It occurred to me when my youngest child was in kindergarten that I am now the “old” mom. I admit that the spacing of my children is part of what gives me this title. My oldest is in high school, my middle in junior high, and finally my baby is in second grade. As I looked around at all these young mothers awaiting to go on a field trip with what could only be their oldest child I was struck by the finality of it all. These mothers are just getting started on this journey. While I am still in the middle of mine, my days of waking up with babies and dealing with diapers every day and toting a small arsenal of supplies around just for a trip to the store to keep baby happy are over.
I remember being a young mother. When we left the hospital with our first child, I sat in the back seat of the car with the baby and as my husband pulled away from the curb, I said “wow, they really will give just anyone a baby won’t they?” I was FAR from prepared. Sure I’d read the books, I had taken the prenatal classes, which were basically useless as I had an emergency c-section the first time around and planned c-sections with each subsequent pregnancy.
My oldest child I refer to lovingly as the guinea pig. She was the first and as I hadn’t a clue as to what I was doing I made the most mistakes with her. Fortunately she has become a lovely young lady, no thanks to me, and I believe the amount of therapy she will need after enduring me singing show tunes to her and parking her in front of Barney as a little tyke will be minimal at best. We got pregnant very quickly with her. I gained 60 pounds with her. I was a whale looking for an ocean with her. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was a staple in our home at that time. And I figured since I was going to be pregnant I may as well look the part. I looked like I had swallowed at least two basketballs is what I looked like. But nine months later we were blessed with a beautiful healthy little girl. Exactly on her due date and not a moment before. To this day she does things in her own time, whether you are running late or not. She as well as my other children bring me more joy than I thought imaginable. Proving that what I was seeking in this life wasn’t status but family.
As my oldest is in high school and my middle in junior high, there are some topics that you are not allowed to discuss in front of them and any amount of PDA completely grosses them out. Being as we figure that our insurance will cover any amount of therapy they will need, my husband and I make it a point to hug each other and kiss each other and tell each other we love one another in front of them. Any little peck on the lips or cheek will result in “OH GROSS! Get a room would you?” To which our reply is always “Uh Hello? We have one, we are in it. Every room in the house is ours which one do you want us to go to?” We do not do this to gross them out. That’s a perk of course, but we do it because we feel it’s important for them to see that mom and dad are good. We are in a good place and we love each other. We may tease each other or frustrate each other (like when he puts his dirty laundry just outside the hamper or I get into that whole lack of self esteem thing that I do) but love is the basis of all of it and that’s what brings us together as a family. And again there is that whole thing where it grosses them out and hopefully they will remember that and hold off on their own PDA when boys enter the picture.
My Son is eight. The poor girls got the scared, please don’t cry, why don’t you listen, what can I do, I’m messing this up mommy. My son got the relaxed I’m old, you’ll live if you fall down, sure spill something the floor needs cleaned anyway, oh you want to each cheerios from the floor the ten second rule applies here go ahead, stick the binky in the soda to clean it off and give it back mommy. He is in turn a pretty relaxed kid. He goes with the flow. He has sat through dance lessons, dance recitals, soft ball games, band and orchestra concerts, and who knows what else. He doesn’t really complain you just hand him a game boy and he plays his game and goes with it. He plays basketball, soccer, baseball, and likes to draw. He is also the peace maker of the family. He tells me if the girls are fighting (usually they are, we are still waiting for the best friendship to take hold). To which unless someone is in pain because they get into a knockdown drag out fight I don’t move. I figure if no one is bleeding or on fire they need to learn to work it out themselves. Unless of course they mess with my baby (who of course is now eight not the two year old I still keep him as in my mind and who may have instigated it anyway, because he is his father’s son) then I come unglued. He is very smart and kind and of course handsome as like I said he is his father’s son. But he’s my baby. My last go around. He’s eight.
On our kids birthdays we put in a happy ad in the newspaper. When my oldest turned ten, I cried. I stood in the newspaper office and cried because my baby was in double digits. When my youngest, the baby of my family turns ten, I may need a valium sandwich to get through it. Plus there is the whole thing with I’ll be forty the same year and my oldest will be driving by then so I may already be on medication, so it could be ok. Either way they are growing up entirely too fast. I’m pretty sure that I’m not finished growing up how can they be catching up so fast? Yesterday I was in high school, today I have a child in high school and while when I was fifteen I was sure I was an adult, I tell my fifteen year old that she is still a kid and to embrace it. The way I figure it, you have your entire life to be an adult. There is no going back, you get this one chance to be a kid and you should hold onto it as long as you can, at least till college. At which time you need to start figuring some things out. While I love my babies, my forty year old kids are not living here. I’m old, not crazy.