Today brings me back to a particular one. Five years ago. After having four kids all in a row, it was time to take my youngest to his first day of preschool. It was a hard day and a wonderful day, as so many first days of school are. I stayed there observing and watching as long as I possibly could. Then with some tears, it was time to let go.
I walked the 3 blocks to my house. Alone.
It was a strange feeling this alone-ness. Something foreign to me, after so many years with the little ones as my constant companions.
I wiped the tears from my face and realized that I had a couple of hours of well,
I could sing, I could dance, I could clean, I could watch T.V. Whatever.
Then I reached my home, and kept walking.
In fact, there was no reason for me to go home, so I walked some more.
I walked around town for miles. I smelled the flowers. I felt the moisture in the air. I breathed. I noticed things. I made plans in my head: I could work out every day, I could write in a journal, I could grow a beautiful flower garden. I could get so much done. I felt happiness.
It was just a few days after that bittersweet day that I discovered I was pregnant again. After four years of being out of baby mode. You know baby mode: car seats, and diapers, and spit-up and chasing toddlers. Instead of the lovely freedom I thought I would have, I spent the next month of mornings on the couch trying not to vomit.
And getting the house and family ready to squish in a fifth baby.
Today, I think of that day, because it's another first day of school.
With tears in my eyes, I sent off one to his first year of middle school, watching him struggle to open his locker and find his classes. I stayed there as long as I could, watching and observing, and praying.
That baby, that kept me on the couch those months, today she went off to her first day of preschool. With excitement in her eyes, and anticipation, she watched each of her older siblings get dropped off at their schools.
I went home, and I remembered that day of freedom years ago. I remembered how happy I felt, at the prospect of a little bit of freedom.
But today, instead of taking a walk after dropping off my youngest, I went home and nursed another new little sixth baby peacefully off to sleep. I realized that I have given and sacrificed so very much to these kids. I have hobbies and passions, but these kids, this family, this life, takes my whole soul, and everything that I've got.
While there are probably many people that would question my sanity at this point, I myself,
am simply staring at my little baby, peacefully asleep at my breast.
And I am marveling at this new little life. How things repeat themselves in one gigantic cycle of living. How like they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
But what I realize so deeply, more than any other thing, is that:
While I've given up most of myself to this thing called Motherhood, I've found myself, too.
Happiness comes and goes, and I will seize it whenever I can.
But this stuff, this difficult and tiring journey that I am on with these souls that are my children, my tribe,
It is JOY.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.