Thursday, July 31, 2014

Identity Crisis: Part Two.

I've spent the past few weeks trying to wrap my mind around the reality that my oldest will be entering kindergarten this year. And all of my mulling over and thinking and pining have brought me to the conclusion that with this next phase? I have no idea what I'm doing. Because the two year-old is potty-trained and the four year-old starts preschool this year. And my oldest starts For Reals Big School.

And just like that, the baby phase is over.

(Okay, okay, lightning could strike twice and we could get pregnant while pigs fly over a blue moon. But anyway.)

The baby phase. Almost six years ago, I became a Mom for the first time and it completely changed my life. Just like that, in one final push, I was thrown into the arena of Motherhood, rocking and nursing and crying (baby and I) and changing diapers. And, for me, it also meant the transition from working to becoming a stay-at-home Mom, which involved a bit of an identity crisis. And after much scrambling and struggling for air, I resurfaced and actually kind of got the hang of it. And then it happened again. Twice. Three kids in three years. And what ensued was the chaos of being pulled in three different directions while cooking and crafting and wiping bottoms. I got used to vacuuming with an infant in one arm and a toddler asking for a snack at my feet while the other toddler was already dumping snacks all over the floor. The spinning, the swirling. It became my norm--I existed in the realm of the babies and toddlers. And, craziness aside, I was really empowered by it. Motherhood itself is empowering. It's awesome to see the way you push through and overcome the challenges that come along with the territory...some moments more gracefully than others, of course.

But, now we're entering new territory. Even though Cub has been in a two-day preschool program, I still had all of my kids home with me for most of the week. Hair appointments required a babysitter and trips to the grocery store always happened with littles in tow. And now it's beginning to change.

I thought that maybe it had more to do with the fact that I was sending Cub to kindergarten rather than homeschooling, but I don't think that's it. The time away will be different, but, regardless of that, the diapers are gone. The crafts require a little more finesse (and, typically, a scientific purpose). My commands that were once simply either followed (or ignored) now require explanation and, sometimes, strategy. I feel like I'm being uprooted from the comforts of the only phase I've ever known and I'm being thrown into another new arena: The Arena of Kids That Aren't Just Toddlers. Or something like that. It's just that they're close in age and they've all been little together. And now they're all growing older...together. And it's exciting--taking trips and experiencing life together has given our family new form and it's so much fun. It's great as they get older and become independent, and their roles in the family start to take shape.

But ... the baby phase. It's gone.

Gone are the days of rocking my infant in the stillness of the night. Of fretting and worrying and sleeping on the floor of the nursery when they have RSV. Or when I'm just sure something is wrong, even if nothing is.

And the baby that started it all is now starting kindergarten in less than a month.

And that sentence makes me teary.

I'm on the brink of a new identity crisis. Just like Motherhood itself created a drastic shift in my life, this next phase is causing a little shifting, too. It's intimidating because I've never been there.

And so this summer, I've been holding on. Relishing my moments with my littles. Because I made the mistake of blinking, and time flew by, just like everyone said it would. And I know this next phase of school and sports and dance and being the minivan taxi will fly by even more quickly.

I'm excited. Truly, I am. I have a feeling that this phase of life, with its new challenges, will be fun.

But I am still allowing myself a little space to mourn the end of the era that defined me as a Mom. Call me a sap. Because I am.

The End.

Have a lovely day.