This I Believe

Stacie - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Entered on January 25, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

My children are starting school again in what will be too soon. One in third grade and one in his first year of kindergarten. T minus 7 and counting until they blast off from the safety net of our home out into the planet Life. I feel like someone has kicked me in the stomach. I can’t breathe. My heart hurts. I think I am becoming the drama queen that I teasingly accuse my daughter of being.

It’s wonderful to be a parent and watch all your hard work pay off. Chew with your mouth closed. Wash your hands after using the potty. Say sorry, please, excuse me, and thank you. Look before you cross the street. It’s amazing to see these little creatures that started out totally dependant on you morph into

incredible little people with their own likes and dislikes, talents and dreams.

There are of course times that aren’t that wonderful like when your daughter does as mine did last week and tells you sweetly that some of the clothes you pick out for her are ugly. Ouch. What

does that say about some of my outfits? Who knew that a eight year old could cause junior high

flashbacks? Or when my 3 year old tells me to “stop singing” in the car because I am giving him a headache. And….I’m getting defensive over a three year old’s comment.

While I want my children to experience all the best of life, I dread the life lessons that they will learn. When my son comes to me crushed because his friend chose someone else to be on his kickball team instead of him, I will tell him it’s about doing his personal best and not about competing. I know that it will be hard for me to be calm and unemotional when my daughter comes to me after being teased for some invisible elementary school infraction, or when her best friend suddenly isn’t, or when she is excluded from a group.

I’ve noticed even more how the mommies have been replaced more frequently with just Mom. A way, I suppose, of preparing me for the inevitable growing up. And the sometime Maaa-ummm, complete with head toss and eye rolling is a preview of teen years. But I still am mommy, especially when someone trying so hard to be big falls down. Then, it’s mommy who is needed to gently clean the owie and put on the Strawberry Shortcake or Batman Band-aid.

When I think of my children moving on without me, I can’t catch my breath. An ache starts in me that I can’t erase. The tears start and I’m in my own Hallmark commercial. I can’t imagine how I will hold it

together on that first day.

Last night my daughter awoke crying because of leg cramps. While I sat on her bed, and pushed back her damp hair and rubbed her legs, I told her that her leg cramps were called growing pains and she got them because she was turning into such a big girl. Today, she told me she loved me and she would never move out of our house. My eyes filled with tears. What is it, they both

asked. Growing pains, I replied. Growing pains.