|Ten years ago, and it feels like yesterday.|
It's official. I'm old.
Old is a relative term, so I owe it to you to qualify that. To some, a 45 year old is a spring chicken. To others, a peer. But as I watch my son walk through the front doors of his high school, or down a busy NYC street with friends, away from me, I wonder where the time has gone. The child who used to look up to me, now towers over me by more than a handful of inches. His voice, a deep man's voice, is a far cry from the little one that used to ask, "Mama?" It goes in the blink of an eye. I didn't believe it when people told me, as I held my babe in arms crying for more milk, that time would pass faster as he got older. I couldn't fathom having a baby out of diapers, let alone a young man in high school. Alas, here we are.
I couldn't be happier seeing my child make the leap toward independence. We were joined at the hip, and there were times when I thought I'd be going to college with him. He's healthy, thank God, and is now choosing to pull away from me. He spends times with friends, goes to art classes in the city, and daydreams about his life in Los Angeles (the one he assures me is just a few years ahead). I ask "Do you miss me sometimes?" He shrugs, "Not really, Mom." I ask, "Will you miss me when you are living all those miles away?" He replies, "I don't think so, Mom. Nah."
This is good. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely bittersweet knowing he doesn't need me anymore. It's also freeing, knowing that my son is ready to lead his own life. I don't have to worry that he will be upset at the thought of taking the next step, and I don't have to feel guilty having joyful times that might not include him. He is confident and self-assured. He wants to have his own life, to grow up and go out into the world. It's good news, and it's good for him.
But for me, well, I'm already missing my baby.
Given all this, along with the fact that I remarried in June and now have three more kids to love (my husband's), I've had to rethink my life. When I look back at these years, what will I remember? Exercising that practice now, I remember traditions, big moments, and valued time with people I loved. But I also remember crying a lot over things that didn't matter. I remember running in circles, planning events that meant nothing to me, the details of which are mostly forgotten. I notice all the things I wasted time on and wish I'd done it differently. Hindsight is always filled with clarity, isn't it? If only I knew then what I know now. Of all those past things -- wasted time, energy, money and love -- I wish I focused more on my son and less on those who didn't matter. I can't turn the clock back, but I can change what's happening now.
My friend Kim P. recently told me that if she could do things all over again, she'd take her kids out of school for fun day trips and spend more time with them. This resonated with me. I can't pull my high schooler out for fun adventures, but I can soak in every moment that I do have with him.
And it's because of this that I've decided to end my candle making career and close my business. I will still make them for the local yoga studio (because those small, fabulous batches feed my soul), and maybe a few dozen candles at the holidays, if my heart sees fit. But for these next few years, I'll be hanging onto every minute I have with our kids, grabbing onto the fact that I am fortunate enough to stay home and be with them. In fact, I'm white knuckling it.
I'll be writing about my experience of going back to being a stay-at-home mom, sharing recipes, frustrations and more. Please keep posted xox