Recently I’ve come to the realization that I am becoming the Old Mom.
Not only does having a child turn 15 make me feel old, but now that my youngest is 8, I know I no longer have a baby. One would think I would have realized this ages ago, but for some reason I had sort of put it in the back of my mind. The unpleasant knowledge sort of sitting there for a while, denying that my children have grown so much.
I hear it all the time, “I can’t wait until he can walk. Life will be so much easier.” “I can’t wait until she can tell me what she wants. That will make things so much better.”, or, one of my favorites, “I just can’t wait until he is in school. He’s ready. We’re all ready.” Ahh…I may have echoed those same hopes once upon a time, although I think mine were more along the lines of, “I can’t wait until she can nurse in under an hour so I can get more done around the house.” “If only she would sleep all night without needing me. It would make everyone so much happier.” “I’ll be so glad when she is potty trained. Life will really be good then.”
While my kids getting older does play into my recognition of my Mom-age, so does the overwhelming feeling of wanting to be able to wave the magic wand from my daughter’s dress-up trunk & wish time would STOP. When I listen to Moms with babies & toddlers talk about how tired they are and how much they look forward to the next stages for their children, I’m sorry but I just want to SCREAM! Not at them, really, but just to get their attention and let them know exactly how much I wish I were back in their shoes, burping my baby or helping my toddler learn new animal sounds. This is why I’ve graduated to Old Mom.
I’m that lady in the grocery store that smiles while your 3-year-old is having an absolute melt down because you said ‘no’ to the Lunchable. (I believe my dramatic 4th daughter’s words were, “YOU ARE the MEANEST Momma in the WHOLE WORLD!”)
I’m the lady that gazes at your crying newborn with a mix of joy and sadness. Knowing how precious those days are and how fast they pass, even though in the moment they can be some of the most demanding days of your life thus far.
I’m the lady that may walk up to you while you’re nursing and tell you what a precious investment that is for your baby, and to keep going as long as it feels right for you both. I did indeed have an elderly woman approach me in the mall one day, and at first I thought she might be about to scold me for breastfeeding in public, she put her hand on my arm, smiled and said that nursing was the best gift I was giving my child. It was one of the sweetest moments I’ve ever been fortunate enough to be a part of.
If I can offer you one bit of support in those moments when you wonder why on earth people do this thing called parenting when it feels as if all it is is a bunch of poop and tantrums, it would be this:
Eventually the diapers go away, for good. This also means an end to the bare tummy zerberts and the special diaper time routines. Eventually your child will walk & won’t always want to hold your hand. Eventually not only will your child sleep through the night but they will have sleepovers at someone else’s house and you will lie awake hoping that they are ok without you. Eventually you won’t have to be their most devoted caregiver but for now it is a time to treasure.
I wrote the following this past winter, while thinking about all that comes along with having children.
the dishes and all that laundry.
Someday I won’t have the noises,
it’ll just be him and me.Someday I won’t have to drive them
to ballet, to swim or to ski.
Someday I’ll have time for my friends,
They’ll grow their own wings & I’ll be free.Someday there won’t be blankets & chairs,
building forts and camping inside.
The only forts they’ll have will be in their own homes,
and instead of the builder, they’ll become the guide.Someday their noises will have spread across the land.
No longer together in this place.
No longer here to hold their hand.That someday will come,
for that I have no doubt.
So I will cherish today because
today is what life is all about.