So it's August 25th. Let's just recap a bit of the last oh, 11 weeks.
Kids finished school. Summer started. Crazy summer activities came into full swing.
Yep. That's about it.
Ok, we have been extremely busy, but it's been a nice busy. I have been struggling this summer with some serious nostalgia issues. For whatever reason, this summer has been very bittersweet for me. I think it's a combination of my older two children getting older, my oldest is a junior in high school and my second oldest is a sophomore. They've always followed each other in school. Now that it seems they don't have much time together, I'm feeling this weird feeling. My next one starts 8th grade so she's in her last transition before high school and they all three will be together for the first time since we lived in Arkansas. I'm both excited and terribly sad for this event. My fourth is getting home schooled this year. We are taking a year off of the girl drama and just focusing on our work and swim team and good friends. It was a rough 5th grade year. I'm finding the upper elementary gets more and more toxic each year. I could blame the obnoxious children who have everything, but in reality, it's us as parents. We can't stop indulging our children and then justify it by saying fantastic things like, "well, I don't want him to be the only one without, blah blah blah..." Fortunately (for my hubs and I) unfortunately for my kids, we don't subscribe to that way of life. My fifth is starting 3rd this fall and she has my sixth grader's former teacher. We love her. We know she'll have a fantastic year.
But something all summer has been nagging at my heart and it's been hard to put into words. I feel like we have a very limited time to all be together. Now, before you think the worst, I simply mean, next summer, I'm fairly certain my then 17 year old will have a pretty consistent job, and she'll be getting ready for her senior year and then graduation and who knows where that will lead her.
I don't think I'm ready for them to grow up.
I'll say that again, because you'll see later, the irony in all of this.
I don't think I'm ready for them to grow up.
Yep. That's it exactly. I'm not ready for them to grow up. And I know I've had over 16 years to plan and prepare for this and yes I know my youngest is 19 months old and I've got quite a ways to go before I'll ever be an empty nester, but people- I had a large family on purpose! I love these little minions. They, each and every one, even the four in Heaven, have such a large chunk of my heart that the thought of one of them actually spreading their wings and flying away, makes me anxious.
Oh, I know, they are supposed to....Yes, when you train a child up, he never strays, but that's not what I'm getting at.
I know my kids are going to be fine, even in this toxic world we are living in, because each and ever one of them brings a special kind of light to the world that it so desperately needs.
I know that the whole purpose in training a child to be a good, holy example of love and mercy and to be able to function in society is what my job is, and to help them get to Heaven, but even that is not what I mean.
It's something deeper. It's something that started over 16 years ago. When we began adding one little human after another in our home and people started wondering if we knew what we were doing (day law could I write a book about the comments- people- seven is no where CLOSE to Duggar standards, ok??) and some days I wondered if we knew what we were doing, too.
Those moments in the middle of the night when one or another was not sleeping, or would stare at my husband until he shrieked a girlish shriek, or when it was time to take all five to Walmart, it sent my heart into palpitations until we returned and everyone was alive and I managed to only forget about 6 essential items......
I never thought it would end. I never thought I would sleep through the night again (that luxury is now debatable because at 43, I guess you reach a point where you're resigned to waking up at least once). I never thought I would be able to eat a meal without standing and shoving it down, that my life was virtually on hold from about 11-3 every.single.day for lunch and naps. That taking a shower without a toddler bringing a gallon of milk opened would ever end..... That loading up an abnormally large family would mean allowing for at LEAST an extra 15 minutes every time we went somewhere.
Now, I'll probably never have the luxury of carrying another child (ok, I AM 43 and that is like 95 in Sarah and Abraham years....). I'll probably never have the joy of feeling for the first time that flutter, that little, take your breath away you just felt the baby kick, gasp of excitement. I'll probably never have that experience of waiting and wondering just what he/she would look like, would he/she have hair, be long, be chubby (who am I kidding, I've never had one under 8 pounds....)
That truly beautiful, emotional, stressful, time of pregnancy.
