I walked you to the door of the Kindergarten building and let go of your chubby hand. That hand I’ve held for five years telling myself on so many occasions, “Don’t forget what this feels like, Erica.” You took your place in line and started taking in your new surroundings, thinking thoughts sprinkled with cluelessness and over-confidence, I’m sure. 🙂 Stella, with the sweet swagger of an upper elementary classman, assured me she knew the way to her portable. So it was just me and Ruby headed to her building. And the girl who has never had a smooth start to school wrapped both arms around my neck and kissed my face and went in with a skip in her step. I was so grateful. Because on that day I was the one struggling.
|The 1st day of school we had an ER visit because of a tripping accident on the way out the door. So, this is the 2nd day!|
I could’ve gone out a different way, but I just had to walk back by your building again to see if you were still in the hall and if I might get one last look at you. Sure enough you were. And all of the sudden our roles were reversed and instead of your saying, “Look at me, Mommy! Watch me do this!” I was the one fighting for your attention, wanting so badly for you to look one last time so I could blow you a kiss and give you a thumbs up. In spite of the other distractions, your eyes made your way to mine and I got to wave to you again. My boy. The last of the trio of blessings who’ve been with me for 10 years now.
For 10 years I’ve had a baby on my hip, a toddler under my feet, or a preschooler at my table. For a decade I have been surprised by the monsters I’ve seen surface from my own heart, chased monsters all around the house, and prayed away monsters in the dark. For a decade I have worn spit-up covered clothes, transition clothes until I “lose my baby weight,” or the same clothes three days in a row. For these past 10 years I have had Mommy brain, Mommy hair, Mommy jeans, and finally realized becoming a mommy is something you never recover from. I’ve been marked by it forever.
So when I got back to the quiet van, I was ashamed at how many times I had wished for the quiet that all of the sudden I had and despised. I opened the door to our house and instead of being frustrated that I had to answer the same question for the millionth time (“What are we were going to do today?!”), I was frustrated that no one was asking. And just like that, I realized the door was closing on the little years with our three. Just. Like. That.
There are numerous things I can pour myself into in this new school-aged season of life, and I will. There are things I cherish about their ages now and ways it stretches me and drains me and keeps me on my knees, and I want to be faithful here and now. And by God’s grace, I will. But this week, I’m letting myself feel the weight of the goodbye to this season of life with my babies. I’m rehearsing lessons learned, facing oh so many regrets with the forgiveness of Jesus and the good news of the gospel keeping me from despair, and remembering the sounds of laughter, pitter patter of newly walking feet, squeals of excitement, the bright wonder of little eyes, unending interrogations about everything, tender cuddles, loud belly laughs, silly tickles, filling, refilling and spilling sippy cups, and wiping bottoms, noses and mouths. So bear with me if I remind you how fast it goes. And bear with my puffy eyes and stuffy nose and sentimental reminiscing. I’ve been marked by motherhood, and I couldn’t be more thankful.