This week my baby, the youngest of my three, began kindergarten. This week my home was empty all day for the first time in a long time.
There is a soothing, and almost therapeutic, quality to the silence right now. But in the silence lingers so many thoughts and feelings. I have been going through my day acknowledging the weight of the silence but scared to fully honor the emotion of this transition. But here I am.
Mostly I just can’t believe I got here so quickly. Being a stay-at-home mom to my young children is something I will forever be grateful for.
Time sure did fly though. It seems to defy logic that my youngest is now in school all day.
I tried so hard to be mindful, to slow things down and to appreciate even those days that felt so impossibly long and hard. I reminded myself during those hard days that this would soon all be a distant memory – a memory that I would long for.
People tell me I will love this alone time. They tell me the days will go quickly and before I know it my children will be bounding back through my front door. I know they are right. I also know that I need this time for my growing business, for myself…but logic defies me right now.
Right now I feel strange in my empty house. My mind is confused seeing the kitchen sink clean and empty, no longer filled with with little dishes – plastic spoons and bowls that won’t break if crashed to the floor by chubby little fingers.
It’s funny the things I will miss about being home all day with my children…. I will miss cutting crusts off grilled cheese midday, and Friday mornings on the couch with coffee and cartoons. I will miss afternoon walks through the woods, and having someone to chat with as I wind my way through the isles of the grocery store. I will miss having an inquiring mind by my side to fill up with thoughts and observations of the world around us. I will miss having heads to kiss and hair to smell any time I want….
This morning I found myself thinking about bubbles, picturing my children running across the grass chasing them. Watching a child play with bubbles is a beautiful reminder of all the joy that naturally lies within us, if we can only let it out. This is what my children do for me. They not only bring me joy, but they remind me of the joy that is within me. Their constant presence made it easy to see and to feel joy. Now I must redefine the way I infuse joy into my time from 8:02-3:23 Monday through Friday.
I have been so lucky to have been home with my children. Surrounded by so much love. All day. Love. Just right there at my fingertips filling my cup, nurturing my heart.
Of course there were days so long I didn’t think I’d make it until bedtime. But the memory is a beautiful thing…..Those hard days, the long days, the days when I felt alone and exhausted…..those have all faded. And I am left with shiny memories of big loving eyes, and the beauty of the small world I got to live in with my young children.
This is where the world starts to get bigger. Life begins to be defined by more than what happens just within the walls of our home. But my baby is ready. She is ready for this adventure. She has watched her brother and sister blossom as their own worlds have expanded, and now it is her turn. Her mind is a sponge, her eyes wide and her heart open. And I am still here. I am still right beside her. Right beside each of them, ready with an open hand when they need to reach out.
When I think about my days and years at home with my babies, I know that I did savor every moment. I acknowledged that I was living through some of the best years of my life. I did pause and reflect and appreciate it even when I was so very tired.
And maybe that’s part of why the end of that era and the start of this new one weighs so heavily on me right now. Because I remember how good each moment felt. How wonderful it was to have a baby at my breast, or a giggling little one on my hip as I went about my day… hearing imaginative voices playing in the playroom while I cooked dinner, reading stories cuddled up in one chair – all of us able to squeeze in together….I can still feel it. And I miss it.
But now, having properly honored the emotion of this transition, I again open my heart and my mind to our new adventure. The definition of my days may be changing, but my love is not. This new beginning is exciting, and wonderful, and it will give each of us opportunity for growth that I am extremely thankful for.
And so, with a deep breath, I take the first steps into the next phase of this beautiful life.
I just stumbled across this post, and as a Mama to 3 little ones ( and a photographer-in-progress as well) it is just what I needed to hear. As I stumble through the “hard days, the long days, the days when I (feel) alone and exhausted….” I need reminders that this won’t be the framework of my life indefinitely, and there is so much in it worth cherishing.
Thank you Joanna! I’m so glad this post resonated with you. So many of our mama feelings and emotions are universal. Hugs to you!
This is so beautiful, and so true.
Oh goodness, Jen. This made me tear up so intensely. Sometimes the pandemic feels like a reprieve from the empty house and sometimes it feels like I will never have alone time again, but your words are so beautiful and real and true. Thank you! (for some reason this is typing in all caps and won’t let me switch).
So glad this resonated with you Tanya. There’s so many emotions that accompany each year of growth for our babies <3