Sunrise, Sunset: Managing Life Transitions as a Mom

Ok, so none of my kids are getting married. . . yet.

I’m hitting that transition stage of motherhood. My not so wee ones are 20, 17, 14, 12, 6 and 6 this year. The almost endless years of diapers and breastfeeding and babysitters and general “neediness” are done.

Some would say that would be cause for rejoicing.

And it is, sort of.

BUT, when the past 20+ years have been tied to meeting the many needs of several children, an abrupt end is unsettling.

I found myself completely unequipped for our oldest to graduation from high school, or to go away to college, or to join the military. . . because, all of a sudden, he is doing and facing things that I can be of absolutely no help with. (and don’t get me started on parents who call college professors to discuss grades!)

And that transition from dependence to independence? It totally happened in a flash.

And I know that my older kids need me–but it is a different kind of need. I am transforming from the life-manager role to the role of an encourager and trusted advisor.

I try to remind myself of how overwhelming those early years were–when I had four little boys tagging along with me everywhere, leaving a trail of mud and sticks and legos. And I am reminded of the fact that I am afforded the luxury of sleeping all night most nights.

People often refer to their lives flashing before their eyes. But as a mom, during these times of transition, I see my kids’ lives flashing before my eyes. Visions of big brothers greeting little siblings at the hospital, memories of times snuggled up reading together, worried visits to the E.R., first plays and concerts, last plays and concerts, and funny phrases they said growing up.

And then, inevitably, I tear up. I don’t cry out of sadness so much as I am filled with the intense emotions that surround my love for these children. And yes, even as adults, they will always be my children.

And so, as a mother, I navigate a new-to-me path. One that my mother and her mother before her had to navigate as well.

We’re not in this alone, Moms.

And, I am so thankful for my little “pair of sixes” who give me a chance to still coddle and nurture while the other ones slowly and purposefully pull away to test their wings. God certainly knew what he was doing when he sent us a matched set. (However, I do still fear that I may fail kindergarten!)

Chime in! How do you navigate these transitions in your motherhood career? Leave a comment and let me know, or join the conversation on my facebook page!

The Circle Game

Circle song

My husband has a fun (sadistic) game in which he tries to make me cry about the children growing up. I tear up easily, so it is not a difficult game for him.

For the most part, I am so happy to see my kids grow up. I’m a more patient mom to school aged kids than toddlers, and I really enjoy my teens. As they grow, I can see the fruit of my labors take shape. I enjoy watching their personalities develop.

And yet, I still miss the chubby faced, grubby hugs and kisses of toddlerhood.

Those endless nights in the rocking chair are gone.

It is pretty rare for anyone to cry as I walk out the door, yet most are still really happy to see me return.

I can usually go grocery shopping alone, though it would be nice to have company.

I don’t change any diapers, and I no longer feel the need to get involved in breastfeeding debates.

Now I worry about how often to send college care packages, and what to pack in them.

I worry about how to make the most of the time my other five have at home with us.

I wonder about how many grandchildren we will be blessed with.

I pray that my sons choose good wives (and that they like me!).

I worry that I will be burnt out when the youngest get to their teen years.

I giggle a little at the things that seemed so important in my early years of parenting. . . breast vs. bottle, sahm vs. daycare, cloth vs. disposable, how many playdates to plan. . . . And now all of that seems so trivial–it mattered, and still matters, but I question whether it deserved so much of my attention?

So, my dear husband linked this song to me on my Facebook AND my Twitter feed this morning (I’m sure he heard it on his iTunes radio as he was making breakfast). I’m glad he thought of me, but he knew it would make me cry. . . . It worked.