A million years ago, when I wasn’t even married, I knew I would be ~ someday. I spent a lot of time in my teen years preparing for marriage (sounds old-fashioned, I know) and preparing for motherhood. I was raised in a very traditional home, sort of, where girls (I was the only female child in my family) learned how to play the piano, sew, cook, bake, clean, and care for children (by babysitting). Still I was expected to get an education just in case I ever needed to support myself or my family.
Then I got married, at a young age by today’s standards, and we had our first baby when I was just barely 21. Over the next 18 years we had seven children and two miscarriages.
Each milestone for the children brought me one step closer to something no one prepared me for.
I remember when Child #1 went to his first day of kindergarten. I cried all the way home. I’d been a ‘work from home’ mom and had never had time away from him. The idea of turning him over to anyone else for five mornings a week was more than I could bear.
It got progressively easier to let each child go when that first day of kindergarten arrived.
Before our last child started kindergarten, our first child had finished high school. He felt he was ready to face the world, so he found a job and an apartment nearby that he could share with a friend. I couldn’t be here the night he moved out. Let me rephrase that – I could have if I had wanted, but my heart was breaking at the thought of him moving just four blocks away – so I made up an excuse to not be here as he moved his bed and belongings to his new home.
A few years later Baby #7 was ready for kindergarten. By contrast I sang and danced as I checked her in for her first morning there. I remember thinking joyously – “I now have two hours every morning to do as I please. I am a liberated woman!”
Baby #7 graduated from high school in June. She turned 18 in December 2016. She is now legally an adult in the province of Alberta. She has a full-time job and is saving money to attend trade school in September. She’s making loads of decisions without consulting me – and I have come to the end of an era. I no longer have minors in my family.
Nothing really prepared me for this, for what it would feel like. I have to tell you, it’s okay – and it probably will be until Baby #7 decides it’s time to move out – and that will be the end of another era.