It does not feel like twelve years. It feels more like five years. But even if the time flew by, it does feel like the end of an era.
As noted yesterday my baby goes off to Kindergarten tomorrow. Less than 24 hours from now. I do feel happy. But mostly, right now, I am feeling a bit pensive.
I am not usually sappy or emotional but an ending requires some reflection. I've been thinking a lot about the last twelve years. What they have meant to me as a mom, a woman, a wife. Wondering what they have meant to my children, my husband, my family.
The years have not been easy. In fact, I'm pretty sure some days were very near impossible. And there have been some days, a lot of them, that were simply amazing. I have had massive breakthroughs and massive failures.
The years have not been without sacrifice. We placed our plans for owning a home and family vacations on hold to just get by with one income. I am thankful that Jeff understood how important I felt it was to be an at-home mom. To be as hands-on as possible. But, if I am honest, it has been difficult watching everyone move, seemingly, blissfully forward while we felt stuck in neutral. It is not a regret though, because I cannot sit here today and say I regret staying home with my kids. If I were going to do it again, I would. Without hesitation.
For the longest time it felt like being a full-time mom was all I was good for...was all I was capable of. I do feel like I did it well, not perfectly, but well. I know I am biased, but my kids are awesome. They each have wonderfully unique personalities. They are kind and generous. They love each other and they love the world around them. Not to mention they are always good for a laugh. Today though, today I know I am much more than Mom. I have a lot to offer the world...whatever it is or however I may figure it out. I love going to school and I am excited to see what this next year is going to bring. It is just so new it is a little scary right now.
The last twelve years have provided some of my happiest and saddest moments...and some of my most frustrating moments. I did the math on diapering four kids...I did not, however, own up to the environmental cost. (I'm sorry, Mother Earth. I will make it up to you.) I know that unless you are or were a full-time stay-at-home mom for a long period of time you may not believe me but it is hard. Really hard. Harder than any job I have had before. There are no sick days. There are no holidays. Stay-at-home moms sleep and wake by their children. Eat and potty by their children. Showers are dictated by the children. And we have the privilege of teaching them every single thing they need to know. We mess up sometimes in moments of exhaustion and sometimes the tiniest thing is a major triumph that reduces us to tears.
Perhaps, the best part of this ending is my husband, Jeff. He's been waiting patiently for his wife this entire time. I have been, until now, run over and dog tired. Then if being a full-time, over-touched, over-nagged, over-whined mom was not enough, I started school and pushed myself even further away. Not on purpose, but life just kind of takes over and before you know it twelve years are gone and your head is spinning and you have to find yourself again.
My job as Mom is not finished. I know that. It has, though, shifted. I can feel it. A tidal shift on an epic scale...or that's what it feels like today. And probably tomorrow.
And...I was wrong above. This is not an ending. It is a beginning.