Four years ago, I was driving into the parking lot of school and I opened my mouth to say, “Can you believe it? Your first day of high school!”
Instead, I kind of squeaked as my eyes flooded. Next to me, my daughter gave me a look followed by an exclaimed, "MOM(!!)" and probably an eye roll.
Ugh, I blew it.
And then it began – the countdown to her last day of high school. And the countdown to figuring out how to control my emotions at the thought of my first-born leaving home, FOREVER.
I thought: "I have four years to prepare, I am sure I can do it (there is no way I can do it)."
Being a Mom is like nothing else. I have poured my entire self into this role. Over the years I have tried to master being acutely tuned in to every aspect of my children's well-being. I have consciously tried to be appreciative of moments in time since their birth, reminding myself constantly to "take this all in and love the heck out of this moment," because it shall pass, even the most challenging of times. I am very aware I won't get these years back – especially now, as the privilege of raising my children is coming to a big transition point.
Transitions, changes, pivots – whatever you want to call them, nothing has been able to prepare me for the transition of not being the mom I have been to my daughter for the past 18 years. Bringing a human into the world was so much easier than the anticipation I now feel for the day she will leave to start her own life as an adult. Don't get me wrong – I am so excited for her experiences to come, especially over the next four years as she attends my college alma mater, Washington State University (Go Cougs!).
As the countdown clock has been ticking to this major life transition, I have spent a lot of time wishing my kids had some of the wisdom we gain from our older selves. Are they appreciating their youth? Are they absorbed in the now instead of wanting to grow up?
For the most part, my teenage son sees transition to adulthood on the near horizon and is holding tightly to all things related to being a kid.
My daughter, on the other hand, has crossed the threshold into that first adult right of passage, turning 18. With the 2020 pandemic disrupting her final two years of K-12, her focus fast-forwarded to visions of future independence and all things related to decorating her college dorm room.
TIME OUT! Where is the pause button?
How is it that the days of raising babies go so slow while the years of transition from youth to adult go so fast?
My Mommy heart is bursting with pride for who my children have become, while longing for the years before they started school, when we were all together. My mind is running through the reels of their life, while reflecting on all the transitions of the past many decades.
I remember when I couldn’t wait to grow up.
I draw so much inspiration from my children, and they are a big part of why I created Inspired Jules. My office is adorned with a collage of memories from their childhood. A simple reminder, I am right where I am supposed to be at this time in life, and so are they. I feel grateful.
I think I am resonating more with the phrase "seasons of life" as this feels much gentler, an inevitable transition, as nature intended.
Whatever you want to call this transition with your own children, I hope you are coping well. Sending virtual hugs and understanding to all of you parents out there trying to hold it together as you watch your children enter adulthood!