There's no time like June to realize how fast your children are growing up. The school year has just come to a close, and I am quite literally baffled at how my "baby" will be entering Kindergarten this fall. How am I no longer the parent of a pre-schooler, a title I have held for so long?
I describe it as a mild identity crisis. I am no longer the "young" mom of babies or toddlers or preschoolers. I am the mom of elementary aged kids. Ages 5 and 7 at the moment. How do I do this role well? It took a while to accept this transition to be honest. I was one of those women who loved being pregnant. I cherished the season of nursing and diapering. It just always felt right to have a baby on my hip. And as exhausting as the toddler and preschool years were, I look back on them as if they were a blip as well. So, mother on, strong sisters currently in that phase!
Why we decided to be done after two kids is a story for another time. And the journey to accepting that reality was a long and torturous one. But I find myself in such a beautiful, surrendered season right now. There are no longer diapers or cribs in our home. But instead, my home is filled with early reader chapter books, and bikes with only two wheels, and non-animated movies like The Sound of Music. Also? My kids will eat sushi when we go out to eat. Fist pump! They won't run out in the middle of the road anymore. They even take showers on their own. And bless the good Lord...they are finally able to buckle and unbuckle their own seat belts! It's wonderful. They're still so little, yet they're inching toward more independence every day. And while I'm listing all the benefits of this season, I certainly have to include the fact that my husband and I have reclaimed some of our physical time and space FOR EACH OTHER. Oh glorious day!
A friend recently pointed me toward this great essay about what the author describes as, "The Happy Middle Years" of parenting. She says it's the stage of "no longer, and not yet". And I love that. We are no longer waking up at various times of the night with toddlers to potty train or babies to nurse. But we are not yet waking up at various times of the night worrying if our teenage driver has gotten home from a party. Whew.
This truly is a beautiful season. It's hard, and good, and rewarding. And although it's still demanding in different ways, I do feel more confident as a mother than I ever have before. I feel more free as a mother than I ever have before.
Every season of motherhood (and life) brings with it new opportunities to grow, and produce, and sow, and harvest. I don't lose my identity at each of these transition points, Rather, I get the privilege of tacking on layers of wisdom. I get more chances to put my faith into action, and witness God's faithfulness in the hearts of myself and my children. Lord knows we'll need to reflect on his faithfulness during those teenager years, no?