Do you have a new baby that keeps you up at night?! I do too, except, my baby is 5 years, 9 months, 1 week and 2 days and keeps me up for different reasons than a typical baby. Sure, we have the occasional tummy ache and bad dream, but for the most part, it’s all sound on the sleep front. I’m not saying this to brag at all- believe me if I read this when my “baby” was still a baby, I would have rolled my eyes and tried to find the writer’s email address to send angry emails to. I’m saying this as a reflection- this “baby” of mine started his first day of Kindergarten today. And I haven’t slept much the past week because there was a cloud looming over this date on the calendar, one that I knew was coming and pushed to the back of my mind. A cloud I’ve seen for the last 9 years, the length of time that I have been a full-time stay at home mom and the same cloud I prayed for when my son was still not sleeping through the night at 13 months old, throwing tantrums, or just fighting with his older sister.
My sleepless nights are easier and harder now. Will he make friends at school? Will he feel sad or scared when I’m not there to comfort him? Have I prepared him enough for this big step? And on this big day, as he climbed on to the bus without a single look back, these thoughts bring tears, nausea and gratitude. I kept the tears at bay until after I was home alone and although these tears were a mix of happy and sad, they are familiar tears. Tears for your children. Happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, proud tears- all of these tears fill me even more gratitude. Gratitude for the time we’ve had at home together, the time I’ve had- I know that I’m fortunate in so many ways. I’m grateful I have happy and healthy children that are growing up and grateful for all the times people told me to “Enjoy them, they grow up so fast” because even though I hated when people told me that, I still took the advice and will continue to do so. It’s been a blink- they were right.
And as much as this day reflects time changing and kids growing, it’s also a look into the future. What does life look like for a full-time stay at home mom when there are no children at home to mother? If you ask my father, he thinks my days will now be spent shopping on Michigan Avenue and eating chocolate while getting pedicures. Thanks dad. If you ask my husband, he would probably answer something like doing the “behind the scenes” work to make our lives run smoothly. If you ask my children, they would probably say I’m going to go to Target and clean the kitchen. To be honest, I don’t know what this new chapter in my life will look like. I’m blessed with an amazing part-time job right here at The Stork Bag and I plan on volunteering at my kids’ school more frequently, but beyond that- who knows? This cloud over today isn’t a rain cloud- just a cloud that will soon blow away to reveal the day ahead. And until then, I’m going to enjoy a little “me” time before the bus comes home in a couple hours. Or 83 minutes… but who’s counting. 😊