This post is for me. It's a chance for me to just think. To not worry about how it begins or how it ends, or worry if I worked in a solid storyline and then tied it up all neatly up in the end. It's for me to sit and think. So please bear with me.
These last few months have been rough for me as we gear up to send the girls to school this fall. When people find out they're starting school, they give me these looks that say, "And isn't mommy so glad?" It seems to be the common assumption that I am happy to see them trudging off to school. That it brings me joy to open the door, kick 'em out with a book bag on their backs, and a "Go learn something!" on my lips. Honestly, I thought it would too. When they were born....gosh, sometimes it hurts to think about "when they were born"....I sat and practically lusted after the day when I'd have any amount of time to myself every single day. In the haze of those sleep deprived early years, nothing seemed more exciting...or further away. So I plugged forward, everyday. And somewhere in the whole "moving forward" part of things, something changed for me and now I'm just not so ready to open that door for them. Not just yet.
I know what school is. I know what it does. I know it's a step they need to take. A step away from us and towards their own futures. And I want that for them. I dream for them, I always have. Big dream. Successful ones too. And this is where it starts.
So why does my heart have to hurt so much right NOW? Everywhere I look in this house I see those early years flashing in my eyes. Little hands forever reaching up and grabbing breakable objects, the year the Christmas tree had to be gated up and they still managed to knock it over, a little sprite managing to get herself up on the top of the dining room table, laughing and full of pride with her feat. And the pictures. Good grief. I have this thing about never ever throwing away a picture of them, but I'm running out of room in albums, so I will sometimes stash them in odd places. Then one day, when searching for the garlic masher, I find myself finding a handful of pictures from when the girls were 10 months old and getting into Desitin. Or our first real vacation with them, smiling on the beach.
I've been blessed to be here with them. To stay home and be a part of their every single moment. It's been hard, I won't pretend that it hasn't been. There have been days when I wasn't sure I could make it. Days when it was all I could do to will myself to not curl up in the corner. On those days it was very easy to remember that there was a time when I was certain I would NOT be a stay at home mom. Not me. I'd have my kid and be back at work because that's why I went to school and by golly, I wouldn't give that up for nothin' or no one. Of course, somewhere along the way my heart melted to these two and thus I found myself navigating some rough days on stormy seas of twinfancy and toddler hood. But somehow, even during those bad days, there was a purpose. I knew that my being home was right for us. It may not have been my choice in the beginning, but it was the right choice.
I can honestly say that I've "Been There" for everything. I didn't miss one thing. First words, first steps, first foods, first boo-boos...all etched in my minds' eye. And I realize how precious that is. It's funny though, in a way, that I thought that all that "Being There" would somehow make this next step...letting go...easier. That I'd be more than ready to share them. But it's not making it easier. And I'm not. Not totally, anyway. I find myself counting down days Start Day. Mentally trying NOT to think about how many Saturdays are left before I say, "This is the last Saturday before they start school" or trying not to picture that first morning when we'll load up the van and go; book bags on and ready. And I really try not to think about that first time walking back into the house after dropping them off. Alone.
I know people think I'm over dramatic on this. I tend to be on a lot of things, but this is hard for me. I FEEL it too much. The 3 of us have, it seems, just adjusted to each other and formed this great bond. Our days are no longer spent in a tug of war over power. They no longer seem to insist on trying to push the limits, and I no longer feel the need to constantly restrain them from being themselves. Or holding them back. And they've blossomed. And I've had the privilege to watch them! And just when it's all getting good and rolling along at a great pace, it's time to send them off? Why is that?
Another thing that worries me about this new stage (and this could be a novella all of its own) is my place in this whole scheme. I used to see myself heading back to work right away and picking up my career. But. Now I'm not so sure I see myself in that role just yet. I can't imagine a job that I want to share my precious family with. My time with them, the work I do with them, my place HERE. I'm not ready to split that with any other entity. Not yet. My heart may change, I know. I'm willing to allow that. And I'm open to it. Maybe what's happening here is that I feel there are too many changes coming at me. The girls in school and (so people assume) my going back to work. But I'm not there yet, darn it. My place is right here. Doing what I don't know, exactly. But I guess I'll figure that out eventually. And when there is a time that I feel ready to go back, I'll do it. But I worry, what if I never want to go back? I worry.
We're keeping the option open for homeschooling them after first grade. To try it out and see if it works for us...IF we feel that would be best for them. Right now, they're all for it. And honestly, that's helping me get through this present trauma. The idea that maybe, just maybe it'll be one year and then they'll be back here and we'll continue working together, like we are now. Just maybe. But what if? What IF they don't want that after a year of school and friends? And if I'm being really honest with myself, that terrifies me too. Maybe even more than anything else, it's that. The rejection that would be to me. The choice they'd make for friends over ME.
Reading these words back I see how this all sounds. Whine. Whine. Whine. Whine. But I warned you, didn't I? I said this was for me and so it has been. I'm not sure I feel any better by it. May need to crank out a few more of these rants for any true cathartic feeling...but it's a start. It's out there and that's something to me because right now, I feel like I'm surrounded by other people who think I should be glad to see them off in this phase. I'm so thankful that I have 2 healthy girls who can go to school and who do thrive and who have the capacity to learn and love to learn. And, as I said, I'm aware of how precious a gift I've been given that I've been here for them. With them. Everyday. Maybe I'm just not ready for change just yet. Oh.....I will be. It always happens this way. Before any big change. And like every time before, I'll jump the hurdle and move forward. We all will. But for tonight...this night...I'm going to be thankful for my babies, (because that's what they'll always be to me), and for this summer that we have to fill with memories. And I'll try to be excited for what I know will be a great year for them. An exciting start on the rest of their lives. (I'll try).