Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A World Without Walls

The walls have come down. On January 13th, 2002, Mike and our good friend, Mike Strode, put together our crib. All laughs and fun; it was a simple project due to the fact that the only little beings shuffling around actually had paws and were easily convinced to go lie down. Its disassembly was accompanied by struggle, with Finn’s curiosity latching on to every nut, bolt and bar. With much effort, it finally gave way to a new phase in our life. After six and a half years of constant service, two moves, a stint in our bedroom and three trips from newborn to toddler, its mission is complete.

And Finn is in a big boy bed. This has come with its own needlessly unmentionable challenges; I’ll leave them to your imagination.

I suppose it’s fitting that such a big “end of an era” type change should come just days before another so monumental – when Logan hops a school bus and heads off to 1st grade and 8 hours away from home each day for the first time ever. I love that school is about to be in session, I have an addiction to school supplies anyway and I think we all need a little separation to make the heart grow fonder – if you know what I mean. But each time I step near that school lately, I feel a surge of emotion, my eyes flood with tears and like my six year old says at times, I can’t really put into words why I feel this way.

It is a big change and I will miss her terribly, but I want this for her and she is ready for it. Sometimes change, even when you want it, makes you sad. Makes you wish for what you had as you see it morphing into something else. Makes you aware of the times you took this stage of life for granted and wish you had one more day. But I do, I have today and we’ll spend it celebrating just being together without worrying about much else.

Yesterday during Logan’s open house at school, we swung by her kindergarten teacher’s room to say a quick “hello”. She quietly waited in the doorway unassumingly, hoping her teacher would catch her eye. She did and gave her and warm and welcoming greeting. We turned to leave and Logan said, “You know, for some reason I feel like I want Mrs. Engdahl (kindergarten teacher) to be my teacher for all my years of school.”

“Sometimes when things are changing, it feels like it would be easier to keep them the way they were instead of learning a new way,” I said as she shook her head in agreement. “But just think of all the things you’d miss out on if you never tried anything new. Don’t you think the world would be a pretty boring place?”

I think I’ll cling to my own advice as my own walls come down and I make my way into this new era, filled with crib less toddlers and school age kids. It’s certain to be different and bound to be exciting!


susan said...

I know what you mean. So ready yet so hesitant to let go all at the same time!!! As for Finn-we turned Owen's doorknob around after his exit from the crib. It kept me sane!

mary said...

Once a child takes that first breath, they are part of a mom's heart and letting go begins. It surfaces, every so often - for the rest of a mom's life. There is no other way to explain it except that you are connected - forever - like no one else can be.

I am 60 years old and as life changes, I still feel the letting go process with my children (grown though they are) and my grandchildren (as they pass through stages that I so love). Mothering is not a simple business. It is emotionally, wonderfully complicated no matter what part of the cycle you are in.

Mothers prepare their children to eventually be on their own. Then why, in the instant they take a step closer to that end, mothers well with tears and feel loss? The moment floods in with an ache to the heart no matter how you plan for it or rationalize its reality. It may not be long lived but it is real and never forgotten.

Most likely it is because everything about this unique, little person - involves growing away from you - even if you don't think that thought - some part of you feels it and each landmark they pass through accentuates it. When you love that strong - you want to hold on but know you must let go - and you do... and it's not easy.

My advice, though you didn't ask, is to hug them when they need it - when you need it - and in between, hold their hands when they reach for you and reach for them often too, laugh out loud with them everyday and let the work wait when possible. Time flies and your children will soon enough choose other hands to hold, other people to call, other dreams to pursue - just as it should be. This is still your hands-on moment - rally in it as you go through each stage - don't loose it and - the best advise of all is to listen to them when they want to bend your ear and talk with them without rushing the conversations.

They will remember and you will remember, when caught in a "letting go" instant, how wonderful it was to have each other - back then... and you'll reach the comfort zone and excitement of the next stage a bit sooner.

Logan is going to first grade and you feel this. Do you remember when you went to college and I was weepy all the way home listening to Tony Robbins tapes he could help me get past that difficult "letting go moment"? Or when you moved to Florida? Heck I thought it difficult just recently when you moved from Naperville to Oswego - and I'm giving advise...

Anyway, this 60 year old, can truthfully say, I was never hugged as often, or kissed as often, or laughed as hard, or felt as loved or needed as when my children were small. So many times they reached for me and now... I reach for them - so it goes - in cycles.

People always say, enjoy it now, you are at the best time of your life - no matter what time that is (10, 20, 30, 60 (yikes). Well, I think, "they" are right. Rally in the moment and in those kids, give them boundaries, be consistent, cement their self confidence, applaud their talents, ensure their faith, correct their poor judgement and love them like there is no tomorrow because tomorrow will bring more change - more letting go and surprisingly enough more wonderful times to support their independence (and yours).

Note: Rally in yourself too. Letting go can be great for a mom i.e. free time for self, meals, cleaning, shopping - ah and having an uninterrupted phone conversation with your husband or just once in a while sitting down and putting your feet up. It all evens out - as long as you don't miss out on the awesome times right in front of your eyes. By the way, the same advise applies right back at me - as much as things change, they stay the same. Like I said - it's complicated.