I always have a hard time around this time of year. You see, today is the last day of school. And while I am excited to have my kids home for the summer, it breaks my heart to know that another chapter in their childhoods is coming to a close.
This is the last day of 8th grade for Liam. He is moving on to high school now, which means I only have four years left with him at home. Four years. He has always been a challenging child, and there have been countless times when I was not sure if I would survive from one day to the next. Now here we are, a few short years away from graduation, and I find myself wondering where all the time has gone. I still see my little baby, his sideways smile forever etched on my heart.
My twins are now 8th graders. Seriously. Teenagers. Only a short year behind their brother when it comes to graduation. One more year of middle school, and it is high school for them as well. I am watching them grow into amazing, beautiful people, and my heart smiles. And it cries. And I find myself spinning in circles, not exactly sure what to do. How is one to hold them close and set them free at the same time?
I try to live in the moment, enjoy what is in front of me at this exact moment in time and not worry about what is to come. Sometimes I fail miserably at this. Like right now. This will pass, and pretty soon we will be enjoying summer and I will not be thinking about school and how old my kids are getting and how ridiculously fast time is going. But right now I just want to hit the rewind button. I want to go back and be a better mom, enjoy the little moments more than I did back when I was in them and completely exhausted.
I used to work with a woman back when the kids were little. The twins were 2 and Liam was 3. Her daughter was older, so every time she would see my kids, she would comment on how much she missed her toddler, but how much she loved her teenager. I remember trying at the time to imagine what it would be like to be the mom of teenagers, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t picture my babies as teens. It was impossible, not to mention so far off that it would never actually happen. Now here we sit, three teenagers in our family, and all I can think is, I really miss my toddlers, but I sure do love my teenagers. Life is funny.
I wish I were one of those people who could stash my emotions away somewhere, always wearing my brave face no matter what, but unfortunately I am not one of those people. Every emotion I feel seems to stamp itself right on my face. There is no hiding anything. I know that growing up is perfectly natural, a simple fact of life, Babies grow up, life goes on. And I know that every moment is precious and meant to be cherished. My head knows and understands this, but my heart does not always agree. I should be excited for the next chapter to begin, but I am still a little sad about the ending of the previous one.
Oh, but I am so very grateful for this life and these beautiful young adults who call me mom. I am grateful to get be a part of their journey. As I sit here thinking back over the last school year, I know that I would not change a thing…