I am not usually the sentimental type. While other parents cherish the little moments when their little ones curl up on their laps, I have been eagerly awaiting getting some space. Don’t get me wrong, I do absolutely love my children. They are my heart and soul, and my reason for breathing. But after 12 years of being a mom, there are more times than not when I feel, for lack of a better way of putting it, touched out.
You know what I’m talking about, right? When your body no longer feels like your own. Somebody is always touching you, grabbing you, needing you. I know, I know—that’s what being a mom is. But there have been times in the past few years where I have found myself yearning for the moment when I might be able to pee without an audience. Where I wasn’t a living jungle gym for tiny feet and hands to explore. Where I am not getting pseudo-accidentally punched in the tit or the vag on a semi-regular basis from being crawled all over. Where I could relish in a little bit of “me time.”
Did I mention it has been 12 years since I had some good, old-fashioned me time? 12. Years. Involuntary manslaughter has a shorter sentence. And no, I’m not equating motherhood to a prison sentence. Well, I sort of am because it sort of is, but it’s not necessarily in a bad way.
So, as you can see, I’m not somebody who most people would label as sentimental. Yet last week, I stood for a moment in my 5-year-old daughter’s doorway and watched her sleep for a few moments. Her long, dark-blonde hair a complete rat’s nest from a day of hard play framing her angelic little face, and I had a pang of loss. It hit me right then—I am about to lose her.
Last week was the eve of our district’s “Back to School Night!” where we get to find out whose classes my kids are going to be in this year. We will load up their backpacks with this year’s school supplies and traipse across the threshold of the elementary school and the middle school. We will spend twenty minutes sorting supplies into neatly labeled yet chaotically messy piles in each teacher’s classrooms, and spend maybe another thirty seconds introducing our children to this year’s
target teacher. The kids will excitedly chatter with some of their classmates and begin plotting the newest ways to boycott homework and sneak gum into school. And it is my baby girl’s first year going to school. She is starting kindergarten. I am getting ready to send her out into the world. And this is where I start to lose her, just a little bit at a time.
The Start of Kindergarten
Up until now, for the past 12 years, I have been a stay-at-home-mom. My kids have literally been the sun to my universe. I spend the days wrangling shoes, picking raisins out of trail mix, smearing sour cream onto tortillas, putting their grilled-cheese sandwiches on the plate with the burned side down (because that’s the kind of mom I am), cutting crusts, hunting hair brushes, wiping noses,
yanking out brushing hair, locating lost glasses, and refereeing arguments with amazing tenacity.
Every four years, another one of my children begins kindergarten. And I no longer have a say about every little thing they do with their day. I lose a few precious hours each and every day to school. Each attachment formed with another person is another little thread that is detached from me. And if I do my job right as their mother, it will happen with alarming regularity until they are ready to stand on their own. But this process—starting kindergarten—it is the very first thread that is cut. This is where I start to lose her, just like her brothers before her.
Her brothers are amazing little boys. I think my husband and I have done alright by them. The oldest, 12, just tested into the gifted program at school and is kind, generous, and an incredibly hard worker. My middle, 8-going on-50, is funny, imaginative, and a perpetual worrier. And now my princess. My baby girl, 5, is about to make her way into the world one bus-ride at a time. I knew this day was coming. And yet…I’m feeling an incredible sadness knowing this is it. I am taking the first step to losing her to the world. It’s not a bad thing at all. But maybe my desire for “me time” has been highly overrated… .
Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to read this post all the way to the end. This post was written back in 2015, so my kids are a little bit older now. However, for those of you with Little Ones starting school this year, I know you’ll relate. And this is absolutely it. This is how and when we start to lose them. Because really, That’s Just Life!