Life is moving at warp speed. It seems as though it was just yesterday I had babies. Now my babies are growing and my oldest will be fleeing the coop in a few short years. We've had a challenging few years and I would be remiss to say that I didn't want those to pass on by quickly. And I would be remiss to say that I would have much preferred to skip over them completely. But tough and terrible as they were they somehow helped to shape us. We've grown and we've learned and we've gotten stronger. We've learned how to do without and we've learned how to sacrifice. In the end, we have all come to realize that the most precious gift is ours and always was ours - our family. My life has gotten easier. I have three independent people. I have a few extra sets of hands. We're a small clan - always looking out for each other - not to say there aren't disagreements and some bickering along the way. But the children are close. Incredibly close. And the bond that they've created over the past few years will stay with them a lifetime. I'm proud of that. This makes me happy. If, god forbid, anything was to happen to me, they'd be there, together and strong. They're close with their father but it's not the same. I know this. They tell me this. But they have each other. I take incredible comfort in knowing that.
We're a small unit. A strong team. We've gotten tighter and closer and stronger. Being a single mother no doubt has many challenges, but it also has many rewards. I believe that being a single mother is a gift. As the children get older they know that my role as a parent has changed. It has brought me closer to them - much closer than we had been before.
As the children get older they understand more. They have a clearer understanding of my role as a mother. When my middle child can't get out of the house on time because he has misplaced a shoe, a bag, a book, a phone, a key or a pair of sunglasses, he knows that in the time since he's been awake I have made several breakfasts and lunches, that I may have also done some laundry and all the dishes and perhaps even started some work. And maybe he knows this because I tell him so - I tell him so because I need him to be able to get out of the house on time. I tell him so because I think it's important for him to know. I will not wait on any of my children. I am not raising sons who will be catered to and coddled by their wives. No, I am raising sons that will cater to and coddle their own wives!
The kids are all growing and my role as their mother is constantly changing. I am still their caretaker but I am now becoming more of a confidant and advisor as they grow and start to navigate their own way in this world - making mistakes, learning lessons, and at times defying me along the way. Though I am glad they are - I am glad that they're discovering themselves and what they like, and getting a sense of what they may want to do and and who they may want to be as they get older. They are good and kind and generous, helpful and loving. And this summer especially, I am realizing that this time we have together, just the four of us is fleeting. It is my mission, that no matter where we do or where we go, to create memories, to create a sense of safety - not so much safety that they never want to flee the nest but enough safety that they will know that they can always come back if need be.
School starts in just 2 weeks and we will be back on normal routines, school, activities, homework, etc and I will be able to throw my full self back into work which this family desperately needs for us to do! Meantime, I will finish up the few remaining projects and take the rest of the summer to thoroughly enjoy the children - plan a few day trips and adventures and sit back watch in awe and truly appreciate them.
When they were little people used to say to me all the time, enjoy them, they'll be out of the house before you know it. And there were days, many many many such days, when they were all little and I was so harried and stressed that I silently wished that day would come. And then there were the tumultuous years - the years leading to the divorce where I seem to remember nothing at all. Perhaps I was too sad, perhaps I was too distracted, perhaps I was in a fog - and it saddens me to no end that when the children mention something that happened during that period I simply have no memory of it at all. The years of the divorce can only be described as trying to stay afloat in a stormy sea. I fought not only to stay afloat, but in many ways to stay alive. My daughter was going through her own private hell at school with peers and bullying and I was not nearly strong enough to help her. I wish I had been. We are at a good place now, the children and I - and I think we're sailing into an even better one... our waters are smooth, and the view of what lies ahead of us is stunning.
Next year my daughter will start to look at colleges. And then she will be off. Although there's not much of it, I still have time - time to really appreciate the joys of children and motherhood. I wish I could have sooner but life threw a few obstacles my way. As they say, better late than never.