Many times in life we wish we could just press pause on the DVR of life and hold that moment. As I watch my children growing, way too quickly for my liking, I find that I search for that button almost daily. Lately, we have been looking at colleges for my oldest while preparing my second for high school and my third for the big middle school jump. We are, as one might say, Transitioning.
Last year I read Katrina Kennison’s beautiful book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, with held back tears. Katrina’s emotional memoir wrenches your heart as you watch her letting go of her growing boys. Her journey into her own transition really left me aching.
I still have lots of time before I feel that. Right?
Turns out I was wise enough to have children well-spaced so, I do have some time for that. What I didn’t plan for was the amount of transitions I will have to go through at the same time. As I grieve in advance for the loss of my family of six to five when my son goes off to college, I can also smile down on my four year old knowing she’ll still be around for quite some time.
But, what do all of these transitions mean for me?
I sat with this for a while on my porch this morning. First cup of coffee, first beautiful day in a very long while and I feel restless. I have been wanting, much like Katrina in her book, to move. I don’t want to uproot my family to a beautiful rural town like she did (although at times, its tempting) but, I do really feel the need for change. I have this innate need to pack up our belongings, purge ourselves of the collection of old stuff and start over. I would love to cocoon my children in a home on the edge of the Earth and never let them leave. I know, obviously this is not realistic or at all healthy.
I watch my son turning practically overnight into a man. He is so smart, kind and capable. I used to think there is no way he could survive without me. He needs me to remind him to eat, to wash up, to clean his room, pack his overnight bag. But, the truth is it is me that has the need. I have done well. I have raised very capable children who can care for themselves and it is time to transition them into their the natural stages of their own lives. It is also time to transition me into mine. This doesn’t mean that I am no longer needed, but for my older three it means that I have to wait to be asked to help. I can stop anticipating what my children will need and start thinking about what I need. What a novel thought. It is so difficult for me to think about what I need and so much easier to focus on the needs of others. As mothers we come preprogrammed to put ourselves on the back burner. It is a constant struggle for me to remember to ask myself “Sara, What do you want for dinner? What do you want to do today?” I am so used to thinking about how my children will react to what I put on the table or if they will all enjoy the activity set out for day.
I will sit with these thoughts and see what happens. Try to focus on the tremendous gift that growth and change can bring. While its sad and scary at the same time I am excited for my children and the experiences they are about to embrace. I will be here waiting to wipe a tear, pay a bill and keep on moving. I will also be here doing my own thing.
Transitioning into the next stage. Wish me luck.