Today was a big day in the Martin Casa...Declan went to school for the first time!
He was all smiles but a little nervous walking into school and then his classroom. He took my hand to come with him as he put his lunchbox in its proper place. I pointed out some toys he might like and then gave him a hug to say goodbye. His little eyes welled up and he said "I wanna come home with you". I explained I had to go to work, and he was a big boy at school now with his brothers and sister! He started crying and clinging to me, saying "Don't leave me!". Oh my mother's heart broke as the preschool teacher pried him off of me and I gave him one last kiss, reminding him that Daddy would pick him up soon.
Boy, that was hard. I thought about him all day at work, and was so glad to hear that he was having a good day as soon as I left.
JP, now a high schooler (!!) had his first soccer game. I drove over to the field after work to watch him play, and was a little emotional at seeing him take to the field for the millionth time. He's been playing since he was 4 just a peanut, now he's practically a full-grown man, 5'8" tall and maturing by the minute.
Why do I have to feel so many feelings? Why can my husband just enjoy watching his son play soccer but I ponder his life story in my heart?
It can be so emotionally/mentally/physically draining having such a big family - dealing with teenagers down to babies. There's always somebody to worry about, somebody who needs a little more attention, a little more physical touch, more words of encouragement. Even once we learn what our kids needs are, fulfilling them is a whole other ballgame. I have such mom-guilt that I'm not doing enough. It would be so much easier with less kids, right?
But then I look around at smaller families, specifically families with only one child, and think of how they must feel going through the same event. I look over at the mom whose oldest (and current only) started preschool today and couldn't help cry herself. I think about the Dad watching his youngest son begin his high school career, knowing how fast these four years go before they are out of the house. Life changes are so much harder for these parents.
I can hug my preschooler goodbye, feeling heartbroken, but know from experience that he will be fine in five minutes. That he will have fun with friends and this is exactly where he needs to be right now. I've done this before and we all survived. I can watch my eldest walking down the high school corridor, knowing that he is indeed growing up and I am in the phase of letting him go. This is only my first of many, I will be in this same position again and again and again. It brings perspective to my family life. Though I have many milestones to go through, many times over, it's easier to know that, most of the time, each one isn't my first or last. I can try to savor each moment without launching into a tailspin, and that knowledge makes every family milestone just a bit sweeter.