Can you believe it? The Fall school semester is officially underway! Kids of all ages are reluctantly but successfully getting back into the groove and, if you’re like most moms, you’re probably pretty happy about it. I mean, we all want our babies (from our precious kindergarten newbie to our practically-an-adult college student) to thrive and find their special place in their own little world, right? Right. And even though this year looks a little different for me since I’m homeschooling (thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated) I can definitely appreciate and commiserate with what life looks like right now for a lot of my LMP mommas.
Let’s take a peek. I’m thinking most likely it’s really quiet around some of your homes. Like, eerie quiet. As in, you can actually hear yourself think quiet. And maybe one of the things you’re thinking is, “Wow, it’s so different here without the kids. And a little lonely.”
So, if you’re a stay-at-home momma, you get to work straightening up the house, throwing a load of dirty clothes in the wash (wondering for the hundredth time, “How is it possible we use this many towels?”) and getting ready for your day. Maybe you’re trying out a new Pure Barre class or signed up for that interesting Bible study, or you’re just running down to Whole Foods (or Whole Wallet as a friend of mine jokes) for fixings for dinner. But you haven’t had to do all of that while juggling and/or maneuvering one, two, three (plus) children’s schedules.
Or, perhaps you’re a working momma and your day looks different – up at 6:00 a.m., showered, dressed, make-up on in a reasonably pleasant way (putting on eyeliner in the car just never, ever works out well, does it?) and you’re back behind your desk ready to take on another day. But you haven’t taken that third or fourth phone call from your kids; you know the ones – where they can’t find a dance shoe, a baseball glove, a banana?
Yep, it’s kid quiet and when it’s kid quiet, I don’t know about you but my thoughts turn a little sappy. I start thinking about how my babies are growing up; how time is passing faster than I know how to put into words. My heart tugs a bit lot when I think back to those different days of quiet – when time stood still and the majority of my day was spent holding them and looking into their sweet faces, singing over them or reading to them. True, at the time I was probably juggling a lot of different duties just like I do now, but I definitely remember that the quiet was almost sacred and I relished every moment.
Back to school – and off to college, for that matter – quiet is different. It’s an awareness of change and time marching on and like I said, it can be a little lonely. Because here’s the deal (and if you know me at all, you know this is straight up truth): I’m crazy about my work – like I really, really enjoy photographing the amazing young humans that stand in front of my lens every day and I sometimes laugh out loud that I get to do what I’m passionate about doing for a living – but my family is my true love.
Still, truth be told, I can get so busy and caught up in the “important” things of life (read: deadlines, finances, house repairs, etc.) that I’m prone to overlook or tune out the truly meaningful part, and that’s being a momma to my amazing and wonderful children.
And then there are my LMP mommas who are experiencing a realllyyyyy new kind of kid quiet – a semi-permanent kind of quiet that comes because their particular kiddo has gone off to college. I hear tales of moms wandering into their child’s empty room, sitting on the edge of the bed, smoothing the comforter and breathing in the lingering scent of a son’s Abercrombie & Fitch musky cologne or the sweet smell of their daughter’s Vera Wang Princess perfume – and staying in this quiet, semi-comatose state for, like, hours. And I totally get it! I get having a moment(s) to recall the life lived in that room; of shoe laces being tied, games played, conversations shared, hurts whispered, dreams dreamed and prayers prayed. And I get that it’s important to spend time contemplating the 17 or 18 years of living that child has shared with you because those years are priceless treasures that will never, ever be duplicated.
Which is why I think quiet, reflective moments are good for us moms, no matter if they take place while our kids are in elementary or high school; whether they’re gone to camp, gone to Grandma’s or gone to college. Because even if those times can be a little lonely, rather than throwing us into a funk or causing us to wish for the “good old days” they can help us to remember the sweet times and then re-focus on what’s really important in the here and now; cause us to slow down, breathe in the moment and enjoy the place we and our children are inhabiting, whether together or separately, in this little thing we call life.
“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come…The past, I think has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.” Audrey Hepburn
Having written this, I’m totally aware some of you out there are doing the happy dance and are thinking, “What on earth is she babbling about?! My kids are in school and life is great!” If that’s you, my friend, then you go, girl!