This morning as I sent Lucy down the hall, at school, I had one of those moments.
I had that wonder of when it will all change.
When I work at school we walk in together, me with my arms full of a lunch, a coffee and my purse… Lucy with her untied shoes, hot mess hair and dino backpack. We always stop at the entryway and I hug her, sometimes I go to kiss her and she slides her forehead down to block me… to which I stop mid kiss and tell her ‘lips bubba’. I watch her, with her swagger, as she walks down the hall to her wing. Sometimes she looks back, sometimes she just chugs down to her room to start her morning work. It’s a good way to start the morning.
Most mornings I walk Amelia into her school. I park my car and she jumps out of her side and we walk hand and hand into her lobby… where she is mostly on time most days. I tell her to enjoy her day, be kind to friends and listen to her teacher. She leans in and gives me a big kiss on my lips and then heads in through the big doors, not looking back. I run back to my car and jet over to Lucy’s school to start our day and watch her swagger down the road.
I snuggle the girls on the couch and feel their hair… I poke them in the belly and tickle them. I nibble them at wake up and tell them to get their butts moving. I love when Lucy shares her morning breath with me, it sometimes smells just like Madeline’s did. I love her giggle when I wake her, when she isn’t cranky. That kid can be a bit of a terd at wake up… but even in her cranky she will ALWAYS kiss me goodbye. She holds my hand and touches my cheek…
We burrow together and watch movies. They lay on my chest, even if I am braless and they don’t even care. We walk through the parking lots holding hands, for safety. They perform elaborate performances, silly dances and sing songs that they try to mimic from the radio (sometimes in their underpants). I am still the one they come to when they wonder about things… things they hear and want to know more about. I am still the one they will deeply cry with, share embarrassments with and ask questions they don’t know who to ask.
A few weeks ago, the girls and I went to one of their friend’s birthday parties, a party at a firehall with a karaoke machine. No one was singing, no one would dance… I decided to just do it. I made Lucy come out and twirl with me… to do our little ‘dancing with the stars’ bit. I forced Amelia to dance and laugh and be silly. I tried to get other little ones out there, some little, little ones joined us. I most definitely danced to the Spice Girls with my ladies… and they weren’t even embarrassed. Amelia tried to act like I wasn’t cool… but then seeing her laughing and giggling and not running away from me, I know that I was the coolest lady she loved.
When will it change?
When will my girls stop wanting to hold my hand? When will they stop kissing me in front of others? When will my crazy extroverted self… embarrass them enough to ignore me or disown me? What timeline am I looking at? When do I become the one they need to separate from…
What will I do… what will I be? I know I am so many things… mom, Erin, President of Maddie’s Mark, homemaker, Teacher Aid, Teacher Assistant, blogger, writer, self-proclaimed type B lady, ex-marathon runner, sister, daughter, friend… and a whole bunch more. My most intense and important role is that of being a mom… what do I do when parts of that role change again… parts I don’t want to lose. I know that motherhood never ceases or stops, even if our children die, but… it will all look so different again.
What will I do… who will I be when they stop kissing me on the lips in the lobby at school. What about when those girls don’t hold my hand? What is it like when they are embarrassed by me when I get all crazy and silly? What is the next step like…
Parenting is hard. I have had a difficult relationship with parts of parenting… the world makes it look so easy and natural. My most proud moments were looking at my three chicks God gifted me, in the middles of my Jeep buckled in safely and singing Justin Bieber. In all of the hard I love holding their hands, kissing those perfect ladies and seeing them at their most vulnerable. I have loved the hard and the easy in this parenting gig… even those stinky puking moments. I even loved the wicked hard moments, even if it took time to know that.
My brain today… wondered what about when this part changes? What does the next part look like… what new roles will life hold for me as me, and me with my girls? I know that asking does nothing, but living answers so much. I know that my children get to grow and change, and that is a good thing. Age is a gift. Some only make it to 5 ½ years old… if you make it 15 or 29 or 40 or 52 or 75 you better have lived it up. I get all of that. I appreciate the growing and the changing… but I also miss the innocence. I am fearing the missing of innocence, the missing of all of those things ‘when they were young’. I think, for me, the hardest part of parenting is the moving forward and living on.
We look at the history of the world and we see time periods, I see the differences and the next stages. Time is impersonal. Life is personal. Parenting is super personal. Life is hard…
Part of me knows that I know I will be just fine, okay with all of the changes… we will all get used to the newness when my girls don’t want to hold my hand, or hear my ideas… or dance with me. I also know it when it is gone… when my role changes it will be hard, painful and positive. We will reach another layer in relationships, but reaching it means they let go of other layers.
My heart is going to miss all of those connection moments, maybe more than my heart, my soul will miss it all. I need to remember to love that missing… that is the parenting part. I need to remember how special it is the have had these moments, these handholding moments. I need to carry it.
Today I watched my little Lucy swagger down the hall and wondered how long I had to have that moment… how long she would care if I was there at goodbye. Goodbye is hard, hardest part of parenting, in every different way that goodbye fits. I will miss the lack of hand holds, the lack of kisses on my cheek or lips… I will miss when my dancing is an embarrassment. All these changes…
What will I do?
Dance embarrassingly anyway.
Kiss those girls on the forehead (once lips are a no)
Hold those hands when I can…
Smiles when life is crazy….
Who knows maybe this next part will be worthy of the missing that losing this part brings. Life is a series of getting through layers and seasons, some are hard and I think some are easier (though I can.not.for.the.life.of.me remember an easy part)… all of it is worthy of the missing, worthy of the pain and the beauty. I will remind my brain in these moments of sadness or future anxiety of just that… to miss those moments but love the next stage.