I should have recognized what was going on when the frenzy emerged last week. Days filled with excessive cleaning, organizing and rearranging. Evenings spent dead heading flowers, demolishing weeds, cleaning out personal e-mail files and packing up boxes of stuff I don’t use any more.
Clean, purge, organize, numb. Repeat.
I’ve learned that when I get into a cleaning furor, it has less to do with the outcome and more to do with what’s causing it.
It started with a complete and violent removal of all the corn rows I planted. The raccoons decimated most of it anyway, but common sense (and good gardening practices) would have left the rows until early fall. The decision to pluck the rows came the moment after I finished organizing old photo albums and computer files.
I should have recognized the early signs of something, but I continued with madness.
After the corn rampage, I decided to put in a stone path. With limestone slabs plucked out of the creek bed and heavy manhole covers my hubby found on a job site. It required muscles, heavy equipment and absolutely no brain energy.
Dig, move, arrange, numb. Repeat.
In times like these, I turn into the kid who puts off studying for a huge exam or finishing a midterm project. I can’t work until the pencils are sharpened and arranged, the desk cleaned off and the t-shirt drawers reorganized.
After the stone path, I cleaned out the garden shed(s), stirred the compost, fertilized the roses and grabbed a box of apples from the neighbor to keep me busy.
So yeah, you’re probably getting the feeling that something is going on here. Don’t worry about me and don’t be concerned that it took place all in one day. It was a masterfully crafted 7-10 days of mindless activity.
Despite the obvious numbing practices (we all pick different ones, don’t we?) I’m really in a good place. Still just as happy and blessed when I wrote “Life is Good” last week. Just going through something that every mama has gone through at one point or another.
The day the baby heads to high school.
When did this happen? He was this dude yesterday.
Now, he’s this dude today!
I’ve been a HUGE baby about this. There were no tears (on either side), but there was pouting. A LOT of pouting. And no “first-day Facebook.” Not only did I not want to see my baby walk down the drive to the bus, I didn’t want to see all of my other adoptive kiddos doing the same thing.
Denial, avoidance, bury my head in the sand. Repeat.
But, that’s not very productive is it? Before I started to spiral down a stupid staircase with a pity party at the bottom–I decided to do something about it. I spent the first (and second) day talking and texting my other mama friends. Cuz, that’s how we do in the village, right? Trade recipes, send inappropriate eCards and come clean with those who are going through the same thing–laugh, cry and avoid the numbing that doesn’t serve any purpose. It’s such a comfort to share similar feelings and expressions with other moms who know:
I can’t believe how fast they’ve grown
Where does the time go?
These four years are going to fly by
He took a 60 minute shower this morning and he came out smelling like…a grown man 😦
Ugh. He didn’t even let me take his picture!
It feels like he was just at kindergarten
And, then my favorite: There goes my heart
Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”
― Elizabeth Stone
Ah. So true. Never have I ever felt love so physically and viscerally as I do for my kids. The pit in the stomach, the achy heart and the pain that a part of you leaves every time they walk down the drive, get in a car with someone else or drive their own.
But, that feeling is a blessing right? As a parent, all our lives are spent working, teaching, coaching, praying and hoping that our children will turn into compassionate, intelligent and independent spirits. It’s such a gift when that happens, but a gut-punch to witness it firsthand.
Thank goodness I have an awesome baby daddy partner to get me through these mama-times. Always practical and forever balanced, BD reminds me that these milestones are happy times. He reminded me when Tanna left for college and he’s doing it now with Dane wandering (*gulp, lost?) in the high school hallways. He reminds me that the passage of time is a GOOD thing and, if we’ve done our job half-way okay, we get to watch them make strides and follow the stone path that takes them from our snuggly warm, safe home to the big wide open world that waits for them.