Change is in the air, it’s thick and heavy. As I prepare for my last son of three to pack up, move out, and on with his life as a college student, I realize I may be in panic mode. When our kids are young we have no time. No time for ourselves. No time for our spouses. No time to use the bathroom. We wish for more time, more hours in the day. “ If I had more time…” I would declare and follow that statement up with 100 differnet things, but as they go one by one, we see that time is all we are left with. Time to think about our own lives. Have we accomplished enough? Are we satisfied? We now have the time to go to the gym and read that stack of books and learn how to cook that one dish from that tv show we were able to watch for a few minutes as we looked for missing shoes, packed a bag full of snacks, and chased after the dog someone let out AGAIN. So why is this season of our lives, the season we have been looking forward to for so long, now seem so scary? So lonely? The house is empty and quiet, in the same way we wished it would be for so long and it feels so sad at times. This is a new feeling for me. I have been a mom for so long that when the kids no longer need me everyday, I feel lost. Rendered useless. Obsolete.
The only thing time does, is pass…
While we are pregnant, we spend time preparing for the arrival of our bundles of joy and as we wait for them to leave, we do the same thing, prepare. We spend more time with them. Laugh. Talk. And begin to show them that we too were young once and we understand the fears they have. We take this time to reassure them that leaving is not only ok, but exciting, even if we do so while holding back tears and urges to beg them to stay. We know they were born to bring us joy, aggravation, test our patience and teach us lessons, but we also know they were born to go and we have to let them. As we fill out college applications, help them prep for the SAT, and patiently wait for acceptance letters that will take our kids away from us, we make even the smallest memories count.
As the day gets closer to them leaving, we become more grateful for them. We hug them tighter. Longer. More often. Because once they go, it is time for us. Time for us to sleep in, go on weekend trips, and discover who we are as individuals not just parents, because we lose parts of ourselves as we build up our kids. It is both sad and scary, but it is also exciting to see what this new season will bring to all of us.
They prepare to go and we prepare to stay, without them.