I recall walking into weekends with a schedule full of activities. Places to be, things to do, people to see. The kids had birthday parties, activities, and playdates. There was grocery shopping to do, laundry piles to get through and before we even had a chance to realize, it was Sunday evening.
Our life was full, and our kids relied on us for everything.
I remember it being exhausting. I remember wishing for a “day of my own” where I could just do what I wanted to do, relax in the tub with a book, grocery shop without little people begging for items not on my list.
Over time, my days opened up a little bit. Our kids got busy, without us. Suddenly their world did not revolve around mom and dad, and we were just additional personalities while they starred in their own show.
I now have time each morning to make the coffee, and enjoy a few cups. Alone. Before any of the kids have even started to wake. It takes bribery to get the kids to join me at the grocery store and most of the time they are updating me on their plans through text, just so I am in the loop.
There are still piles of laundry, but when I do it, I don’t always recognize the clothing I am washing. I have no idea which hoodie belongs to which child anymore, since they choose their own clothes more often than not.
Family movie nights are a rarity, with the kids usually making plans together before their Dad and I have a chance to join them. Their tastes have changed and they have bonded together as siblings, a unique entity outside of their parents.
Their social life is blooming, and they spend time with friends whose names I don’t always know. Playdates used to be a well thought out activity, with relationships built between parents, and now my kids have a life and personality beyond the walls of our home.
It is too quiet sometimes. And eventually a book and a bath gets boring. The hubby and I get stuff done now, projects that have been on our list for years. We have time to talk, and catch up, and enough left over to actually sit in silence.
While our family used to be a tree with branches, all of one being, now the kids are stretching their roots and becoming saplings of their own… only tied to us for food, water and shelter.
(Okay, maybe that last bit was a bit dramatic, but somedays it gets a bit lonely.)
The kids are growing up, and as they do so, drifting away. We are still a close, tight knit family, but their independence is greater than their need.
I think back to those days when I was smothered in children. When I knew every moment of their day. When our lives were so entwined it was difficult to see where one started and the other left off. When they were a part of me, and I was a part of them.
I remember being at the grocery store, 3 kids by my side, flustered, overwhelmed and having a grandmotherly type look over at me with longing to tell me “This is the best time of your life”. I shrugged off her comment, telling myself she just didn’t understand. This COULDN’T be the best.
But, she was right. Being utterly NEEDED, and overwhelmed with the care and love of these children was the best. When my entire world centred around these beings. When I was so busy I could hardly think, even though I could never seem to get anything DONE in a day, that was the most incredible experience of my life.
I sometimes wish I could be overcome again. I look at other younger mothers, draped in children, exhausted and overwhelmed, and I feel an urge to tell them to just ride the wave, embrace it, and to let them know that this is the best part of their life.
Because someday very soon, they will be asking their kids to wait to turn the movie on. Or inviting them out for lunch just so you can have a chance to catch up. Soon you won’t be the centre of their universe. . . just a moon to their growing life, a witness to their change.
Enjoy it. Embrace it. Soon they will grow up. Drown in them, while you can, as there is sometimes more to life than swimming easily through the waves.
(This post originally ran on Three Chickens and a Boat.)