I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
One Year Later: Less Tears and More Excitement….
A year ago I wrote about taking my daughter to college for the first time and the intense grief that I experienced. It is hard to believe than an entire year has passed and that in just a few days we will be carting our girl off again to begin her second year of college and reunite with the life she loves. I realize that I am not as grief stricken as I was before and for a moment I feel a sense of guilt. I should be sad right? I should be full of tears, anxiety and worry, but this time I am not. As a matter of fact, I am quite excited for her. She has proven herself to be quite capable of taking care of herself and making her own decisions; and even though I still struggle with not having complete control over everything she does, I know that that is how life is supposed to be. Having spent an entire year without her permanently living in our home (she spent the summer living and working at a summer camp coming home only on the weekends.) I discovered that I can do this; and so can she. In the beginning my grief was so heavy that I neglected important parts of my own life and as the year progressed I found myself working to get a grip let go of the grief and find peace with it all.
My son started high school this past week and my preschool started a new year as well. As I woke my son early Monday morning I was filled with a sense of nervousness and anxiety. I was worried about the whole high school scene to begin with but with everything being so new and uncertain I was a bit on edge. Thinking about him throughout the day I wondered if he made it to class on time or found the cafeteria and was able to eat lunch and catch the bus on time. Knowing in my head that he was okay did not ease the worries I had in my heart. After all, I am the momma, and worry is what I do best. As the time slowly ticked away that afternoon and the bus was later than expected I allowed myself to worry that he had missed the bus or that there had been some sort of mishap on the road. Quickly my worries were relieved as he walked through the door and began to fill the quietness of our home with stories of his first day. Whew! I was relieved and thankful to have the opportunity to listen to him share the details of his day over and over and over.
When I opened my classroom door a few days later to start my school year with a new group of three year olds, I was once again filled with a bit of anxiety; this time not for myself but for my students and their parents. This is one time I have no need for anxiety; I’ve done this for 11 years I know I am going to be okay. As each child cautiously crept into the room, I began to notice a certain look on the parents’ faces. Yep, the same look I had a few days before when my son left for high school and the same one I had a year ago when my daughter left for college and every other “first day” I’ve had over the past 19 years. Taking time to acknowledge their fears I shared with these anxious parents that I knew how they
felt and that I would call them if there were any problems. Hoping to ease their fears, I took several pictures of each smiling child and emailed them to the parents that afternoon.
Fear is a big part of a parent’s life. When we first find out we are expecting a baby our minds fill with all sorts of “Hallmark” ideas; none of which involve fear, anxiety, worry or stress. But just about the time you hear that baby cry for the first time somewhere from out of the blue comes a tinge of worry that will grow throughout the years often times without you even knowing it is there. And if you let it (like I did), it will consume your every thought and take away what is beautiful about watching your child grow up. Worry and caution are natural and good in certain amounts. Do not let it take charge and cause you to miss out on the excitement of watching your children grow and become the person they are supposed to be. Even now as I write this there are things I worry about for my children and wish that I could change or do over, but knowing that their life is not up to me to live I have to find a way to let go and allow them to be their own person. I read a social media status the other day that referenced an upcoming trip to a magical theme park that counted down the days until the parent had their kids back and they didn’t have to go to school and they could be on their way to fun filled vacation. Another parent expressed sadness that her son was having a birthday; she couldn’t believe how quickly he was growing up and it made her sad. I felt a little sad for them because growing up is necessary, school is necessary and letting our children experience these things is necessary. I encourage you to let these things happen with excitement for them and for yourself. Our job as parents will never end; the job description will change but it will never end. Embrace each milestone in your child’s life and recognize that their milestone is yours as well. Every day is an accomplishment. Every birthday is a blessing. Dwelling on what you feel you are losing overshadows what your child is gaining; independence and a life of their own that they are working toward. Constant sadness over this will overshadow your ability to reap the rewards of your work as a parent. Take lots of pictures, keep a journal to document your feelings and emotions, and embrace these wonderful experiences keeping in mind that our parents had to do this for us.
Being a parent is a lifetime job; there is no retirement. Learning how to handle the job is an ever changing adventure. In the words of Elizabeth Stone “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.