Today is the day! Jude started kindergarten. This morning, I put my baby boy on a bus. I can’t believe it.
Motherhood just changes you at your core, doesn’t it? I was saying earlier this week that it never stops feeling like one big change after another. Having a child who grew in your own body and rocking that baby in a dark, quiet house. Chasing those chubby toddler legs. Singing ABC’s with a preschooler. Those days feel SO LONG when you are in them, yet they all run together and race by as you look back. Here we are. Another change. Another new chapter on the horizon. I’m excited for him, and seeing growth in your children is so fulfilling. But it also aches a little bit. Being a mother is like forever seeing a piece of your heart running loose in the world, and sometimes you want to protect it and tuck it back deep in your chest where it belongs, but it doesn’t work that way.
He’s getting older, and I don’t feel like it’s my job here to comment on his feelings and his perspective. But I’ll say that he was all the things you’d expect – excited, a little overwhelmed, exhausted, and proud at the end of the day. It was only 8 hours, but it was the longest day of my life. Such a joy to see him step off that school bus with a look of pride and satisfaction.
It’s been a hard week. With all of the emotional intensity of preparing for today, it leaves you feeling unsteady anyhow. Being human is hard sometimes. I’ve come so far in the healing process, and I can see that on this journal as I look back at old entries. But here we are with a new chapter of challenges I didn’t anticipate. Watching someone who hardly knows my son come to open house events, school functions, teacher meetings, and all that this life entails. It is HARD to swallow that. There is so much more I could say, but that is already more detail than I usually write in this space where I try to focus on my own piece of the journey and not someone else’s. I just don’t want to be hypocritical in my reflections here, so I’m admitting that while I am doing well in many ways and melding somewhat gently into this new life, this was a bad week full of encounters I wish I never had to experience. It makes me angry to see someone push an agenda on my child and me. Life is full of hard things, I know. And this is hard.
Yesterday my awesome friend, Amanda, posted a fearless reflection on Facebook where she ripped the mask off and was honest about motherhood challenges and all that they entail and how they leave us wondering if we are doing the right things, if we are enough. Reading the responses she received was inspiring to me — just moms being honest about how hard this job is and how much we question if we are doing it right.
I have so many friends who are amazing and are not moms, so I don’t like to make big blanket statements on motherhood, but I’m just going to say that there are some things that you just do not get — you do not even remotely understand them — until you’ve done this. Everyone thinks they know everything about parenting until they actually do it. And those parents that — even after they have kids or after their kids are grown — walk around saying they are the best parent in the world? Those are the ones to really worry about and the ones you can be assured screwed up somewhere. It takes humility and authenticity to do difficult jobs, and parenting is difficult for certain.
Jen Pastiloff (who is leading a workshop this Saturday that I’m super excited to attend) posted this recently. It resonated, and I saved it.
I’m just going to be honest tonight.
I’m here to say that I am grateful for so many things in my life, but I’m also deeply hurt by some actions that were done to me and more than that by the complete lack of remorse or respect from those involved.
I’m inspired by my children every day, and they are the compass for my decisions and actions, but I still think motherhood is the hardest gig ever and I’m sure I don’t always do everything right. And sometimes I feel so tired and weary from the heaviness of this job and the responsibility of guiding two little people.
I’m confident and I know I am whole and capable of so many things, but I can also be shaken and broken so quickly by someone’s simple actions or one hurtful comment. It still surprises me how solid I can feel on the inside and yet still be broken so quickly with someone’s simple stab.
But that’s being human, right? Being full of lots of imperfections that you wish didn’t exist but they do. Thinking things that you shouldn’t take as the absolute truth but sometimes you do. Feeling things that you wish you didn’t feel but you do.
It’s all here – the doubt and the shining moments, the guilt and the satisfaction, the anger and the joy. There’s a line in an Avett Brothers song that says, “There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light, and I’m frightened by those that don’t see it.” It pierces me all the way through when I hear that song. Those who don’t see it – they don’t feel shaken or see both the darkness and the light – are the ones who frighten and intimidate me the most when I’m playing the comparison game. But really if you don’t have moments of self-doubt and hurt, I’m learning you don’t have much to offer.
So here’s my offering tonight. Life is full of hard things. And sometimes they feel too heavy, but on the other side of that heaviness, there’s always a joy and satisfaction tied to it.
My brave boy stepped on a school bus and began a new journey today, and it was full of fear and self-doubt but also full of joy and pride. I think I can learn a lot from him.