Someday, there will be a last first day of school for my kids forever. When that day comes, I will cry, plead, and grasp onto every “last time” that happens during that school year. That is a few years away but I’m starting to feel that now; it’s as if time is still holding my hand but has one foot out the door.
Today was my youngest son’s last first day of elementary school. This morning was the last time I would walk one of my children to school on their first day of elementary school ever again. I didn’t cry because there was horde of other parents and kids walking with me but now as I sit here, eating my breakfast in solace–unless you count my dog, Brogan, who is eyeballing me like usual–that I feel it all. I tried distracting myself by scrolling through all the Facebook updates that were flooding in, every one poised, some happy, most not-so-much, with boys in collared shirts/chino shorts and the girls with their flowy tops and sandals. But it’s only making my heart hurt more for all the times when I wasn’t paying close enough attention.
For almost seventeen years, I’ve been a mom. I’ve had other roles along the way but, honestly, none have given me as much joy as being a mother. I love my husband dearly and that relationship goes without saying, but being a mom has been nothing short of amazing. Watching the little people I helped create grow into who they are now is indescribable. Actually it isn’t. Life with kids has been: I need all the naps exhausting, holding them in my arms joyful, broken bones stressful, baby snuggles blissful, pull my hair out frustrating, and belly laugh happy.
When I look at my kids, I see the product of what my husband and I have given them. Most of what I see is mind-blowing. How in the world did God trust me with these little souls and how crazy that we got them this far! I also know that I can do better. There are so many moments in their lives where I failed and failed miserably, like the days where I lost my shit and that they had witnessed what I had threatened them with had finally come true, that all of my marbles were gone. We’ve all been there so rather than beat yourself up over it, try to remember that your own “last first day” is out there waiting.
Like the last day you’ll breastfeed, change a diaper, read them the same book four times before they fall asleep, tie their shoes, tuck them in, call you Mama, blow you kisses, play hide and seek, sing funny songs, cry to be held, play patty cake, fix their hair, let you kiss them in public, walk them to school, go on field trips, drive them to school, etc. When you aren’t looking…poof. Just gone.
Before you complain about your life, ask yourself,
Do you know how blessed you are?
Do you understand how much your children look up to you and want to be just like you?
Do you realize some of the best moments of your lives are right in front of you right this second?
Do you know how many women out there would love to trade places with you in a heartbeat so they can do what you complain about each day?”
There will always be struggles. When your kids get older, they just get more expensive, lose their shit ON YOU, and stay in their rooms like hibernating bears. Shit’s going to get crazy and you are going to stress out about how you are going to be able to clothe and feed your teenagers, let alone pay for all of their extracurricular activities. You’ll have smartphones to monitor and cars to buy. You will have teen dances and first boyfriend/girlfriends to stress about. And you will give anything to go back to freaking out about a diaper blow-out and the diaper bag is nowhere in sight.
Newish moms, as your littles with their whiny voices asking for, AGAIN, more milk, their crocodile tears when they fall down but aren’t really hurt, screaming as you try to put the four strands of hair your daughter has on her head into a ponytail just so you can use that cute bow you found at the Holiday Mart, those will be part of all the things you will miss. I promise you.
And if you are dreading the school morning routine with the alarm going off, kids fighting, making sack lunches, the last minute scramble to find water bottles and last night’s homework, carpool duty, etc….stop. Soak up these precious and fleeting moments because someday soon, you will be in my shoes witnessing one of your kids have his last first day and you will cry, plead, and grasp to hang on as time finally slips out of your hand and walks out the front door.