These days, I find myself in a peculiar situation. My family has evolved and my kids are suddenly older. As in, I’m making my own life decisions, older.
Life sort of sneaks up on parents. How true the saying that reverberates through my heart – the days are long, but the years are short. One day you’re changing diapers, rocking babies, and wiping runny noses, and the next day, you’re filling out FAFSAs and watching your babies flap out of the nest to people and places you may know nothing about. I think this is a whole mess of terrifying. But it’s not something you can stop. This will happen. You have no control over it. And it’s going to be ok.
If you’re the parent of young kids, the old cliche is true. It’s bitter-sweet. And time flies. Kiss your babies’ sweet chubby cheeks and cuddle them on your lap every chance you get while they are still small. Pretty soon, teenage angst will appear, and things may get dicey. Gird your loins and suit-up. Put on your game face. I know this sounds drastic, but believe me, it’s necessary. And just when you think you just can’t anymore, a fresh surge of determination and courage will well up in you. Draw boundaries and love fiercely. Admit your mistakes, apologize when you’re wrong. Stand your ground when you’re not. You were built for this, mama.
For now, as a three-time teenage mom survivor and champion, I am here to tell you to have patience. Just as quickly as the adolescent twilight zone descends upon you, the fog will lift and the hormones that hijacked your kids will have dissipated, leaving you with children that are increasingly rational and adult-like. This is like a freaking miracle and your reward for braving the teenage years like a boss.
Wear the t-shirt.
You earned it.
Motherhood is equal parts pride, devastation, highs, lows, mistakes, triumphs, crazy, and sane. And I guarantee, no matter what, you could never have even imagined before you felt those first kicks, or saw the first smile, or heard the first word, or watched the first performance, how much love you could truly hold in your heart.
Then one strange day, you realize the road of motherhood looks different. It took forever as it snuck up on you. But it’s here and there’s no going back.
For me, stepping into the reality of a nest that is beginning to empty is scary and sad, but it’s also a new beginning. And a chance to dream about the next chapter and the beauty of the challenges and opportunities and miracles that it might hold.
It’s a time of letting go and watching my kids flounder and fly. It’s about growing, and learning, and my heart breaking just a little more as my three birds spread their wings and soar. But it’s also about my heart brimming to the full with love for them, and the pride and wonderment that comes from seeing them take off and land, over and over again.
This nest is changing. The rooms look different and the sounds – they are not the same as they once were.
But this nest, it’s still the best.