Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Here’s To The Moms


The past couple of years while I have been largely silent on this blog, I have become blazingly, blatantly homesick – sentimental, even, which I said I’d never be – about my kids.

Not that they’ve gone anywhere, oh no no no. They are still most decidedly living in this house, eating the food that I prepare and making a mess of the floors that I just cleaned and filling the laundry baskets with their blazingly and blatantly smelly, dirty clothing.

But.

They’re growing up, up, and away. Separating from our family. Leaving to explore their own lives, one sleepover and movie and shopping trip and high school football game-turned-post-game-get-together-at-Applebee’s at a time. Today it’s a day at the pumpkin patch with friends; tomorrow it will be a semester at college.

This is how fast time goes. I’ve been sucking the life out of this time, savoring every second. All those old parents who said “Enjoy it, it goes by so fast!” – they were right. I knew they had to be right, because they all said it, all the time. But this time – these not enough years – this is the shortest kid phase ever.

I’ve got a handle on it now, although last year was a tough one. It took a year for me to accept that this is happening, that my kids are approaching the launch phase, the one that I spent so many years prepping for. I mourned, friends. I mourned hard.

And something else happened.  The other day, as I chatted with the mother of a friend of my daughter’s, the realization washed over me that not only am I already homesick over my kids leaving, I am becoming sentimental over another group of people who have been by my side all these years.

My fellow moms.

Moms of the peers of my kids who raised their children alongside mine. The ones who sat in front of me at kindergarten orientation, whose children I clapped for at elementary orchestra and band concerts. Women who might not know my name but who say hello at Back-To-School night, who I’ve waved to countless times in the school parking lot, who sit next to me on hard bleachers at sporting events, who are members of the same school Facebook groups. The ones at the grocery store and Target that I ask “Do you know if early dismissal is Wednesday or Thursday?”

I will miss these moms when all of our kids are gone. Some of them I’ve known since our kids’ preschool years. They are my people and I am theirs. We share the history of our kids’ childhoods. When the childhoods are over, this era ends.

After my tenth high school reunion I had this same feeling, the awareness that the adults around me were people who knew me when I had angst, innocence, and acne. Together we shared first heartbreaks and rebellious behaviors and intoxicating teenage freedom. At the time, I didn’t expect this overwhelming feeling of knowing others and being known. Nostalgia was masked that evening by information-sharing: who had kids and who didn’t, finding out where people lived and what they did for a living (this was before social media took over the world, when seeing people for the first time in ten years was a novelty). It came later, when I reflected on my classmates and who they are now, and I marveled that they knew me when. There’s a comfort in knowing that your life came together with a generation of others.

Moms of your kids’ peers know you and they know your kids, sometimes very early on. They are the ones in the crowd who lend your kid a cellphone to call home when you are late for pickup, to lend a needle and thread, a tissue, a Band-Aid. Over the years they care for you and your kids as you care for them and theirs. They are your village.

When our kids are gone, if we aren’t already friends, I won’t see much of my fellow moms anymore. Not anywhere other than the grocery store or Target, anyway. There will be no dismissal times to ask about, no more school Facebook groups needed to swap ideas and information.

I miss them already, too.

*******

6 comments:

  1. Oh, man. I can't muster anything poignant or witty to say at all to this, beyond yes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My 2 thoughts. I had the same experience at my 20 year high school reunion. It was so comforting being around people I knew and who knew me at age 10. Who had sat next to me in homeroom for so many years. It's something that I had a hard time explaining but made so much sense to me. Second, I have a group of girlfriends - we have been meeting monthly for 13 years now. We first met to get a "timeout" from our small kids. Now our kids are off to college. These friends "knew me when." They are in many ways my people.
    Warp speed; this life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You said it! The comfort of being around everyone who experienced life with us back then is unexpected. I love that you still get together with your girlfriends. My mom has a "gab" group that met like that for years and years. My own friend group always says we should get together but the times are few and far between.

      Delete
  3. OH MY LORD YOU HAVE ME CRYING. Friend, I get this completely and am going through it right now. Anna got her first college acceptance letter and after everyone went to bed, I sobbed. Like the hard cry I do at the end of The Color Purple cry CRY.
    I am passing the kleenex.
    Maybe I need to road trip to you.
    Also, I can stalk the Calculus teacher.

    ReplyDelete