This house is quiet y’all. The second week in after back to school and the silence after the kids leave is deafening. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want my kids home with me instead of at school. School is the place where all Riley children belong during the day. My crazy could pop at any moment and school helps prevent that. Summer was hard friends, let’s not forget. But this year something has changed. My youngest is in 2nd grade so I have had a few years without children underfoot at all times and yet still now something is different. Maybe it’s just that it’s still pretty early in the school year and I’m still getting used to the adjustment. Or maybe if I dig a bit deeper I will find that this unsettling feeling is brought on by the realization that they are doing all of this growing up stuff simply to leave us one day. Rude.
“Mommy, please don’t read my class any stories this year.” Wait, whaaaa? What did I just hear? My second grader Connor, my baby, does not want me reading books to his class anymore? I basically have a Ph.D. in Skippyjon Jones so this one cuts deep. First of all, as all of the previous teachers of my kids can attest, I am an extremely skilled class reader. Like dramatical as all get out with funny accents and gestures and lots of crowd participation. The kids love my reading. Well, the kids who aren’t actually mine love my reading. Is it simply that I am embarrassing him or is it more than that? No way I could be embarrassing, obvi, so this must be just another one of those mom moments when you realize how fast they’re growing up. OK fine. So now my baby doesn’t want me making cameos in his class anymore. What’s next? Will he insist that he’s too old for me to be chasing him around the house trying to bite his tooshie? Next up, college! Basically.
At the moment my Middle Skittle, Baylor, is not stressing me out immensely. He is an easygoing quintessential middle child and he’s not currently giving me too much to worry about. Hmmm, well there is the hug situation. When I hug him now it’s different. He’s crazy tall and we have had to adjust our stance. He doesn’t just fold into me anymore. I am tall myself and I only have him by a few inches so basically, I have a baby man living in my house. His feet are already bigger than mine and I have big feet! I am raising a child who will be taking questionable 53-minute showers before I know it. How did this happen? They are little and then they are not. And he’s not even in that funny voice, awkward posture, spotty hair growth stage. But at least I know what I have to look forward to! I’m. Not. Ready.
When my daughter turned 12 she literally grew up overnight. The changes were subtle yet immediate. Prior to this, I had been terrified of her starting middle school. I thought this was when everything would change. But, no. She was still a sweet kid. Starting 6th grade brought about changing classes every hour but really didn’t change a lot with Madeline herself, at least not that I could see. But now she’s THIRTEEN. She is all of the things that 13-year-old girls are supposed to be. She is beautiful. GORGEOUS actually in that perfect yet awkward stage we can all relate to. And my sweet girl is smart. She is now old enough and skeptical enough to not accept every word I say as fact. She understands to her core that Mom does not know everything. Turns out, Mom knows nothing. If you haven’t been here yet, I will warn you. This stage is not easy.
Missing My Babies
When they are little, you are everything. You are always right and sooooo pretty and funny and smart and the worst crime you commit is enforcing an early bedtime. They give you snuggles and demand your time and fill your heart. This time is sweet but truly so short. I’ve read articles about women feeling all bent out of shape when older, wiser people tell them “they grow up so fast.” But it’s freaking true! Even when I was in the thick of it with littles this phrase never bothered me. I think it’s a nice reminder of how precious time really is. The years are truly flying by. I cannot imagine my babies leaving me but it will happen before I know it. I mom so hard and all but one day this will not be my primary identity and I just don’t even know.