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Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Beginning of the End


There are beginnings, middles, and an end to every story. Beginnings are always fun and exciting. Middles should draw you into the characters and really let you enjoy who they are, and for me, endings are always bitter sweet. There will never be another time in my life in which this little bit of knowledge has so much meaning in my life.

You see twenty-one years ago my oldest son was born and four years later came my middle son. Both are well past the middle stage and well on their way into manhood. I was almost to the homestretch! The end of the road as they say…that point in my life when it would suddenly resort to being MY life once more. (And years ago I would have appreciated this a little.) And then out of nowhere five years ago I had another son. Kabam! My entire life changed but for the better I think.

I was much older. I was a little more patient. I was more appreciative of the little things. And then when my oldest son moved out last year it hit me that these years really don’t last forever—like we think they do. And it shed a new light on how little time I have spent with ALL of my kids.

Years ago, I was too rushed. Too impatient. Too young to appreciate this thing called motherhood to the fullest. (Those of you who waited to have children will probably not understand this last part but it’s the truth for me. I was too young to really understand what “being a mother” really meant.)

Now I’m far past those years of impatiently rushing through my life and I’ve slowed down significantly, and I’m learning to take the time to enjoy “smelling the roses.” I did an excellent job raising—what I term “the last few gentleman of the world”— and I’m proud of that. But this go-round feels a little different for me. I’ve really taken some time to just hold my youngest— much to his chagrin—and while I feel like I held my first two boys just as often, something just feels different. This time I know it’s the last time. I know this part of my life will end and I catch a glimpse of that ending EVERY single time my oldest son gets into his car and drives home when he visits. I can see my very chaotic house suddenly growing very silent. Although I will finally have the time to do whatever I want,  I think the idea of “having more time for myself” is actually a little unnerving.

So this Monday my youngest son enters Kindergarten for the very first time and it has hit me: This is the last chance I have to get this right. This is my last chance at watching this incredibly beautiful child grow into a wonderfully, productive, bright young man, just like his brothers are.

So we’ve bought all of our school supplies, packed our bookbag, picked out the lunch box, and talked about all the wonderful things he will learn in school. He’s excited. And Mommy is a little miserable. I know I should be happy that I will have a little more time to myself but I keep seeing a glimpse of this empty house when all my kids are grown and gone. All that time I’ll have to do the things I’ve dreamed of. But I CAN wait. Because for now…I’m ready to just be Mommy. It’s my last chance to take hold of these moments and treasure each one. I have plenty of time left in my life to do other things. There is nothing that I can’t accomplish and with a little effort, I will do it well. But I CAN wait.

I hear other people say “I can’t wait for the kids to just go back to school.” And it makes me a little sad to hear that because I said those very same things. But someday they are going to watch their grown children get in the car and drive to their own homes, and then face an empty house. You’ll have time to run all your errands, write, read, work on your career, but you’ll never have these moments with your children again. They’ll be placed away in the memory box, treasured when you bring them out, and you’ll remember the wonderful smiles you shared with your kids, but you’ll never experience these moments again.

So here we stand, my son and I, at the beginning of his school years. Hand in hand, we’ll walk into that school together, and he’ll be so excited, and of course, mommy will cry. Because I know this is the last time I’ll have to drop off my children on their first day at school. The last time we’ll have to rush out to Walgreens to buy the supplies for a project that’s due the VERY next day. This is the last time he’ll forget his lunch on the dining room table and I’ll have to take it to school for him. This is the last time he’ll play hookie from school and I’ll come home to find him playing video games instead of staying in the bed sick. This is the last time we’ll have to pick out gifts for his teacher that “just right” and sign every Valentine card a different way because it’s important to him to do so. This is the last time I’ll have to attempt to bake cookies that I will burn and have to run to the store for “store-bought cookies” because I’m simply not proficient at baking. And my son and I will wink at each other when his teacher asks if he made these cookies for the class and then we’ll giggle about it later that night.
  
This is the last time he’ll be nervous before his first dance, he’ll ask me questions about girls, find his first girlfriend, break up with his first girlfriend, drive a car, buy a tux for Prom, and someday this will be the last graduation I attend. It’s bittersweet as endings usually are.

Whatever life brings you…I hope it’s bittersweet. I only want to leave you with this small piece of advice my mother gave me when I was very young “Enjoy the little moments every day.” Sometimes life isn’t this grand scheme…sometimes it is just a little bittersweet. Enjoy your day whatever it brings.    

Caiden

First hair cut with "big" brother

 First Bicycle 

Brother's first football game. Caiden was his biggest fan. 
First mail from Grandma

  Mommy and Caiden on our way to the our last trip to the park for the summer. 

