I get up every morning with my children. As soon as the alarm goes off, I know they’ll be slowly coming to life and making their way to the bathroom.
I know I need to be ready to give them the 6:30am reminder since they need to be out the door by 7 to make it to school on time and really, getting up this early in the morning isn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do.
I know exactly what we have to do every morning to get the day started
I know they will fight over bathroom time. I know I’ll need to remind my youngest to pack some protein for his lunch and tighten his palate expander for him. I know I will kiss their three, lazy, delicious smelling heads and watch them drive away.
I’ll spend my day getting my work done so I can be present with them that evening. My daughter asks to go pick something up–sometimes it’s hair dye, a face-mask, a new shade of polish or ingredients to a recipe she wants to make– about once a week. We go together, making a date out of it.
My boys crave things like pizza and wings. My oldest likes to shop online for car accessories. And we make a date out of those things too.
I have to prompt them to do homework and chores
I know they will come home and I’ll have to prompt them to do chores. I’ll remind them that if they want to hang out with their friends, their rooms will have to be clean. They will be hungry and raid the fridge and cupboards and I’ll have to go to the grocery store a few times a week to sustain them. There, I’ll see the man who has bagged my groceries for years and remembers when they’d come with me when they were small. He’ll ask about them and I’ll beam telling him only the good stuff, which will put me in a happy mood on my drive home.
I’ll remind my kids to do their homework. I’ll remind them of how much I love them. I’ll remind them to hold the door open for other people and to make sure they brush their teeth really well. I’ll schedule my life around their appointments and ask them a few times what their plans are for the weekend so I can be sure we get some family time squeezed in there.
I cart my daughter to lacrosse practice. I drop my son off at the movies with his friends. I tell my oldest to text me when he gets to work so I know he’s there safely. During a long shift, I like to surprise him with a meatball sandwich.
I’m there to pick up their backpacks from the floor and the dramatic pieces of their social life when they are struggling. I’m there to push them to do their best when it comes to grades and other people’s feelings. I’m there to motivate, inspire, comfort them. I’m there to show them a good time and what it means to have feelings and fall apart sometimes.
I make them their favorite dinners and cookies. I recognize their smell as soon as they walk in the house.
I’ve taught them how to drive; how to knit; how to wipe their bum correctly.
I’ve helped them redecorate their room when they grew up a bit and developed a style of their own.
I can count on them to be in my life right now. They anchor me. I work hard to provide for them. I bite my tongue around them–they make me want to be a better person when I feel like I’m going to lose my cool.
My children have given my life more meaning than anything, or anyone, ever has. They are the reason I wake up early. And the reason I need to go to bed early because I am exhausted.
I rather like being anchored. I adore having them around to push me. I’m in love with our days– even the hectic ones–because I feel such a strong sense of purpose.
I am afraid of losing that anchor when they leave
And I’m afraid of not having these three nails in my sneaker. I don’t want to feel like a buoy that’s been cut loose to float in the waves of a huge ocean not really knowing what to do next because the three people who have kept me anchored for so long won’t be here with me any longer.
I know I’ll always have a place in their life and my job as their mother will never completely go into retirement. But it will be different and I won’t have a choice or a say in the matter.
I will miss them terribly. I will miss it terribly. I will miss who we used to be. And while I know there are exciting things that will lie ahead for all of us, it will be scary to not be anchored in the way I have been for so long.
There isn’t a part of me that’s looking forward to it. Not even a little bit.
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