Archive | May, 2013

The Not So Lonely Mom

7 May

Today a young mother posted a question asking if some of the other moms in cyber land were lonely. I know so many young mothers that think they’ll be lonely when their kids all get into school and some of them may be. For me, however, that’s when the loneliness ended. The day my youngest went to all day kindergarten for the first time I felt a tug at my heartstrings and a tear in my eye, but it was time. My youngest could hardly wait to get on the school bus with his big brother. He was so proud to be a big boy, and I was ready too.

It all started in preschool. When my oldest went to preschool for the first time, he was so excited that he ran off to play with the other kids, and I had to ask him for a hug before I left. I got the fastest hug and “bye mom” I’d ever gotten and he was back to playing. I had just delivered his brother a week before. His favorite person in the world, my father, was in Hospice dying, and I was leaving him with strangers for the very first time. He was fine. I was a mess. I drove home and cried and held my new son for the entire two and a half hours from drop off until pick up and seriously started considering home schooling. It got easier to let him go until Columbine happened just six month before he was scheduled to go to kindergarten, and I began to worry about ever leaving him again. Being a person of faith with a husband who keeps me grounded, I decided to let him go to school, to enjoy his younger brother while I could and to see what happened. What happened was that he loved elementary school as much as preschool and yes, I had a good cry the first day I dropped my very little boy off at that very big school.

Then it was the second child’s turn to go to preschool. He wasn’t quite as enthusiastic and stood by my side until his cousin and best friend showed up to be in the same class. You could see both of them feeling much more confident with the other one there, so off they went to conquer the world of pre-school together. Then it was the third child’s turn. By the time the third child rolled around, I had been living with a toddler for nine straight years. I had been changing diapers for nine straight years, and especially with the third child having special needs, I rarely got to spend any time away from him because special needs babysitters are tricky to find. So, this little one had been much more attached than the others, and he reacted a little differently. He wouldn’t let go of me. He wrapped his arms and legs around me and squeezed as tightly as he could. To leave him that first day, the teachers, who I had gotten to know very well by this time, had to peel him off of me, and it took two of them to do it. I walked out the door knowing he would be well taken care of and that the teachers would take great care of him, and they did. By kindergarten, though, he was ready, willing and able and marched onto the school bus a very proud big boy. I walked home from and bus stop and thought, “Now what?” and for me the answer was volunteering.

Being a volunteer for me has been incredibly fulfilling. I’ve been in charge of spirit wear. I’ve helped with carnivals. I’ve chaperoned field trips. I’ve been a room mom. I’ve created videos to commemorate special occasions and I’ve even been a PTA President among countless other things. I’ve loved investing my time in my kids and the children of our school district, but after nineteen years, it got stale, so for the most part, I’ve stepped back. I do a few things I really enjoy and leave the rest to other capable and wonderful women and men, and for the past year, I’ve focused on me. When my friend asked today about being lonely when all the kids had gone to school, I can honestly say I wasn’t. Truth be told, I felt much more alone and lonely when I was housebound with babies. There was no Facebook and very few people had email for home use. I sometimes went days without seeing anyone outside my family, and while I love my family dearly, I craved a lunch that didn’t involve breastfeeding and/or pureed food and maybe even eating my own lunch when it was still warm, and those days came, eventually.

Now my boys are older and have lots of activities that don’t include me. Two of them have girlfriends, and one of them already lives away from home for eight to nine months of the year. Rather than being lonely, I choose to improve myself so my family finds me interesting enough to still spend time with me. I get to have a date night with my husband, the silent hero of this entire story, and I get to re-invent myself for the next phase of my life however I choose. I’ve loved watching my children grow and have been blessed to be involved in so much of their lives. With sports, music lessons, church and other activities, it seems like we’ve been in constant motion with barely enough time to breathe some days, much less be lonely. Now though, when things are slowing down with the kids, I’m finding time to try something new like gardening. I’m finding time for things I’ve always wanted to do like having lunch with friends, writing and meditation. I’m even finding time for things I should have been doing more consistently like exercise and keeping up with the finances, although I’m still working on those. What I’m not finding is loneliness or boredom, and on the very rare occasions I might feel a twinge, I look at all of the things I so very much want to do and the boredom and loneliness evaporate. I am realizing what an amazingly big job parenting has been and how much I want to support those who are looking for help to do it well. It has given purpose to my life to be a good parent and now it gives me purpose to help others do the same. It’s been a fun, love filled ride and I’m glad I bought a ticket. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

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