I am the first to admit, I don’t always have the best attitude about the clinginess and high-needs of my last child. After twenty-two years of parenting (that’s more than half my life!), with the last eight being extremely intense, I am just plain tired. Not only that, but any eight-year-old previous to this one would have been sent to bed with a goodnight kiss and a smile. End of story.
I try to treasure these moments, I really do. As I lay in bed last night, curled up with Apollo, I thought about how this couldn’t last too many more years. Twelve-year-old Tucker loves me, but he certainly isn’t going to fall asleep with his arms wrapped around my neck. But at the same time, with Chuck’s busy summer work schedule, 100% of parenting falls to me and it’s exhausting. By the end of the day, I am ready to be DONE. One more night of this often feels like too much.
As I lay with my restless, overtired eight-year-old, it suddenly occurred to me that I only have ten more years of intensive parenting.
In ten years all of my children will be adults. While, yes I know that I will always be a mom, it’s different with adult children. And it is very possible one of our children may never be fully independent, our goal is for him to live outside of our home, even if with support.
Ten more years of 24-hour-a -day parenting. Ten more years to pour into this little guy’s (and my other children’s) life. When my first was a baby, ten years seemed like forever. Now that my youngest is eight, ten years seems like the blink of an eye.
I always used to say I didn’t want to know which baby was my last. I felt it would be too painful thinking about the last time I held my own newborn baby, the last time a nursed a baby, the last time I changed a diaper on my own baby…but then we had Apollo. His infancy and toddlerhood were so filled with missed sleep, medical emergencies, and worry over a sick baby the doctors kept telling us was perfectly healthy instead of mourning those moments, I was consumed with worry. So in the end, knowing he was my last baby didn’t bother me, I was merely trying to survive.
But now. Ten years.
Ten years sounds like the blink of an eye.
I am so glad I soldiered through all of the Percy Jackson books and finished (for the first time ever) The Hobbit during my daily reading with Apollo. I love our outings with our homeschool friends. I am savoring introducing him, our cherry on top, to books his older siblings loved. I am slowing down and reminding myself that after 22 years of parenting the door is slowly closing. My only regret is that my grandson, Percy, lives half a world away, so I don’t get to pour into him on a daily basis the way my heart longs to.
If that’s not perspective, I don’t know what is.