Reflective Mama {hold me}

Oh people.

Can I just be real for a minute? Or lots of minutes. Say, 800 words or so…

I am having a hard time with this whole “kids growing up” thing.

WHO KNEW? Isn’t this what we want?

Since my oldest was born… I have been waiting for the independence.

I have been waiting for the full-night’s sleep.

Waiting to give the diaper bags to Goodwill.

Waiting for the booster seat and the self-buckling.

Waiting for the time I could leave them home while I run to get bread or eggs or milk…

The time has come.

All those parents back-then who said, “Your day will come. Hold onto these days with your little ones… Don’t wish them away…” They were spot-on.

For me, parenting the littles was very hard… From post-partum to simple personality complexities to the breasts that refused to make enough milk, to all the not sleeping.

And let’s not forget about the judgment of others.

That was a lot of fun.

I do love babies. I adore the pure delight found in toddlers and preschoolers… but I will admit I am not as much of a baby person as I thought I would be. And I had 3 babies.

Eep.

But here I am. Alive. Standing on the other side of diapers and bottles and car seats and strollers.

Crying as I type.

I miss the special sweetness of that season. For so long, It – that season – was my entire existence. And flash… IT is gone.

I don’t miss the strong, determined pull of a 4 year-old will, nor the thing that a mom’s heart does when her newborn is crying at the checkstand because he/she is hungry AGAIN and heavenhelpmeIjustneedtobuysomebananas.

I remember one day a man who had 5 kids that were in their older stages, saw me distraught in the grocery store. My 3 littles tearing at my patience, soul and physical balance. Over the chaos he handed me a bouquet of flowers and said, “My wife has been in your shoes and I know how much it means to her to have others tell her she is doing a good job and she will make it… You are doing a great job Mom, and you are going to make it.”

I wept then and I weep now. Poor mamas…

I remember the anxious times like they were yesterday, yet can barely remember the sweet times – except for pictures. The memories are foggy yet vivid…

Like it was yesterday, I remember watching a friend through a window… walking my newborn son around outside. She got him to stop crying. Finally… Why couldn’t I get him to stop crying?

12 years ago.

—–

Tonight I stand in the doorway of a new era. My littlest will soon be in school all day. The oldest is entering middle school.

Lucy and I have had mornings and/or afternoons all to ourselves for years. Who will beg me for chocolate milk at one in the afternoon and bring the fixin’s to me in my bedroom? No princess movie for the 3rd time in a row to have to mentally block out… and no little girl to eavesdrop and peek on as she spins in her princess costume while we wait for brother and sister to get home from school.

chocolate milk

I’m KILLIN’ ME!

And then, then, THEN….

The thought of middle school?

PRAY FOR ME.

I have great fear. I am thinking having a 4 year old might have been easier.

My son is great. I mean, the boy is all I could have hoped for in a son. But I have fear… the influences, the hurts, the internal moral pulls he will have to face… THE HOMEWORK.

I do think our kids have it harder than we did… so much access to so many things before the time is right. It sucks because I want to fight to protect him, but need to let him spread his wings and develop the skills to stand on his own. To stand in his own conviction… but there are so many threats to his heart.

Oh my stinkin’ heck. Friends! It was easier to protect him when he was 4!

Dog gone it.

“The books” can’t prepare us. What to expect? Expect it will be nothing like you’ve read. Yet it will. Kind-of.

The slow-reveal for me is… it gets different. Not easier. And probably harder…

——–

Except for this “sweet spot” between 7 and 11. Oh have mercy on my soul. My middle is right there now. Best. Season. Ever.

Ever?

I don’t know.

I know nothing.

Except I know need to stop looking so far ahead. And I need to stop looking back… wishing I’d not wished those small years away quite so much.

But man. Were they hard. And wonderful.

And really, how do we really know how wonderful something wonderful is unless we have been to the depths of NOT wonderful?

I have been there and have done that. It would appear there is more been there and done that to do.

Am I crazy?

Don’t answer that.

********

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27 Responses to “Reflective Mama {hold me}”

  1. Stasha says:

    You know one day they will be married and bringing you home grandchildren. There, don’t you feel better and younger now?

    But in all seriousness, this is a lovely post Jenny. You should be one proud mama. Sparkle on!

    • Oh Stasha… I keep thinking about their wedding day. I need to hurry and get a grip, or I will ruin my kids’ weddings for all the crying I will do. BAH! And grandchildren. OH MY WORD. I can’t even imagine.

  2. Oh man. I’m glad you wrote this tonight. My son will be three in a few short weeks (wha?!) and I found myself wishing that pre-school would hurry up and get here so I could get some WORK done during the day time. Now, I’m rethinking that. They do grow up fast don’t they? And I’m not at all, even slightly, looking forward to those tween/teen years. Heaven help me.

    • Courtney… ah… sisterhood. If it wasn’t for other moms to walk through this with… I just don’t know. So thankful for those who have gone before me to lend hope and some perspective :)

  3. Amber says:

    I’m reading this post on my phone with one hand while hanging over the crib rail to pat my baby back to sleep – for the 4th time since 4:30am. And we were up once an hour all night before that.

    So thank you. What great encouragement.

    And the dad at the grocery store with flowers? Awesome.

