Yesterday, I did not see my middle child from the time I dropped her off at school until 9pm. I saw my oldest for about an hour after school before he was off to his friend’s house. My daughter was at the dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker last night and performing all day today. She will be there all day tomorrow, too.
Our youngest was thrilled, by the way, to have a full day with just mommy and daddy. This is how it used to be with the other two.
Today, we went to the arts center to have lunch with our dancer between shows. She was surrounded by other ballerinas, and, although she was pleased we were there, she did not seem to mind at all when it was time for us to leave.
My twelve year old came by the house for a bit this afternoon to pick up some sleep over supplies we had forgotten for him since he is sleeping over again tonight. He gave me a hug, said he was having a great time, and was gone again.
These are good things, right? It is great that my middle child has found something healthy she connects with, and it is wonderful for my son to have strong positive friendships. So, why do I feel mixed up inside?
It is because it has started. They are beginning to have lives that do not center around our little family unit.
I was feeling the strangeness of not having the kids home, then Facebook had to go and do a jerk flashback of what I had posted on this day in 2009. It was three tiny round faced children dressed in black in red Christmas outfits. My tiny cherubs.
I don’t know those kids any more. It is hard to explain. I know my children, but I don’t know the kids in that picture because my kids have grown and changed into their own people now. I don’t miss the toddler/preschool/early elementary years. I really don’t.
However, I am a little uncertain of the years we are on the edge of. The years in which my children no longer want to be home on the weekend to do the daily tasks of life together, play a game, make cookies, or maybe watch a movie.
I know they will still want to do those things, but not nearly as often. Soon, their friends from school will know more about their thoughts and feelings than I do… perhaps they already do.
This is all a natural and healthy transition. I am just feeling a little sadness about it. I always thought this would be a relief. That I would celebrate…you know… like I did when I was finally able to walk out of the house without a diaper bag in tow or when I was first able to start using the restroom without a child interrupting me.
This feels different.
I am proud of who my children are and who they are becoming. I guess my heart is so full it hurts a little. I can feel it stretching as my children grow and change.
I am going to have to let go a little more and pray a little harder. My babies will not always want me with them, but I pray the lessons they learn today will help them navigate all their tomorrows.