double down on my Momdom this fall. Not only did I volunteer to be one of the running coaches for my daughter at her school, I also decided to volunteer for the PTA. While these are things that I always assumed I’d do when I became a stay at home mom, if I’m being honest, my intentions aren’t entirely altruistic.
I woke up Tuesday morning of this week, and suddenly my youngest child was three years old. THREE! On one hand, it seems unimaginable that my sweet, ginger haired baby has become this wild, silly three year old boy so quickly. On the other, so much “life” has happened during his short existence, there are times that his infancy feels like it was a decade ago. I’ll preface this next statement with the fact that all of my kids are miracles to me. Giving birth to all of them were the most awe inspiring, humbling, heart exploding moments of my life. But Nathan…giving birth to Nathan was a feat I wasn’t sure I was going to conquer. I knew, when I found out I was pregnant with him, that it wasn’t going to be like my other pregnancies. We’d just found out Kenny’s tumor was back; and I knew that I’d be growing him under some level of duress. Gratefully, in retrospect, I had absolutely, unequivocally no fucking idea how hard.
Three years, four states and a whole “new life” since, and I still can’t say much about it. I just can’t. Some might conclude that, because I don’t speak about it, that it wasn’t notable; that maybe it was just a “tough time.” Friends…that summer was a level of devastation that doesn’t even touch the scale. I was terrified I wasn’t going to be able to get Nathan to the surface safely. I felt terrible for the little person trying to form inside of me, while my insides felt gutted. When the time came, I was never so happy to get a baby out; not because of pain or discomfort, but simply because I didn’t feel like my body was a safe place for him. When that child roared into this world, and I mean ROARED, I’d never felt such deliverance. My poor husband sat on the coach next to me, only semi-able to process the birth of his child, and all I could think was “Nothing is taking this moment away from me. Not brain cancer. Not family drama. Nothing.” As they laid my new son on my chest, tears of sweet relief poured out. Months of trepidation that my agony was going to keep him from existing, from thriving, and there he was. Beautiful and healthy in my arms…and suddenly…three years, four states and a” whole new life” away…he’s three years old.
It’s crazy, this life. Every year seems weirder than the next. Cami is beginning third grade next week, the running program being the first activity she’s joined mindfully of her own volition. Benny is entering first grade, already his second year of elementary school. In my heart, they’re all still toddlers…unassuming and untouched by the unpredictability of life. But as I realized on Tuesday, time is going, and they’re growing, whether my heart believes it or not.
This past week, I needed my license renewed; and I watched as a flurry of sixteen year olds waited to take their driver’s exams at the DMV. It dawned on me, as my daughter sat patiently waiting for my turn, that it wouldn’t be long until our roles were reversed. If the next six years pass with the gut wrenching velocity that her first (almost) nine went, I’ll be sitting in that room, waiting for her to finish getting her license before I know it. As much as I love to think I’m becoming more involved in their school for their sake, at least in part, it’s for mine. Every day they grow, is every day they begin to lean away from me. Every new decision they make on their own, from running club, to what electives to choose in middle school, to what college they decide to attend, will strengthen their confidence in themselves, needing my guidance less. These are things I pray for, for my children. For self confidence, to grow into thriving, independent adults, but daaaaang it hurts. So while you’ll still catch me grumble on occasion, I want to hold onto these years as tightly as I can, for as long as I can; even it means less sleep and a cheering squad while I pee.
I hope all of you parents and guardians out there have an excellent kick off to the school year this next week! May your resolve be strong, your angst be short lived, and may your kiddos learn lots! XOXO