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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Last First Days of School

Every year I love seeing all the 'First Day of School' pictures of my friends' kids on social media.  It seems that back-to-school is a significant milestone every year... for us moms especially.  It marks the passing of time, shows the evidence of our children growing up and the reality of how fast these years indeed fly by.
This year, I've watched a few members of my sisterhood tribe send their kids off to college. Through the bittersweet, joyful, exciting and sad experience, I've seen them be brave but also mourn as a significant season of motherhood passes.

I have 2 years left and that familiar motherhood vulnerability is already rearing up when I think about my girls leaving home.

That vulnerability starts the day we find out we are expecting our first child. We enter into a sisterhood with our mothers and grandmothers, with women throughout time, with our Blessed Mother Mary.  A whole new set of emotional wiring, out of nowhere, suddenly comes online, fires up and starts to immediately change our hearts.  It's a fierce love, sacrificial for sure, protective, nurturing, championing and yet it also makes us anxious, exposed and vulnerable as our children's very lives, health, and safety have the power to affect and hurt us so deeply.

My daughters are 10th and 11th grade this year. They've already started to evaporate from our home and daily life.  My husband has traveled extensively for his job over the last 14 years so they have also been my sweet companions. Before they hit high school, they had a rotating schedule of who's turn it was to sleep with me and I so enjoyed our nightly chats before falling asleep.  We'd do girls nights out, shopping trips and of course their sports activities together during the week.

For years, I thought the constant shuttling every evening after work to their games, activities and practices would never end. Now I really miss the conversations and time in the car...how quickly perspective changes.  I'm trying to be strategic in seizing opportunities to engage but catching up with them is more challenging now.

I have 2 years left and want to savor the time but not hover, equip not enable, foster their independence and capability and not be a 'helicopter parent'.  I need the wisdom, experience and inspiration from my sisterhood tribe that has gone before me.  How do you do this well amidst all the conflicting emotions and the desire to hang onto them?  How do you encourage them to create their future when you see their potential while they are so focused on the here and now?  When to push and when to allow them to succeed or fail on their own?

The girls and I were recently at my aunt's cabin, which is actually another strategy...take my daughters captive and go out of town.  She was remembering her daughter's senior year and going through all the 'lasts'.  Back then, she kept asking herself "are the best years now over?" Thankfully, she looked me in the eye and said, "the seasons of motherhood change but the best years didn't end there."  I'm counting on this wisdom!




1 comment:

  1. Jami, The best days are always yet to come. Honored to be in your sisterhood tribe. Trust your instincts. I can feel your daugthers' competent spirits all the way to Chicago. They've been watching and being loved by you, my friend.

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