I’m having a hard time with the kids growing up. 7th – 8th grade…they begin to leave me. She was the first…I’m still really struggling with it. But she’ll be all the firsts for me, so that’s all she’ll know of me as a Mom. I want her around. We’re better with her. Plus I just really, really like her. But she wants to be with her friends, gathering in a home other than mine with boys hanging around until 10:00. It’s different here.
The youngest threw a fit because she didn’t want to go see Santa, a tradition every Sunday after Thanksgiving. For 14 years now. She’s on the cusp…afraid to look babyish, but not quite sure of the truth. Picking out the tree—the middle schoolers waited in the car. Football on in the background, I put the season’s first Christmas station on Pandora. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Where are the kids? After Santa and getting the tree, they each retreated to their separate corners to decompress and chill.
I hauled the decorations from the basement. My husband installed the tree and started untangling the lights (and WHAT is UP with the lights—we plug in at least 2 strands every year that don’t work!). We can’t do this without the kids! (very Lawrence Welk-type tune in the background) Oh my God, this is just us now. This is my life. We have to find a new normal, begin a new tradition or something because we’ll never see another Christmas like the ones I hold in my memory from the past 13 years. Until we’re grandparents maybe. Oh God.
Okay! My holiday happiness is up to me now! My heart can ache when they’re off away from our home and from me. But I can still create my own happiness! I can remember back to when I was a teenager visiting house to house during the holiday season and how much fun that was. And I can nestle in with my guy in front of a fire watching Elf, just us. And maybe someone will join us and for a moment I’ll remember when I gave them all baths and got them in to jammies so we could snuggle in to watch The Grinch.
I knew this day would come. I guess…I don’t know. I don’t feel old enough. I don’t feel ready. But ready or not, they’re pulling away. I love them each more than ever, and am grateful to have work that I love to fulfill me now that their needs have changed. But I still want to be needed. I think we all do. We want to know that there is someone out there who can’t imagine getting by without us. To be valued.
So if I believe we all want to be valued, and right now I’m doubting my own value, I’m going to reach out to someone I treasure who might not know it, or might not hear it enough. When you want to move from a feeling of lack to a feeling of abundance, give. Is there someone in your life that could stand to hear “I cherish you in my life. You really matter to me, you make my life better.” I’m gonna go write a note and pop it in the mail right now. Then I’m going to bask in the warmth of how that makes me feel and hope that one of my kids wants to come share that with me. New memories, new traditions.