First days have always thrown me for a loop.
NO MATTER HOW LOOKED FORWARD TO THEY ARE.
Like giving birth to my firstborn sons. “Your twins were born too early. They’re going to be in the NICU for a little while.”
It was straight into a month-long nightmare of feeding tubes, constantly beeping monitors and lonely drives home empty-handed. The transition from pregnant mama to NICU mama was scary. But the transition home to care for graduated NICU babies without a medical staff was even scarier!
NO MATTER HOW PREPARED FOR THEY ARE.
Like kicking my co-sleeping toddlers out of my bed once and for all. “Get your feet off me! You’re too big to be sleeping with Mama still. Scoot over!”
No matter how determined I am for the transition, I still find myself an emotional wreck. On the first night that my bed was perfectly still, quiet and free of ninja-kicking toddlers, like I begged for, worry kept me from getting any sleep. I was across the hallway with one eye and both ears open, waiting for the tiniest cry or wrinkle in their bedding to jump to their rescue and cuddle them for the rest of the night.
NO MATTER HOW CHEERFUL THEY SEEM TO BE.
Like my babies’ first day of school. “That Batman backpack is the COOLEST!” “Honey, you’re going to make so many new friends with that new, pigeon riding on a skateboard, graphic tee you picked out!”
I may be smiling and cheering my kids into their first day of elementary school, but my heart is in full resistance mode. The world is ready for them, my sons are ready for the world, but Mama’s heart is breaking. This is robbery! Those are my babies. We’ve always explored the world together, side by side. And now, our time is up.
These transitions are tough for Mama. They’re tough for all of us. But they’re so incredibly functional.
So, breathe Mama. Cry into their lunchboxes if you need to. But don’t let this sadness, this emptiness, this newness DISTRACT you.
Let it REMIND you.
There’s nothing like the heartbreak of another first day to remind Mama to slow down and appreciate where we are now. I cherish my family more. I cherish the ordinary more.
“Pester me with your endless conversations, please!” “Of course, I’ll play with you now. Who needs laundry anyway?!” With every milestone we pass, I have a renewed gratitude for each of our littlest moments together.
LET IT STRENGTHEN YOU.
Tough transitions make for one tough mother. Ever wonder where Grandma, or Great Grandma, gets her superpowers from, like her extreme patience or her expert-level enthusiasm and encouragements? Grandma has experienced enough tough transitions to know precisely which small things need her attention and which don’t. And that’s exactly why our kids LOVE Grandma’s special home.
Mud on the carpet? “Meh.” Endless demands for more snacks or entertainment? “You can ask Grandma for anything!” Temper tantrum? “That strong will is going to take you places, kid!” These first days are tough. But it’s this testing and these challenges that will teach us what matters most, making us expert spoilers and caretakers!
Let it EXCITE you.
This mountainous milestone of YEAR ONE of school can sure make a mama feel more distant and less needed. But it just isn’t true. There isn’t a single transition that will take away the impact Mama has on the family. Not the kids starting elementary school, not them graduating high school, not them moving out, getting married, or beyond. But every transition gives Mama a new opportunity to serve today and to make an impact now.
I’m not needed less in this season; I’m needed differently in this season. I may not be at the front of my kids’ classroom to teach them anymore, but this back row seat, cheering for and encouraging my kids more than anyone else on the planet, has a pretty special view.
So, cry for a little while (or all day) if you need to. Then, get ready and get excited for where these transitions are taking ALL of you!