The Kids Will Be Okay. Will I?

My son Ben will be eight in a few days, and he’s already up to my chin in height. I’m not a short person; he’s just tall for his age and grew several inches this summer alone. He’s great at soccer and was recruited to play with kids a year older than him and no one is the wiser because he’s their size and then some. He’s happy. I’m proud, yet sad.  

My oldest baby is not a baby anymore. He’s only starting second grade, and yes, in many ways he is still delightfully childlike and naive.  But his gangly limbs are a daily reminder that puberty and college and empty nesting are on the way, regardless of my desire to freeze time and complicated feelings about it all.

When I was in the shit (as early parenthood should be universally known), it used to drive me bonkers when well meaning older mothers would stop me to tell me “enjoy every moment, it goes so fast.” Sorry Betty, one kid is shoplifting and the other is having a tantrum in the nipple cream aisle. I’m not enjoying this moment, but thanks.  

Betty was right about one thing, though: it does go fast. And while I haven’t turned into *that* mom, even on hard days now I challenge myself to find one or two (or ten!) moments a day when I stop to appreciate my life and my babies. Not because everything is perfect in that moment. Because for better or worse, it’s a day in my life with my kids who won’t be *this* age ever again.  Sometimes my mindful pause helps me to appreciate what I WON’T miss and that helps me find acceptance and even excitement for the future when my kids will be grown. It reminds me not to lose myself to motherhood because it won’t always be a full-time job.

I don’t miss that nipple cream aisle one bit.

P.S. If you’re in the shit AND can’t get yourself to enjoy a damn thing, no matter how hard you try? That’s ok. I relate to that. Tell someone you trust. You are deserving of help and support.   

Kathleen Schwarz