It’s been an interesting summer. In summers past we enjoyed every ounce of every minute. Outside, at the pool, on bike rides, and just enjoying the freedom that comes from not having spelling words to practice, math practice, and homework. This summer the little girls have started to want and ask for play dates. All. The. Time. We have them each Monday and Tuesday and every other Friday through Sunday. On an average week they are playing with friends at least three of those days. If we had our little girls full-time, it would be different, they would always come home to us. We would see them each day in some way, shape, or form. But having them half of the time, and having them in play dates half of that time, leaves us very little opportunity to be with our little girls.
Both my husband and I remember what summers were like when we were kids. The opportunity to spend time with friends, with later bedtimes, and no homework offered such unbridled freedom and joy. We remember what it’s like to find great friends who live close and we remember what it’s like to spend months getting to know them and growing our friendships. We also really like the friends our little girls have made. They are well-behaved, and well-mannered, and have fantastic little personalities. We want our little girls to forge life-long friendships with some of these girls.
All of that said…it’s left me feeling a little lost. My little girls are growing up at the speed of light and it terrifies me. Each year goes a little faster. Each phase passes a little more quickly. Our little girls are entering second and third grade!!! I keep questioning myself thinking ‘no…that can’t be right…it must be first and second grade…right?!” Wrong. I’ve started to feel a little sad that I came into the picture so late. I missed the first three and four years of the little girls’ lives. Now that they are hurrying up and getting older I’ve started to mourn the time I didn’t get to have with them.
Last night my oldest little girl called me nearly in tears she was so happy. We all received the postcards announcing the girls’ new teachers yesterday. Both girls got the teachers they had hoped for. We don’t typically talk with the girls when they are with their other parents. All of us respect that it’s their time with their other family. But yesterday she called me three times with updates on which friends were in her class. I was so happy that she felt like it was important to share the info with me.
I know that once school starts, and the play dates become relegated to weekends, things will start to feel more like normal. We do, after all, have a routine in place. We spend each weeknight together plowing through homework. Our Tuesdays are crazy with the regular homework routine AND gymnastics. And weekends are spent running to the gym, doing homework, and doing all of the other things families do. I know that the minute school starts it will feel like we have our little girls back.
Okay…but here’s the thing. I know that this comes with the territory, right? Each year your kids become less and less dependent on you. They do their own thing, grow-up, and leave to begin their own lives. I get all of that. And I know that can be sad and challenging for parents to get their heads around. I get that. But I feel like they’ve only been mine for a short time because I came into this a little later in the game. I just got them. And what happens when they start to grow-up and lead their own lives and they have four parents and so many grandparents. What if they grow-up and no longer feel like mine? Or want to be mine? Because technically…they aren’t.
I know, I know…it’s a bad train of thought to entertain. Chances are they will always love me as one of their moms. But this summer has made me realize how much I adore being a mom. And a wife to a father. Them being gone so often has been a stark reminder that they aren’t going to be around forever. And I’m going to be honest…I kind of want to chain them to me and never let them leave my side…because then I get to keep them and they can be mine forever. In some crazy fairytale world where I wouldn’t get arrested for such things.
Ooofff…this parenting thing? It is no f-cking joke.
TODAY: What if I do everything I can to enjoy the moments I have with my little girls? What if I stop worrying about the heartbreak of them leaving us (me) that is ten years down the road and just be the best mom I can be to these little girls.