    • Oh Amber! It really is for such a short time. I never thought my oldest would sleep soundly. Now there are days I have to go wake him up. Those early years, I could have never imagined such a time would come… *passes you a bouquet* :) Hang in there…

  4. Taryn Skees says:

    Will we ever be content just where we are? I think you hit it spot on when you said “I just need to stop looking so far ahead. And I need to stop looking back… wishing I’d not wished those small years away quite so much.”

    My kids are 3 and 4 and I find myself caught between wishing them to be a few years older so things will be, you know, “easier”, and then in the next moment trying to search their toddler eyes to find the newborn baby I once held in the crook of my arm. I miss them in all of their baby fat glory, and fear for the struggles their innocent hearts don’t yet know.

    It’s hard being a momma! Thanks for this post :)

    PS – I have been reading JOTS for a long time now and think you’re just great! I’ve added you to my blog’s Best of the Web page.

    • Oh Taryn! Thank you… thank you for taking the time to say something! I have to say 3 and 4 are probably the toughest ages (in my experience so far)… They are old enough to communicate, but not old enough to really communicate and their hearts so want independence, yet their bodies just can’t manage the freedom their hearts want… You wrote, “and fear for the struggles their innocent hearts don’t yet know.” Yes… totally that. Thinking that will forever be something we will be dealing with… big hugs to you!

  5. S says:

    Oh dear. You make me laugh all the time and now you’ve done gone and made me cry. I am right there with ya girl. My oldest started middle school this year, my middle third grade and my youngest started 1st grade. I feel like I missed so much time with them wishing for them to grow up. And they are. Growing up. And I miss them. I had the hardest time when my baby turned 6. My baby was not a baby anymore. I feel so sad when I hold a friends baby and actually enjoy soothing them when they cry. Because I didn’t enjoy it with my own babies. With my own babies it was work. Torture. The guilt! Thank you for sharing Jenny. It’s nice to know that it’s normal to have these feelings.

    • And thank you for sharing here too – because yes… it is so nice to know this is normal. Still hard, but there is sweet comfort that we have a tribe… others we know are doing this too <3

  6. I totally understand where you’re coming from. My son will be starting Pre-K in less than two weeks and I am baffled. I can’t believe it! Totally blowing my mind and it’s making me want to hold on to as much of this time as possible. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. You are not crazy. You are a Mom and a good one at that. I struggle with enjoying the younger years because it does seem to be such a trying time for me as well. But, I know as they grow older, I’m going to be sitting right where you are. Big hugs my friend.

  8. Dumblond says:

    Oh yes. When my son started middle school last year, I was so stressed. Puberty?! Girlfriends?! No, not my baby boy who still likes to snuggle next to me on the couch when we are watching TV and who still gives me hugs for no reason. I miss the little tyke stage, so much. But my kids are growing into such interesting people…I find myself having fun!
    Now…if they would just stop becoming taller than me…

    • Oh my friend… I have known you since we were baffling over our toddler troubles. So strange to be standing here right now… isn’t it? And you are right, they are growing into such interesting people. I’m glad you highlighted that… the baby and toddler times are gone, but there is such richness and wonder in each season. I need to remind me to not rush through any of it…

  9. Wifey says:

    Oh, Jenny! You’re not crazy – well … – but not about this! LOL! My son is 10 and I’m having the same feelings.

    We’ll get through – with lots of wine – but we’ll get through!

    Winks & Smiles,
    Wifey

  10. The Lazy Mom says:

    SO. RELATE. My kids are 7, 8 and 10 (even though I begged my 10 year old to stay 9 and he totally disobeyed me). I want to press the *pause* button already! They are the PERFECT ages. I LOVE early elementary!! A few years ago I couldn’t WAIT for them to get bigger. Now I don’t want them to get any bigger!!! “DON’T GROW UP! DON’T. DO. IT!!!!!!”

  11. Michelle W says:

    I am so with you, sistah! I am finding myself hitting the chocolate a little harder as of late.

    • Oh Michelle… I forgot to tell you I ran into Carson at target a week or 2 ago (she was with a friend)… she was so mature and sweet and lovely. She is definitely something to be proud of….

  12. This made me cry :( I am there, in that phase, with the littles. They wear me out, wear me thin, exhaust me. I try and try and try not to wish days, hours, moments with them away. I know this will be me in just a couple hands full of years. I have no advice for you as I’ve not come that far yet, obviously, but thank you so much for this post.

  13. Carrie says:

    Sitting here reading this on my phone with a sleeping baby in my other arm…all day I’ve been complaining to my husband about not being able to get anything done…and also have done my daily dose of whining about the toddler’s naptime needs (someone to sit with him while he falls asleep, namely ME with a fussy baby in my arms!), so thank you for this. I needed some perspective today!

  14. [...] Reflective Mama {hold me} by Jenny on the Spot: Ahem. So I might have cried reading this at almost midnight Wednesday night [when I said I was going to bed and then saw this post tweeted so I had to stop and read it]. These past few weeks have been hard. Crazy hard. For me as a mom, and I’m assuming for little man. He’s practically three (less than two months from it) and we’re hitting that stage. I found myself thinking the other day how happy I will be when he spends some time in pre-school and I get a break from all of the whining during the day. Then I read this. And I’m changing my mind. [...]

  15. jubilee says:

    And now I am weeping. I want to go back and look at all their baby pictures and unfinished scrapbooks . . . if only they weren’t in storage!

    The bouquet man — how awesome.

  16. Love this. It’s the ebb and flow of parenting, wanting to make it high tide again as you splash about in tide pools. I so get this. I’m on the edge of it myself.

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