I have been doing a lot of thinking about milestones lately…milestones in work…milestones in marriage (my parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary)…milestones in growing up. The milestones in child-rearing are the ones that I spend the most time thinking about.
You see…I thought I was free and clear when my kids were old enough to stay at home by themselves…then old enough to drive…then old enough to watch the dog when I went out of town on business. I didn’t count on the old enough to talk back…old enough to want independence…old enough to spend the summer with Aunt Molly…old enough to go to college…old enough to leave me…
When our kids are younger we wait with the camera at ready to capture those “firsts” like rolling over, sitting up, walking, talking. Something happens along the way…between kindergarten and senior year…we are no longer so ready to pull out the camera and capture the milestones…the battles…the good-byes.
I don’t enjoy the fights about keeping the room clean, doing the laundry, setting a curfew, enforcing family time. What happened? All a natural evolution…just like rolling over…but oh…it sure isn’t as cute...and sometimes it hurts!
I have been spending a lot of time rationalizing my thoughts and feelings. “It is all normal,” I tell myself and continue with, “They are so much better off asserting their independence…this is the right thing for them…it isn’t about me!”
I don’t think it is just a single mom thing…but I think it might be more pronounced. In many instances our lives have been our kids…it has had to be. There just wasn’t enough time to take care of work, laundry, bills, kid activities, kid homework, and still have a life of my own. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t regret it. I wouldn’t do it any differently. But…when they gain that independence and they aren’t at home…I am left with myself. Left to wonder…what’s next? What do I like to do? Is it time to start achieving my own milestones…ones that are just about me?
It is a new game…a new day…one that has more time for me. I will still be here for the kids…but they don’t need me in the same way. It is different now. I need to adjust to the new life…to the new expectations…to the new reality. Time for me…huh?