Yesterday we had a fall break from our homeschool co-op. I hadn't really thought of anything fun or special to do, and we were just going about our normal morning routine. Suddenly, with absolutely no cause, I burst into tears. The kids all froze and stared at me, knowing it's not normal for me to cry unless I'm reading a book to them! Grayson asked why I was sad, and when I couldn't come up with a coherent reason, he clung to me, reassuring me that I was probably just pregnant, and that I'd be all right. I had to break the news to him that no, I'm not pregnant, and that I really didn't know what was wrong. So I did what any normal, crying-for-no-reason mama does--I put everybody in the car and went to get Frosties from Wendy's!
We drove to a local park we'd never been to before, and after we had a picnic lunch the kids played while I picked my brain. I arrived at the fact that I am having a very, very hard time with my kids growing up. Addie's 5th birthday was hard, Caiden's 10th was nearly tragic, and then Grayson's 7th last week just pushed me over the line. I watch every day fly off the calendar and just want to stop time and freeze everybody where they are! It's a family joke that I always say they can have a birthday party each year, but nobody's allowed to actually age. I can honestly say that if I could start over and go back to when Caiden was a newborn, I'd do it in an instant. I loved the baby years, the toddler stage, and preschoolers! And yes, I am loving the ages they each are now, but I am having a seriously difficult time with them growing up any more. My mom told me yesterday afternoon when I called her that she's pretty sure I'm going to need counseling when my kids leave the nest--and I could only agree! I love, love, love having children at home.
After the kids played, we walked around the pond and examined a dead turtle, lots of ducks, and minnows. Then, when my sweet friend Erin called, I sort of stopped paying attention so we could talk. (Erin has 5 boys 8 and under and is pregnant with another baby, so if she has time to call, I definitely answer the phone!) I noticed that Caiden "accidentally" fell into the pond, and then Gray and Addie followed suit. They were all three drenched to their necks with slimy, muddy pond water--and they were soooo happy! After I hung up and fished them out, they all stretched out on the sidewalk to dry out, and then we drove home--all three kids stripped down to their underwear.
While I can't say it solved my melancholy about them growing up, the fresh air certainly did help, and the kids had a blast--especially while in the pond. (I did notice on our walk back a sign saying not to wade or swim in the pond! Oops!)
These are the days and moments I'm desperately trying to savor, cherishing each normal moment, not just the milestones. I know I can't keep them from growing up, and that it would be unhealthy and not God's plan for them if I did. I am trying every day to remember that their days with me are a gift, and that I can trust the Giver with them. He is so very good, and He will walk with me each step of the coming years. And if He'd like to slow them down a little, that would be okay with me.