It’s the day after my birthday, my husband is away on a golf outing with old college friends (no, I’m not angry that he missed my birthday), my son is in his room playing a video game online with a friend and my daughter and her girlfriend are tucked away in the basement studying their brains out and writing papers for college. My house is full for a change and I am a happy momma.
When my daughter left for college in 2011 I felt that my heart would break into a million pieces. The fact that she was less than thirty minutes away did not make her absence any less noticeable; she was gone and her room was empty. Quite often the quietness was deafening. During her first year of college visits home were sparse and too short for my liking. Looking back on that year I think it was her way of proving that she could make it on her own and that it was time for me to take a step back and allow her to be the boss of her own life. As difficult as it was for me to take that step back I am so thankful that I did. Now, visits home are more frequent and I’m noticing that while I am still the mom our relationship has changed; it’s pretty cool to have big kids in the house.
When I was a young mother I can remember how exhausted I was from sleepless nights filled with fevers, throw up, bad dreams and growing pains. Oh how I wished they would just grow up. Somehow we managed to get through those early years relatively unscathed and I got my wish; they are grown up. Naturally I miss my little kids and all of their little kid antics and sometimes cannot believe that they are no longer ten and five. However, having them 15 and 20 has its benefits.
My daughter and her girlfriend came to spend the weekend with me for my birthday on Friday. With my husband out of town we decided to take his credit card and go to a local restaurant for a little birthday celebration. As I sat at the table with the girls and my son sharing stories and laughing as we ate and made plans for the remainder of the weekend my mind flashed back to high chairs, messy faces, kid’s cups and a few tantrums. I realized sitting around that table that we have made it to the next level and that I am no longer the authoritarian parent wiping noses and kissing boo boos; no I am the friend parent. I will always be the momma that will never change but what has changed is the degree in which my authority is needed. Now authority has been replaced with advice which allows my husband and I to enjoy the fruits of our labor so to speak.
Children tend to grow up quicker than we expect or want them too and quite often we become sad because we feel like we are missing out. However, in reality with each age and stage of our children’s development our ages and stages change in development as well. Change can be difficult to accept even though we know it is a necessary part of life. Learning how to embrace the changes can be tricky and sometimes emotionally painful; it is up to us as parents to learn to let the little kids morph into big kids and then adults.
Now, when everyone is home and gathered around the dinner table our conversations are no longer about crayons, play doh, time outs and book reports. Instead our conversations turn to current events, social issues and plans for their future. I cherish those dinner table moments when everyone is gathered as a family and we are able to shut out the outside world for a while. Within the confines of our home we feel safe and free to be who we are without fear of judgment or condition.
So as I sit in the quiet of my home I am thankful for the gift of their presence not only for my birthday but in my life as a whole. Time zips by way too fast not to enjoy each age and stage of our children. For me I am enjoying my big kids and having them all here with me even if we are not all in the same room, knowing they are here means so much.
Whether your children are big or little I encourage you to take the time to get to know them at each stage so that when they are older you can enjoy the memories of the past. For me I will continue to stand on the outskirts and watch as my big kids continue to accept the challenge of growing up and reminding them that I am here whenever they need me.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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