Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Home Alone

Today we sent our youngest off to kindergarten.

(Sigh.  Whimper.  Sniffle.  Bawl!!!)

Our kids have never been in any kind of preschool or daycare.  I've always been blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home parent and I've cherished every second of it!

We have five children.  Our two oldest are my "bonus" kids ... they were five and three when I began a relationship with my (now) husband and first had the privilege of them being introduced into my life.  That was seventeen years ago.  I was twenty and there has never been a moment since that I didn't consider myself a mother.  Throughout the years, I went to college at night and took online classes ... and I've worked a few very part-time jobs here and there (mostly just at night when my husband could be home with the kids).  My last one was a year and a half ago and that was only ten hours a week.  They've rarely stayed with sitters.  It's just always been important to us that a parent be home with them on a daily basis.
Our oldest two are now twenty-two and twenty.  Our youngest three who are still at home are thirteen, ten and five. 

It kind of feels like my whole identity is wrapped up in being a mom full-time.  Is that bad?  A big part of me is proud that I've been able to relish that role and find contentment in it.  Another part of me is unsettled, nervous and a little scared at the prospect of sitting in an empty, quiet house for eight and a half hours a day alone wondering what to do with myself!

And, although I am trying to keep the focus on our little kindergartner - this is her time and a new transition for her - it's hard to not wallow in my own sadness and change.  This is the beginning of something totally new for me, too!

Little realities are starting to sink in. 

I think of all of the personal positives of this new experience.

The t.v. will actually be all mine ... all day!  (Whoa!)  I could go back to bed after getting them on the bus at seven and sleep until noon if I want!  (Say what?)  I'll actually be able to pee without kids hollering in at the bathroom door to tattle on each other !  I'll be able to pour myself a big glass of iced tea and no one will be here to guzzle it all before I barely take a sip!  I think of how clean my house will be ... no one will be here to mess it up for most of the day!  I can have long phone conversations without any interruptions!  Trips to the store and to run errands will be a completely new experience for me without having children in tow!  I will actually have lots of time for myself ... to do things I often neglect, like keeping my toes freshly painted and plucking my eyebrows on a consistent basis.  I'll be able to help out at my children's schools more.  I won't feel guilty spending time working on my blog or being online during the day.

But, then there are the things I know I will miss terribly and will have a tremendously hard time dealing with.

What can possible replace my afternoon cuddle time with my five-year old ... when we read lots of books, talk in a whisper under the covers and giggle together?  Who is going to help me mix and roll out the dough when we're having beef and noodles for dinner?  How will I keep up on what Spongebob and Dora have going on in their lives?  My Candy Land-playing skills are gonna get rusty!  My five-year old won't be here to ask me every morning "so, mom, what do you wanna do today?"  I won't have any need to push those two-seated, big, blue kiddie carts at Wal-Mart anymore ... and I need the back of those blue seats to lay my grocery list on, darn it!  And, who is gonna run and get me a new bar of soap when I'm stranded in the shower?

All of my friends whose children are all in school tell me that I will totally enjoy the peace and quiet ... the time to myself.  I'm hoping they are right!  I know this is a part of raising kids.  I knew this moment was inevitable.  But, having kids whose ages span seventeen years from oldest to youngest has provided me a lot of years of being home with children.  So, I'm just taking a deep breath as I keep telling myself that this is a good thing ... to begin this new journey in my own life with an open mind and a thankful heart.  How exciting to know that our years of guiding and raising little ones are transitioning into us observing the blossoming of their own independence.

But, even with trying to maintain a positive outlook on it all, it's still a hard thing. 

Please pass the tissues!

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