If you know me personally or spent even just thirty seconds scrolling through my Instagram you know that my kids are my everything. Some may think parenting doesn’t change you but from experience I can say it does. My experiences may have changed me a little more and or differently then others but I can guarantee you I’ve changed. With all the beautiful things that motherhood brings I got the don’t have time for anyone’s crap attitude, cause really life is to short to play games, and the protective and comforting qualities to a severe degree. Again maybe the severity of these qualities came from having Brayden, my first born, be diagnosed with a heart condition before I even got to meet him followed by his years of treatment then having Makayla, my second born, be diagnosed with a heart condition after birth. Regardless of any parents personal story I believe to some degree there is the feeling to want to protect their children when they are born but its the as they grow older part that I am personally struggling with.
Throughout both of my children’s lives I have been there. I have been to every doctors appointment, sports practice, school function, I am the first person they see in the morning and the last person they see before they go to bed. I try to support them building friendships and in turn have built my own. I have been there for every boo boo that needed to be kissed and every no reason just because belly laugh. Now suddenly I feel that part of this is being ripped from me.
The reality is we can’t stop them from growing up. With every day that passes they are learning a little more, growing a little taller, and hopefully showing signs of becoming all you know they can be. My reality is hurting my heart. Not because they are bad kids but because they are growing up and I as their mother am not ready. That protective quality I talked about in the beginning is hindering my excitement for my kids and for myself. Brayden whose future was uncertain at one point is starting kindergarten and Makayla who has been with me everyday since birth is starting preschool and I for the first time ever will have a couple of hours in the mornings by myself to have peace and quiet, but I think thats what scares me the most, peace and quiet. They have become such a part of me that time alone on a daily basis seems scary. Actually no, what scares me the most is giving up control, dropping them off everyday at school and not knowing what they are doing, how they are feeling, if they need to be comforted – cue protective instincts – not being in control and being able to protect them not only scares but hurts me.
I don’t think I realized how much all of this was bothering me until Brayden’s first football practice the other night. It being his first football practice ever I knew he would need help figuring out the exercises but it wasn’t until a coach grabbed him and put him back in line that I realized how much having those protective instincts can hurt. It was my almost ready to jump out of my chair body reaction that made my husband turn to me and say “you need to let him go”. I don’t know how those words felt coming out of his mouth but hearing them was like having my ears stabbed with knives repeatedly but it was then that I realized everything in this post.
So where to go from here? When you realize your issues it should be easy to address them right? Well almost 6 years of protective mommy mode will definitely not go away over night or ever entirely and the idea of letting go is one I’m continuing to work through. What I do know is my kids are growing up and I can’t stop that nor would I want to so I need to learn to accept that I can’t control every situation. I need to focus on what I can control and that is teaching them things at home that will help them be able to navigate situations on their own as they continue to grow.
Find your strength,
So there’s all these weird superstitions revolving the number 13, the most common one being when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, you know the dreaded Friday the 13th? The 13th of the month has a whole new meaning to our family significant to our new journey in Arizona. Yesterday being the 13th marked one month since the kids and I got on a plane and arrived in our new home but it also marked four months since my husband started his job here. It’s hard to believe we’ve only been together again as a family for a month but I guess no matter how long you are apart if you really are family it will always automatically be right again. Don’t mistake that for its been easy because transitions like this with young children are hard. It has been and is still at times hard for them to accept that I am not the only one that can help them. They relied soley on me for 95 days, give or take the few days daddy was home here and there, so the adjustment back to having two parents being able to do things for them is hard. The most difficult time for this is bedtime. We had such a routine about how shower, pjs, teeth brushing, story time, and getting tucked in went that trying to add in the second parent was something neither of them were willing to accept, if it wasn’t mommy doing it then it wasn’t happening. It seems that having daddy help certain nights doing certain things works for them so if thats what makes nighttime not so stressful we will go with it plus I love reading to them at night even if I know the books by heart.
For the first time on Wednesday I actually felt like this was home. Dying to know why? My daughter had dance class. Its kind of crazy right that after a month its taken a simple dance class to make Arizona feel even remotely close to home. Even after registering my son for kindergarten and my daughter for preschool and doing dance and football registration, having my grocery store and don’t forget Starbucks of choice and the Walmart I favor and I of course had to find the closest Michael’s which is conveniently smack dab between a Target and a Starbucks (thank you shopping Gods) it still just didn’t feel like home. Maybe because the last month has been filled with unpacking, having no schedule and not knowing anyone that the lack of emotional attachment to this new place we call home just wasn’t there. But Wednesday when I got her dressed for dance class and we got in the car and pulled into the studio parking lot and I put her ballet shoes on and she went into class like she knew exactly what she was doing did it finally seem real. She walked in with such confidence like this new studio and teacher and classmates weren’t going to stop her from doing what she loves and this is why having kids is so amazing. It took my 3 year old to show me that this new place doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the things we love or our ability to do them we just have to be open and adjust to this new adventure. Boy was she open, she kicked butt in class and I’m so proud and thankful for the confidence she is able to radiate, my star in the making. Of course the no family thing is hard but as we start planning our first trip home and we continue to FaceTime with those who are making the effort to stay active in our lives I know that we will see eachother again and be able to embrace the time we have together.
As we put this first month behind us we have so many things to look forward to. Football practice starts in nearly two weeks followed by school starting just a week later. We get to do fun things like school shop and open house night at school and get the family pictures taken I’ve been secretly dying for since we made the decision to move. I know as time goes on things will get easier and hopefully this new place we consider home will truly start to feel like it.
Stay confident and kick butt,
As I sit and indulge in a vanilla iced donut from my favorite local bakery in my hometown these are the things running through my head:
- It better NOT snow tomorrow because let’s be real it’s MARCH!
- Is my little girl seriously turning 3 in one week?!??
- My husband leaves tomorrow and what the heck are the next three months going to bring
Tonight while I made the requested final meal of chicken quesadillas we discussed the things that needed to happen, in the forefront is booking all the plane tickets we need for the next three months. I haven’t been on a plane in years and now I am going to fly ALONE, umm yeah still not sure I’m ready for that one.
Later while our family sat in the living room our son kept saying he was going to miss daddy, what do you even say to that? All we could do was remind him daddy would be coming home and in a few short months we will all be together in our new home on a new adventure. Easier said then done. Although I’m optimistic this first week will be okay since we are lucky enough to have my husband come home for our daughters birthday, I know after that as time goes on it will become difficult for them or will it become normal? I say this because the earlier conversation about plane tickets proved just how long the kids will have to wait between daddy’s visits home. Don’t get me wrong I know we are lucky we have this luxury where those who serve our country go months and months without seeing their loved ones so in a sense we are blessed.
My duties now as Mommy are to make sure this doesn’t become normal. Of course we will fall into our new routine of me juggling dance class and soccer practices at the same time but where there is a will there is a way and I will do my best to make sure the kids have the fullest last few months in PA and as much FaceTime with daddy as physically possible.
Reminder to myself…
Here’s to making it to the end🍻
P.S. Doesn’t it look like we are packing a college student?! (picture at the beginning)