After a week of intense preparation and checking off supplies from my four (very long) lists of supplies, I saw my kiddos off for their first day of school!
This year is quite significant as it is the first year that all four of the children will be in school for a full day! Yes. You read that correctly- This mama will be child-free for about 5 whole hours, 5 days a week! I feel like I might be in a dream, that this really is too good to be true, that someone will be waking me up real soon and breaking the news to me that this was not reality.
In order to fully aprreciate this moment with me, you must understand the extent to which I have sacrificed alone time for the sake of mothering. I have never had a nanny nor a consistent, designated babysitter. Thank God for grandparents and godparents and good friends who have taken the children in so hubby and I could enjoy date nights or even weekend getaways as the kids got older.
Nevertheless, with hubby working full time, guess who has been with the children every day for 95% of the time for almost 11 years. Yep. That would be me. That is not to mention the fact that not one of them has ever set foot in a day care or an after school program or a summer camp, for that matter. Not only that, but I exclusivley breastfed three of them for nearly 18 months each. This meant they slept in the bed with me (usually smack dab in between hubby and I). I forgot what it felt like to have good night's sleep. I had a perpetual crick in my neck. This meant that there was not more than 2-4 hours that I was without them for the first year and a half of their lives.
Needless to say, it got real. My time devoted to mothering has been thrilling as well as intense. Having babies and toddlers in tow often meant my plans went awry. I have laughed and I have also shed many tears of frustration, sometimes feeling trapped and longing for time alone. I have nurtured. I have cuddled. I have read many books and sang many songs. I have been a madwoman. I have been a "mean mommy" at times. Many an evening, as my husband walked in the house coming from work, I was grabbing car keys and walking out of the house without saying a word. All you heard was the screeching of the car as I wizzed out of the driveway. It seems as though, in some ways, those days are over. And, as crazy, mixed up, and twisted as this may sound: I am a little sad about it.
I guess that is just the paradox that defines motherhood. As much as you want to get away from your kids, you can't stand to be without them. As much as you want them to hurry up and grow up, you miss their tiny little hands and sweet little hugs. I know that no season can last forever. So, although I did cry a few tears today as I thought about how I no longer have any babies at home, I am also looking forward to and leaning into new adventures as a mom and as an individual.
Here is a photo taken on the first day of school last year.
Noelle - 4th grade, Bella - 3rd grade, Noah - 1st grade, Halle - Preschool. (2015-2016 School Year)
Here is the picture I took of them this morning.
Noelle - 5th grade, Bella - 4th grade, Noah - 2nd grade, Halle - Kindergarten. (2016-2017 School Year)