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,
It’s hard to believe that last night my baby boy graduated preschool closing this chapter of his life. I am so proud of how hard he’s worked and the determination he’s shown, especially in the last few months where he really worked on the areas he was struggling most. He’s a social butterfly and will play with any child which is a quality that puts me at ease as we get ready to move. His love for learning is amazing and the way he absorbs information like a sponge is so impressive. I’m serious the facts he remembers during different class topics and lessons blows me away heck half the time he’s teaching me new things!
As proud as I am I couldn’t let the opportunity to celebrate his achievements pass me by, yes even at this age I believe it is important to show your children just how proud you are. Let’s be clear though it wasn’t a blow out type of celebration. Who doesn’t love a beautifully decorated cake with balloons and plates matching the occasion?
For me not only was it a celebration of his achievements but also a celebration of his life. Does that sound morbid? Well I apologize if it does to you but for me every milestone Brayden gets to hit is a celebration of his life and now I’m sure your asking yourself why. When Brayden was diagnosed with his heart defect I still had plenty of time left in my pregnancy to think. What a lot of people don’t know is that in those last 15 weeks of my pregnancy I had a lot of dark times. There were songs on the radio that instantly triggered me to cry. There were days where my brain acted as a tv screen playing reruns of the most devastating episodes of Greys Anatomy, you know the episodes where the patients don’t make it? And even though his diagnosis had a high rate of successful outcomes it was hard not to fall into the slump of what-ifs. And for the record continuing to hear “it’s all going to be okay” and “he will be just fine” are really not comforting after about the tenth time. Fast forward 5 and a half years and here I am out of the dark slump I once found myself in being able to look at the little boy who I once couldn’t think about without crying sad scared tears thrive and bring me to the happiest proud tears I could ever imagine. These emotions I have during these celebrations are so much more then just the event, they are the overwhelming emotions of “we did it, look how far we’ve come together after all we’ve been through” because not so long ago I really believed I would never get to share these moments with him.
So when you see the pictures of the pretty cakes and the balloons and decorations it is not to make anyone feel less about how they celebrate it’s just that these celebrations are everything to me because I’ve been given time with my child I never thought I’d have and I intend to make every part of this time -his life- a memorable celebration.
Take the time now to celebrate anything and everything because time goes fast and these moments will be gone before you know it.