NY schools don't end for the summer until June 23, so I am currently in the midst of choir, band, drama, sports, and academic end of the year award assemblies. For some reason, these assembles have hit me hard. (It could be the fact that Todd is in Norway and I am flying solo.)
My oldest son, Jakob, is a Junior. (Drew is a Sophomore.). I have ONE MORE YEAR of life as I know it now.
How I will cherish this year.
Our last summer together, our last Thanksgiving, our last Christmas, his last birthday. The last time 4 of my older kids will sing in choir and play in band together.
I get teary-eyed noticing an unloaded dishwasher. Will my girls ever be as disciplined as their brothers are? Oh, I will miss my boys.
It's actually funny. As reluctant as I am to send Jakob off, I am quite eager to send Eve and Ben to school. My mind craves time without toddlers. For 17 years I have been constantly wondering if they were safe, fed, smart enough, kind enough, loved enough, disciplined enough, or happy enough. I just know I'm going to love having school hours to accomplish tasks so that I can stop multi-tasking and really connect when they are home.
It is quite ironic that wishing time to speed up (Eve goes to Kindergarten this fall, Ben doesn't go until 2018) is actually pushing not only Jakob, but also Drew out the door faster. You can't slow down the older years and speed up the younger ones at the same time. And really, I love these younger years.
When I think about my older children, my heart aches for what I did not give them. I feel bad for the track meets I didn't watch. I hate that we stopped piano lessons when I got sick. I wish we had more money for exotic family vacations and I hope with my whole soul that they remember me laughing and loving (not just yelling at them to turn off the tv and get their chores done.) I hope they didn't have too many rules or too much responsibility. I hope they know I love them and I hope they feel that I delight in who they are.
Jakob spoke at an award assembly last night. He was humble, well-spoken, kind, funny, confidant, and adorable.
I was so proud of him and I just knew in my soul that in the midst of the hundred things we didn't do right as parents, we did some things right. He is good. Really, I have always felt blessed to be his mother, to be their mother.
I have great plans for this last year and the many last year's that follow.
My personal goal is to DELIGHT in my family. I want them to feel that I love them more than I need them to know I expect them to clean their room (although I'm glad they know how to keep their rooms clean). I'm really focusing on my physical and mental health. I'm exercising every day (just walking outside) and I'm giving myself permission to take time for health and strength. This is the year I return to myself. I feel it.
I want my kids to really love each other. Not just love, but like each other. I want them to have fun together. We're planning more sibling dates-- where we take just the older kids out and hire a sitter for the little ones. It really is fun hanging out with older kids. I've turned off video games and really restricted TV and movies. (I told jakob after next year he can play Civilization for as long as he wants-- but this is my last year to choose.) I want them to learn to unwind DOING things not just numbing out. We've actually played more family games in the last few weeks than we have in a long time. The kids are walking with me. I want to get more use out of our basketball hoop. I want to hike more and laugh over ice cream.
I'm going to beg Jakob to take one more year of piano lessons and sign him up for voice. These are skills I just want him to have. And, I'm going to plan a trip to take the place of Christmas. Anyone have any ideas?
I ran upstairs last night to grab my shoes and remind my girls to hurry up. Anna was in the hall bathroom and Ellie was in my bathroom. They were both putting on a little make-up and they were both beautiful. All three of us wear the same size shoes these days. I LOVE THESE KIDS. My eyes brimmed with tears as I encouraged them to hurry up. Man, being a mom is the hardest most amazing job.
Ellie grabbed a pair of my high-heal wedges to wear to her assembly. When we got to the school she realized she really couldn't walk in them. She was literally crying in the parking lot. I was laughing. As I hugged her I just whispered-- "I'm SO glad you're still little." I'm SO glad I have her, so glad she has 4 or 5 year until she needs to know how to wear heels for prom. I'm so glad I have eight. My heart couldn't handle a drastic end to highschool. From the first day he entered nursery, confidently waving for me to leave him at the door (I was teary then and he was excited), Jakob has always paved the way through these transition times.
I'm still stitching, but I'm almost done with this stage. There are a lot of mistakes in my Sampler, but it's beautiful.
These years of parenting have been hard every single day. There is so much I'm still learning and there is a whole list of things I admire in other families that we will never be. But, my soul sings with gratitude that I got to live this dream of mine. I know I will miss this. I miss it already and I'm still living it. I have loved every stage of parenting. I know it gets better and I'm ready for these next stages.
I think I'm just going to spend these next few months finishing up and looking for the perfect frame. I wonder what my next project will be?