I hear a lot of women say they don't ever want to be pregnant again. They don't want x,y, and z to ever happen and I can understand to an extent. I truly can't fathom vomiting every single day. Pretty sure I would have less children if that had been that case.... but it really hit me hard this summer that my sweet little #7 was the last little baby I would ever have the honor of raising from conception on. And I'm not alone in my thought-even though my kiddos tell me to have more babies (I did a GREAT job of hiding how miserable I was.....) the older ones say the same thing about #7. They tell her all the time to stop growing and to stop talking so much because it means she's getting older....
But it's even deeper than that.
Now, when I look at my 16 1/2, 15, 13, 11, 8, 3, and 19 month old? I see just how quickly the time truly does go. It goes. And it goes, and there is no stopping it. There is no getting off the crazy train called earth to slow it down a bit. It goes and goes. And they grow and grow and before long, those long nights of wearing the carpet at the foot of your bed down to a ragged path to calm a crying baby are over. Those nights of listening to the monitor to make sure you don't hear anyone crying, are done (we don't do TV monitors, there are some things I'm pretty confident I'll never use....). Those nights when you wake up because you heard something and you walk all.over.the.house to see if one of them is up wondering around....
I see two high school kids who are growing and maturing into two of the sweetest, kindest, most generous young adults I could ever have dreamed of them becoming. The way they interact with adults, their manners, their beautiful smiles.
I see a middle schooler who, despite her own insecurities, brings a light of love into the room, even when she's 'annoyed' with us. I see her and can completely imagine what she'll be like when she grows up- passionate, hard working, dedicated to whatever she decides to do.
I see a sixth grader who loves her big sisters. She has such a desire to be a peacemaker and share with others. I can see her heading off to a third world country after college to help bring a better way of life to others....
I see a spunky 3rd grader who fits the BILL for the "baby of the family" if any of you are familiar with the Birth Order Book by Kevin LeMay. He was the baby of his family, so he's very familiar with that title....it could of been my #5 he wrote about. Doing good one minute and causing all kinds of trouble the next. She's a hoot. But even now, I can see what might happen in the next few years with her as well....
Fortunately, I still have two not in school yet. Funny how I say "fortunately." Because for years, I mean, YEARS, I prayed all my kids would be in school, and as SOON as possible, so I could have some time for myself. Now, don't get me wrong, it's important to have time for you. As moms, we need to be recharged and re-energized to be able to handle all the traffic that comes our way and it makes us better with our husbands, too. But as far as the "fortunately" for me, I still have the opportunity to maybe be little less uptight, a little less rigid, and a lot more relaxed with these two. I was a nervous nilly with my first two, three, heck, four kids. ok, five. But now that I've got such an amazing range of children, I can see something pretty incredible.
I wish I had never wished the little years away.
I will repeat that.
I wish I had never wished the little years away.
Remember what I said earlier? I'm not ready for them to grow up???
I can't go back. I can't change things. I can only forge ahead and take every single second I still have with these older ones and make some incredible memories. That's all I can do. I can hope they forgive me for wishing they'd grow up, I can hope it didn't scar them into thinking I didn't love them as much as the little ones, and I can just love them at every single chance I'm given. I can pray that they, too, understand that little feeling in their own guts that they miss being little, especially when they play with the two little ones.
That feeling is still there. Deep in the recesses of my heart. Knowing, that one day, my "little" family is going to branch out and possibly be all over the world. For now, I will try to tuck that heartache away and remind myself of the heartache another mother I know, once had, when she was told that a sword would pierce her heart, too.
So Momma Mary, I ask you to pray for me, and all my momma friends out there who might be struggling with their "little" ones growing up so quickly before their eyes. I also ask you Our Heavenly Father, to bless and fill the hearts of all of us, but especially those young mommas just starting this mothering journey.
It's not an easy journey, and sometimes, even to this day, I throw my hands in the air and tell Him, 'I don't know why you trust me with all these kids..... I can't do it......" But then He fills my heart with a picture of my son feeding his baby sisters, or a picture of my oldest after working so hard to make a team, and He reminds me that I'm not alone and I'm not doing this for me. It makes it ok. God bless all y'all and hopefully I won't wait so long to write again.
|Such a great big brother....|
|Made the Varsity Team!|