Colfax CA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 4, July-August 2004, p. 138
As I write this, the weather is hot and sunny. We've had some strange days of rain lately, unseasonable. Fall is in the air, especially at night as the cool temperature and the darkness come earlier and earlier. I love the time of transition between the seasons, when the line seems blurred with both reluctance and anticipation.
My oldest son is four years old. We also seem to be hovering in a transitional time right now. He's no longer a toddler and the restrictions of more organized school are looming ahead in the distance. I'm filled with both reluctance at letting him grow up, and anticipation of watching him experience new things and meet new people. I've found myself becoming so protective of this time in our lives. While there seems to be such a rush in the United States to enroll our children in the latest gymnastics or dance or guitar class, I find myself pulling back to quieter times spent just with family. There will be time for such activities in his life, but there isn't always time to bake bread with your mother and brother at 1:15 on a Tuesday afternoon. I now know that this meandering time of raising young children is finite. Our special days of freedom will be ending soon. The next stage with school, friends and activities will bring its own joys, but I'm sad to see our solitary time end.
This feeling of anticipation and hesitation is nothing new to mothers. We hold out our hands both to guide our novice toddler and to let him go. We are excited to see our child mash banana in his hands and smear it on his face, but we watch with a sadness that the time of being our baby's sole source of nutrition is over.
I know there are mothers with older children who are smiling and thinking, "Just you wait! You haven't seen anything yet!" We work hard to make transitions easy for our children, but transitions are hard for us, too. As our children move from one stage into the next, we need to take time to celebrate our role in their lives. While I'm sorry my unstructured days with Nick are coming to an end, I am proud that he has blossomed under my love and guidance. I know that changes will only deepen our special relationship. In the meantime, I will savor this special time with both my boys home with me all day. But I will also look forward to new adventures for Nick and to special time alone with my youngest son, Sam. I just won't think about the day when Sam goes off to school, too!