I do the same thing every year in August. The race is on. School is going to start, and I get anxious. Not always in a good way, like, "Oh hurray, I can't wait for school to start!" More often than not, I feel more like a flood of emotions about my kids going back to school. I love having them home over the summer, and now they're going back. Their lives are going to get busy. Our time together is going to shrink, and I'm trapped in my own doubts of my adequacy as a mother. Do they know how much I love them? Have they all felt loved and cared for? Are the adventures we shared this summer going to be fond memories when they are grown? How will they remember me when I'm gone?
This might seem like a strange thing to worry about, being that I'm only 44, but for me this is a very real, very serious fear. My kids remember the day my heart stopped. They remember a lot more than I do about that day. We've talked about it this summer a lot more than ever, and I'm surprised by the depth of my children's understanding.
Lydia about broke my heart telling me that she thought she might have caused it because we had an argument before I left the house. Beautiful, blessed gift of a daughter, nothing could be farther from the truth. I thank God that I lived to tell her that it wasn't her fault, and that I love her SO much, and I expect to have disagreements. Can you imagine living with that guilty feeling for the rest of your life? My children are ALL a gift to me, and I'm glad for every minute we have together. Isaac tells me often that he's really glad I'm still here. Not every Mom gets to hear that from their 15 year old son, and I'm thankful for it. Sylvia tells me too, mostly with an onslaught of very real sobbing. (She doesn't like me to blog about her. She says it is an invasion of her privacy. She's 7.) Simon is full of "what ifs". What if you pass out at school? Who will take care of us if you die? What if something happens to you AND Dad? I try to reassure him that God's got it handled, but he'd prefer to know the plan, thank you just the same. Harriett likes to cuddle, or read over my shoulder (usually when I'm blogging, although she's at school at the moment.) She likes being near, and I like having her near. They grow up and move away so fast.
Then once they are at school, I start missing their older brothers. I miss Spencer being around. I miss talking with him about stuff that doesn't really matter, and sometimes stuff that does. I enjoy watching him sit in unusual positions, amazed by his flexibility. I miss the 4 year old Spencer that took naps with me on the couch while we watched Graham Kerr reduce the fat and calories of our favorite dishes. I worry about my grown son, and I pray that I've modeled and taught him the right things that he needs to know. I hope I have taught him to stand up for himself, whether it's with his teachers, friends or even parents (even me, if you need to.) I pray that he knows my door is always open, and he can always come home.
I miss Jordan being around. I don't miss finding his fruit snack wrappers tucked into small spaces all over the house, but I miss the constant hum of tuba music. I miss just knowing he's here. I miss his cartoons. ("Bricklayer" and "Ed the Eskimo" are still my favorites.) I miss HIM.
Of all the things I am, I love being their Mom the most. I love that they bring their friends over. I love having kids call me "Mom" that I didn't give birth to. I love the friends of my kids who have become like family, and still stop by and Facebook me.
My heart is doing it's own thing today and that makes me really uncomfortable and emotional. I keep thinking of that verse "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me." But it doesn't feel like he's chosen to strengthen me today. Maybe some days he allows me to be weak so I can see how blessed I am. Maybe being strong is over-rated. Maybe this is just my day to see what a miracle my life has been for the last 44 years, and that I'm blessed to be given this day, and I'm grateful for any others God may allow me to participate in. Maybe he'd strengthen me more if I had a P&J and a nap.
May God bless you with memories and weakness, and time to think.