As I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner tonight it struck me:
Yesterday my next door neighbor dropped her third child off at college.
Early this morning friends of ours had their first baby.
Tomorrow morning my ten year olds start the 4th grade.
I am not yet a veteran of parenting, but I am not such a newbie either. I am smack dab in the middle of this parenting journey (the at-home years, anyway) and it is a sweet place.
My kiddos still play in the backyard, but I don't have to be the activities coordinator. I can really play against them in board games, soccer, races and the like--and they beat me more often than not. Their questions are insightful. They ask me to explain things that are out of my league. (I am increasingly asking myself what parents did before Google.) They are able to articulate feelings and ideas that give a glimpse into how they are growing. Individual personalities are quite clear and defined.
But they are still children. They call me Mommy and want me around (most of the time). We act silly in the car and they aren't too big to believe in child-like things. I am still called upon occasionally for band-aids and kisses.
We have a long way to go in the next nine years together, but I am truly excited about where we are headed. I feel peace and joy in the journey, but have been increasingly feeling like days are approaching when K,P & R will start to feel more insecure. I don't want to put that on them, but am making efforts to check in.
As we put them to bed tonight, each child's tuck in involved two questions:
What are you most excited about in 4th grade?
What are you nervous about?
After we talked about their answers, my husband and I encouraged them to pray...talking to God just like they had talked to us. It was a sweet time, but the simple prayer of my P was just the gift my heart needed.
"Dear God, I just want to tell you that I love you and I'm really not worried about 4th grade."
I walked out of his room with a sigh and a goofy grin. They aren't worried. This is a year when they get to feel 'in the groove' of elementary school--and I get to step back and let them grow.
I am not feeling like the frantic Mama of first days of years past. I feel peace. Of course, this is real life. It won't be perfect, but it IS well with my soul.