School started back today around these parts. Facebook lit up with moms posting pics of their well-dressed, book-bag toting kiddos with captions like "I can't believe she is already in fifth grade!" and "Wow, I have a middle-schooler and a high-school senior now!"
I can totally relate.
Yesterday my kids were 12, 4, and 1. Uh, yes, do not argue with me, it was decidedly yesterday. And then a very short time after that I realized they were 35, 27, and 24. As much as I simply cannot believe it, my oldest child is coming up now on the big 4-0. But I cannot tease him about it because he only shoots back with "Yeah, Mom, and remember, you're always 20 years ahead of me." That I surely am. All of a sudden -- POOF -- with no warning, they were all grown. I guess there were warning signs along the way such as birthdays, graduations, and other milestones, but I was too busy raising them to notice. They grew up when I was not looking.
I hear a lot of women say that they dread summer vacation and don't know if they'll make it through with a house full of children until school starts again. I was never one of those! Summer vacation meant just that to me: No schedules, sleeping in, pool time, snuggle time, eating lunch out, shopping with my girls -- vacation! But then I had the blessing (I called it a blessing; some would call it torture) of staying home with my children when they were little. I loved being home with my children. After all, no one could instill in them the hopes and dreams I had for their litte futures as well as me, and there was absolutely no one I would rather have been with.
The summer of '86 played out quite differently, however. We had just moved into our second house. I was beyond excited because it was a brand-new house, and I had never lived in a brand-new house. The carpet was new; the walls were fresh; the bathrooms were scum-free. It was cute as a button and in an adorable little neighborhood. Both kids had their very own rooms, and I had plans for each and every one of the six rooms in that adorable little house in the adorable little neighborhood. But the strangest thing happened right after we moved in -- I started feeling really bad that very same week. I was tired with no energy. I had sudden bouts of nausea. I soon found out I was pregnant with child #3. I had no idea about child #3! I mean, we wanted a #3, but she came to us like a huge surprise on your birthday that you weren't expecting but later wondered how you ever got along without it.
That summer, elated as I was at the knowledge I was once again with child, I was even sicker than I was happy. I lay on the sofa with boxes piled up all around me, as my two children ran around the adorable little house the entire three months. With yelling and mucho gusto, they stomped up and down the brand-new stairs. I'm sure if you asked them now they don't remember the dud summer of '86 because they were virtually on their own having a noisy blast of a party, unless I had to hoist my pregnant self up off the sofa to break up a brawl (and, yes, much to my dismay, 3-yr-olds and 11-yr-olds do pick at each other). It was also one of the hottest summers I can remember so it was literally impossible to go outside for any length of time. If I just stepped out into the heat, it exacerbated the nausea. The scent of the new, fresh paint in the house exacerbated the nausea. Cooking supper exacerbated the nausea. Everything exacerbated the nausea. I had morning sickness in the morning but in the afternoon and evening as well. But somehow, much to my surprise, we survived the summer of '86, and I eventually unpacked boxes, got the house in order, and moved a crib into child #2's room for the arrival of a new little sister.
For those of you who are dreaders of summer vacation, may I remind you of something? School always starts back. And after elementary school ends, high school begins, and then college ensues. The kids grow up and you find yourself in a house alone, and way too quiet for your comfort. And you'll be just like I was, wishing I could go back in time just once to hug their sweet little necks one more time. The only thing better than the memories of them when they were little are the memories you make with them as adults. And hopefully one day, they will be the very avenues upon which new life rides in and joyful noise once again floods your house with the giggles of your grandchildren. And the beauty of that is this: You can love them, snuggle them, spoil them, and promptly return them when they are naughty and need to be disciplined.
The circle of life, and the completion of a lesson well-learned in the subject of poetic justice. You'll complete that course before you know it.
Posted by CC
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