Article by Wendy McCance
This is the last week of school for my children. I have mixed emotions associated with the end of this school year. This is my son’s last year in Elementary School. After this week, I won’t have any kids in Elementary School again. Somehow this is all too much for me to wrap my head around.
Tonight is my son’s graduation assembly. I’m sure I will be an emotional mess. The last few times I went into that Elementary school I would reminisce about how many more times I might walk those halls. I love the smell of the school which is kind of a mix of brown paper towel and powdered paint, crayons and glue. I love seeing the artwork on the walls and the posters with the inspiring sayings. I’ll miss seeing the little ones walking in a single file line down the hall. Or the kids running around tagging each other on the playground.
This morning I woke my son up and stuck the poor boy on my lap. He is long and gangly now, but I still wanted to snuggle him up like a toddler. He came downstairs for breakfast and I fawned over him. I made some oatmeal for him and I swear I was acting mushier than what he had to eat in his bowl.
I don’t really know why I am mourning the loss of kids in Elementary School. My friends think I’m crazy. I keep hearing comments like, “aren’t you happy to be out of the baby stage?” or, “think about all of the extra time you will have now that your kids are getting so independent.” Personally, I think these comments suck.
Over the weekend I was over at the in-laws and having a conversation about the kids growing up so fast. I said that even though I was in my mid 40’s, if I got pregnant again, I would be thrilled. Somehow I just haven’t gotten the hope for more kids shook out of my system. Needless to say, I got a funny look and an astonished reply about having more free time and enjoying the things that with a baby were difficult to juggle.
I think that maybe if I had my children 7 days a week 24 hrs a day, maybe I would be burnt out. Maybe at that point I would be doing the celebratory hurrah with a bottle of wine. Since the kids were tiny, I got jipped out of half of their time because of a divorce and joint custody arrangement. When I dig deep into my emotions, I really honestly am not sure that would make a difference though.
I am a caregiver. I love to be in a position to nurture and support. The kids always joke about the way I get when they are sick. I go into full on mommy mode. There is tea and juice and toast next to their bedside. Tissues and hard candies or throat soothers litter the bed. A tv is put on with any good show I can find for them. Sometimes its old shows that are searched out because of the nostalgia factor. The kids love to reminisce about shows from their (sniff) childhood. I always put a good book on the nightstand and some magazines or crayons and coloring books. Of course if there is a sore throat, gingerale and popsicles are a must. Seriously, when the kids get sick, I will go out specially to fill up a cart with any item I can find to soothe them and make being sick more bearable.
So tonight I will go to my son’s graduation and beam with pride for all that he has accomplished. I am thrilled at what a terrific son I have. I will just have to get over the fact that the kids are growing up. In the meantime, our poor pets are getting an extra dose of suffocating love and affection. It’s my replacement strategy. This morning I shared a poptart with our ferret. My oldest daughter watched me coddle our little pet and rolled her eyes as she walked away. Obviously, this is going to be a difficult process for me.
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