Last night I spoke to my younger son for the first time in three weeks. That is the longest time I have ever gone without hearing his voice. We had exchanged a few texts, and I knew that he had talked to his dad. Of course, T filled me in on his conversation with our son, but that was nothing compared to having Luke on the other end of the phone.
I have been trying very hard not to be an annoying, demanding mother. He is so very busy right now. He is getting up each day at 5:00 a.m. to work for five hours. Then he heads to class. He’s taking a double major (18 credit hours) along with student teaching two afternoons each week. He told me that he is living on four to five hours of sleep each night and using caffeine strips to help him stay awake. The strange thing is, he seems incredibly happy. He told me about his grueling schedule without complaint. He is proud of himself. He likes his job, and loves his studies. He was excited to tell me about a research project that he’s working on. He was equally excited to tell me about some of the parties that he’s had at his house this semester. 🙂 Needless to say, I was so happy to talk to him last night. I couldn’t stop smiling while he told me about his life these past few weeks. It felt so good to be his mom, and it felt wonderful to tell him that I am proud of him and that I love him.
I went to bed last night feeling lucky, because I had been able to speak to each of my four kids that day. I felt complete, and yet I was missing the boys even more after talking with each of them. As I drove to work this morning, I tried to figure out when the next time would be when they would all be home, and we could all spend some time together again. Thanksgiving (I HOPE!) and that seems so far off. I know that I will be seeing Andrew in Chicago later this month, because I will be there on a work-related trip. I’m not sure when I will see Luke, though. Milwaukee is further away, and Luke is so busy that I hate to drop in on him expecting him to clear an entire weekend to visit with us. As I drove along thinking about the boys, I suddenly felt very sad. I miss them. I miss my little boys running in and out of the house. I miss their blonde hair and big blue, little boy eyes, rosy cheeks, and muddy feet. I miss trucks in the sandbox, which is long gone now.
I miss those wonderful, long, lazy days spent with my three oldest children, and I wished for a moment that I could go back to being home all day with three little children as my constant companions. I imagined those wonderful times for a long moment as tears filled my eyes. My emotions shocked me! I felt kind of crazy to find myself near tears as I drove along reminiscing about my kids.
I shook myself free of the memories for a moment to think about what it would mean to go back to those days. While I would not care to repeat some (many!) of the experiences of the past decade, there have been some major, wonderful, and positive, changes in my life. First and foremost, I did not have my sweet little Lola back in those days. I had thought my family was complete with my oldest three children. Thankfully, life had other plans, because now I can’t imagine our family as complete without our Lola.
Looking back on the years I spent as a stay-at-home mom, I am only remembering the good. I am looking through the lens of lovely, golden memories, and that is as it should be. I know that I am forgetting the financial struggles of living on one income, three often-bickering children, messes and spills, and my frequent BOREDOM. I’m glad that those memories have taken on the best parts and discarded the times that were a hassle. I’m glad that good times far out-weighed the bad times.
It is wonderful to look back in longing and happiness on the past. That’s a sure sign of a life well-lived. It is also important to remember why you are where you are today, to see the good in the changes as well. While I may miss the past and times spent with my children when they were little, I reminded myself of the things I have now that were not a part of those fond memories. I have Lola now, and I can’t imagine my life without her. I have a job that challenges me and that I (most of the time) love. Best of all, I am excited to see my three oldest children finding their own places in this world. I am still their mom. My role in their lives has simply changed. I no longer direct the course of their days, instead I look on from the sidelines…proudly cheering them on.