Tomorrow is a day I've anticipated for years. Actual years. It's here.
For years I've talked about having a campaign for parents: #ItGetsBetter (though I don't mean to be disrespectful to It Gets Better in any way). Parents sometimes find themselves in well-documented (or not) throes and need something, anything to hold onto-- which is to say something, anything OTHER THAN, "Oooh, these years pass so quickly, don't you just love it?" and that ilk.
I'll be honest: I've found myself actually loving most of those crazy moments. I laughed heartily when I walked in on this scene:
I've also cried myself straight out of stores, out of church, away from social events, and straight to my bathroom only to find that there isn't any place to be safe from the inevitable heartache occasionally brought on by parenthood.
When my youngest was born, my second-to-youngest was 18 months old. I remember saying to myself at that time, "Three years. I'm giving myself three years. I won't go anywhere, I won't have any expectations." It was a survival tactic, and it was effective. It's not (necessarily) the best kind of thing for every parent to do, but it was the best thing for me to do then.
My oldest was born 8 days after I turned 22. My youngest was born 14 days after I turned 31. I like being a young mom, but I don't remember my twenties.
In September of 2008 my kids were 5 months, almost 2, 4 and a half, turning 7, and 9 and a half. Things were going on, despite my 3-year moratorium. Kids still had school and lessons, speech therapists still had to visit my house, and I was doing fundraising things online.
I don't know which day in September I did it, but one day I walked over to the pantry, opened the door and looked at my calendar. I grabbed a green marker and made a chart.
I needed to know. For whatever reason that day, I needed a timeline. I didn't feel desperate, just wondering: How long until they were all in school? Maybe more than that, I needed to know: When would they all be in school all day?
Even I was surprised by this move. I'm not a mom who rejoices at her kids going back to school. I like having them home, I like being with them. I'm also a mom who recognizes the benefit of the structure that comes from their days of school and other activities, days which just aren't the same during summer break.
And here we are. Tomorrow's the day.
All the kids will start the school year, that school year I wrote down back in 2008. 14-15. That's tomorrow. It's not some abstract date I wonder about while I have babies on my hip and Kraft dinner on the stove (again).
So, Dear Parents:
It Gets Better.
Not that you shouldn't enjoy whatever stage you're in, but you're the boss of that. I'm not, your mom isn't, strangers at the store aren't, even well-meaning friends aren't.
Maybe you are enjoying this stage. Super, and GoodOnYa. But maybe this stage is really hard for you, in which case, it's okay, hang in there, and keep going.
It's a new season. Yeah, I'm going to call it better.