Nearly 13

So when I started this blog, I was determined that it would not be a parenting blog.

But it’s harder and harder for me to write about our life without telling a few parenting stories or relaying something or other having to do with kids. Thus far, we’ve opted to keep our kids faces hidden,…that will likely change soon, but for now, you’ll have to make do with stock photos unless you know us personally. :)

As we attended our oldest kid Jadon’s very last summative (it’s a group presentation once per quarter), it didn’t hit me until it was over that that was the last one we would go to since he is moving onto Junior High in the Fall. Isn’t that always the way? As we went to Trader Joe’s to snag a few grocery items before heading home, a rush of emotions flooded me, which I promptly swallowed and logged away for a future time when ugly crying would feel more acceptable.

Since then, I feel like I’m counting down the days…

Only 6 more Christmases, only 6 more birthdays, only 6 more grades…only 6 more.

photo credit: Bonnie Kittle

photo credit: Bonnie Kittle

He may choose to live here at home after high-school, but I don’t want to bank on that. Sudden panicky feelings hit me as I wonder if I’ve taught him enough. I know where I’ve failed him, I’ve never thought I deserved a “Mom of the Year” award, and I’m the first to admit that the mistakes I made with him as a young mom eager to prove herself and riddled with anxiety have caused a lot of damage. I know that, and I’ve apologized for it many times. But there are days (far more often than not) that I just stand there in awe of this boy growing into a man right before my eyes. He was my first baby, my first boy, my first toddler, my first kid, and soon- he’ll be my first teenager. I pity his position, only because I know that oldest kids often get the brunt of their parents’ mistakes as they try to navigate this kid that came with no instruction manual. But I’m confident in our relationship as mother and son, and now more and more- as friends.

Jadon came along 10 months and 5 days after Tim and I were married. We didn’t get much time as just “us” without kids. We wouldn’t have had it any other way, but I’m being reminded more and more that someday (far sooner than I would like), it will be just “us” again. Right now, I dread those days. The very thought of them raises a lump in my throat and a tightness in my belly where all these babies once grew.

I am realizing more too, the importance of Tim & I persevering in the work of marriage. I think kids act as a buffer in marriages sometimes. You hear of those couples who stay together “just for the kids” or who suddenly find themselves “empty nesters” with absolutely nothing in common anymore. That thought scares me to death. I couldn’t imagine feeling so disconnected and unattached…again. (Yes, we have been there already before, but that’s a story for another day) So we keep dating, keep talking, keep fighting for our marriage. Because someday, we will need that foundation to stand on when our Tribe moves on.

But for now, I’m savoring every hug, every million dollar smile, every slow dance, and every “hey, what’s up mom?” from my boy, who is nearly 13.

-Ash