  

13 comments:

  1. What a sweet post, Suzie!

    As I'm currently dealing with a temperamental teenager, I do find some peace in the memories of when he was a sweet little boy. Please tell me that it gets easier as they get older. I'm not in a hurry for him to leave me, but I am in a hurry for him to be nicer.

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    1. You're in the roughest patch atm, Ava. It does get much better. He will become your best friend again I promise. It'll take some time and they go through some rough spots but those rough spots are the things that make the sweet spots, that much sweeter. You'll get there. <3 ya

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  2. Awww, Suzie. :)

    My Monster is starting Kindergarten this year, too, and he might very well be the only niece or nephew I ever have. It's been hard over the last year, because for the first 4.5 years of his life I lived two blocks away. Now I live a massive airplane ride away. Each time I see him, he's grown so much from the time before. He speaks more fluently, he's lost more teeth, he's grown more inches, and he's doing more things on his own and doesn't need help any longer. It is very bittersweet.

    I'm really proud of you for recognizing that it won't last and cherishing those moments while you have them. Hugs!

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    1. Aww I swear Catherine I wish I'd had an aunt in my life like you. You are so good for him and vice versa. I love to read all your monster posts on twitter. I don't participate much anymore but I do keep up with you all. And it's so sweet to see how much your monster loves you. Thanks for stopping in.

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  3. Aw, what a wonderful reminder to cherish every moment when you don't want to strangle them. LOL. JK, of course. I love my kiddos and can't imagine not having them at home. My son is going into 10th grade this year and I will soon find out what it means to have a birdie flying the coop. Well, maybe. He really likes his room and my cooking. He said he may attend a local college his first year or two and live at home. (Momma smiling real big)

    One thing about having your kids spread out in age is that you'll likely have grandchildren before Caiden leaves home. That will be a whole other experience that I think you're going to LOVE!!! I can see you being Fun Nana. Grandparents often tell me they had no idea how much they would love their children's children until they held that grand baby for the first time. Each ending of a phase of life brings a new one. :)

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    1. Oh you are so right, Samantha. I should really remember that and I am looking forward to being a grandma someday. Of course, not anytime soon, but someday. I absolutely adore being a mom though so I hope being grandma is even better. We'll see. Thanks for that great reminder. I needed that. We have open house tonight so we'll see if I make it through tonight without getting all teary-eyed.

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  4. I'm heading to Florida this week to celebrate my oldest nieces sixth birthday. My sweet niece Samantha Grace is heading to pre K this year and I have a feeling the tears are going to roll. It's amazing how time flies, it seems like yesterday we were waiting hours for her to get here. The hardest one for me was watching the little girls I baby sat begin to have children of their own.

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    1. It is amazing how time flies. And sometimes I wish I could make it stand still for just a moment but that's wishful thinking lol. It's so hard to watch the children in our lives whether they are ours or not, grow up. But it's so worth it when they begin to be wonderful young men and women and watching them create something of themselves. Life is a beautiful thing. Thanks for stopping in and sharing with me! I feel better already!

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    2. Oh, wow! It doesn't seem like little Samantha Grace should be going to pre K yet.

      Have a great time on your trip! I can't wait to hear about it when you get back. :)

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  5. Beautiful post. And I'm reminded that the same advice holds true at the other end of the spectrum as I take caregiving responsibility for my 88-year-old mom. Sometimes (well, often), I want to strangle her, and then I remember how blessed I am to be able to know her as an adult. Thanks for that reminder!

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    1. Aww Suzanne. That's a tough place to be. My mother had a heart attack several years ago and it was a jolt to my system. We're not at the caregiver stage quite yet but I know it's coming and I dread it. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to switch roles with your mother. I wish you all the best of luck. Thanks for stopping in and sharing your story with us!

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  6. Oh, Suzie, this is so me. I ADORE my babies--but I know I don't appreciate this time enough. I had 3 babies 3 years and under. ALL of our family is up in the Midwest. My husband worked 3 jobs at one point. I was probably clinically depressed, just not diagnosed, and ungodly miserable. I had no help, no time, and honestly, no hope. It was a very hard time for me. Still, I regret not enjoying those beautiful baby years more because now I don't remember much of them. Thank God, we took videos, but I can hardly watch them without crying. I miss those chubby fingers and snotty noses (no so much the whole poop thing. ;) and would give anything to hold them like that again. But I can't. And I hate it. Ugh. Now I'm crying. Ack!

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    1. LOL I didn't mean to make you cry! But I know what you mean. I rushed through the first two, so much so, that it seems like it was all a blur now. And I didn't take any videos sadly, we just had photos but they don't seem to be enough. My biggest fear is not remembering this feeling when I am much older. Forgetting who they were as children and forgetting those precious moments that I cherish so much now. Ugh, now I'm crying lol. Well at least we can cry together at any rate. Thanks for sharing, Andris, it makes me glad to see I'm not the only one feeling this way.

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