I was about 2 months away from becoming a Mom for the first time. When I think back to that time, it feels like it was almost another life. So many things have happened since then (not the least of which has been my becoming a Mom 4 more times) and I have grown so much as a person that I almost don't recognize the me of way back then.
One thing you don't count on as a first time parent is that your own personal growth and change will affect the way you parent. I have been blessed, very blessed indeed, to have been a stay at home mom for this last decade and a half. I would not trade, for anything, the privilege of having been the sole care giver for my children. But, the last 15 years have also added some thoughts to my brain that maybe weren't there yet when I was 24.
I couldn't see, back then, that there would come a time in my life that the kids would all be in the process of growing, not be as needy and demanding as babies and toddlers can be, and that I would once again have the time to think my own thoughts. I couldn't see that part of what I was doing was helping them to get to the point that they would be increasingly more independent.
I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean to imply that I think my kids no longer need me. No indeed. I know that's not true, but the physically demanding part has lightened up considerably. This year, they were all in school and even though it was only half days for Pierce, it was the first time since 1997 that I could count on some time to myself each day.
And I realized that somewhere along the way, I have done a lot of growing up.
My vision of life and the world has been expanded.
I've come to understand that although I still have a long ways to go, there will come a time when my kids will be grown and have their own lives.
And when that time comes, I am not the kind of person who will be happy passing my time at the gym and salon.
How could I be? How could I go from doing what I feel is one of the most important jobs on the planet to doing not much? I won't be able to. So, it's back to school I go.
I'm quite certain that this will be a very long road for me. I have maybe 10 college credits to my name and what I'm after will require a Masters. Also, I have these 5 amazing children and this great husband and I have no intention of being so busy that I'm unavailable to them. But, I am going to get started. I am going to commence with "baby steps" and "eating the elephant one bite at a time" and all of that. I am going to embrace the beginning of a new season.