14 years. That’s how long I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. Today I send my youngest(s) to kindergarten, it’s a big day! A lot of transitions this fall, a lot of new beginnings. Joey starts high school, Josh and Johnny start middle school, Lexi is going into 4th grade, Cassie and Callie start kindergarten and I start…what? A new chapter of parenting, of living, of making the most of every day.
We have six very different kids and it has been fun, challenging, frustrating, rewarding and hilarious to raise them thus far. I know sending the youngest to kindergarten in no way means I stand in my driveway as the bus pulls away this afternoon, wiping my hands together, “Well that’s done, what’s next?” But it will be different. In many ways the heavy lifting of the early years are done but the heavy lifting of the teen years is beginning (a friend of mine who has four kids spread out like ours except she has a new baby too, calculated that they would have a teenager in the house for the next 18 years!). There are the regular everyday parenting challenges (“Is not! Is to!, Is not! Is to!”) and then we have the additional challenges of raising a son with special needs…who is also just starting the teen years! So there is a lot on our plate but I’m excited about the new year ahead.
My new reality includes kids coming/going 7 times a day (not including before school homework help, afterschool classes, soccer practices, karate, etc.) but I will also have 3 hours every afternoon without any kids (cue the organ music and angel voices). That is uninterrupted time. Time where I can complete a whole thought. Time that I won’t have to multitask. (Quick quiz question, “What do five-year olds do when Mom has been cooking for a half-hour without noticing what they are doing?…You’re right, they go into my room, into my drawer and take out my dental floss to use on the kite they are making.”) Time to get all the “stuff” done so when the kids are around I can actually focus more on enjoying my time with them. And time to write. I’m excited to spend more time freelance writing and working on my books.
So this afternoon is the end and the beginning. The big launch. Cassie and Callie are excited and they are ready, so I am ready to see them take the next step. I will miss them, but I will also enjoy hearing about their adventures away from mom, just like the other kids. It is good.