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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother's Day

I grew up outnumbered by three brothers. Though I longed at the time for a sister, in retrospect it was pretty cool to be the only girl, and it was great training for both my own family of all boys and my place as the lone girl on my adventure racing team.
Celebrating my mom and the kids who made me a mom (or stand-in mom). I love these people with all my heart. I love seeing my adult children grow into incredible people, and I'm enjoying still having one at home. My house is emptier, but my heart is full.
My mom, my boys, and my bonus daughter
I had awesome parents. I know I can't live up to my mom's baking or her ability to function on minimal sleep while making sure her family had clean clothes and home-cooked meals, but I hope that my kids have felt the kind of unwavering support and love I got from my parents.

I've got great kids, and that's probably more due to good luck than anything. Starting out with this mom gig at 19 -- and not a particularly mature 19 -- meant that my parenting philosophy was comprised of my parents' model plus liberal amounts of winging it.  There were plenty of challenges, of course, but none of the type that leave lasting scars or insurmountable consequences once you've made your way through them, and some of the rewards for those rough times make it all worthwhile.

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My best Mother's Day gift
My niece lived with us for some pretty big chunks of time during the last few years of grade school and early high school (ranging from one week to a year while her dad was fulfilling military obligations or deployed), and it was overall a wonderful experience for all of us.  That last year, though, was a rough one as we dealt with what is, in retrospect, very basic teenage stuff that we just weren't prepared for.  Though a year younger than Daniel, Kelsea hit some of those stages earlier and so was our crash course in parenting a teenager.  It felt very difficult at the time, so waking up to the above message on Sunday was incredibly touching.

Seeing your children gain perspective is only one of the joys of seeing them grow into adults. Other perks, of course, are reduced financial obligations, gaining another driver on family trips, and really, really enjoying watching them turn into the people they're meant to be. There are surreal moments as well, like watching your son graduate from boot camp or get married and wondering how the hell am I old enough for this to be happening??

And there are bittersweet moments. Like driving Nathan to the airport as he prepares to leave the country for military service. Like reading Kelsea's messages and seeing her baby grow up on Facebook because she's living in Alaska with her husband.  Like celebrating Mother's Day with Daniel two days before he and his wife loaded up a moving truck and headed west to Oregon, their new home.

If a parent's job is to give their children wings, I've done that. Though I miss them, I'm also excited for them.  What a cool thing to be able to see the world or to be free to move across the country! And I can't be too sad...I'm still got one chick left in the nest; he's at a pretty cool stage right now, and since I know what's coming I'm going to enjoy the heck out of him while I still can.

4 comments:

  1. Great post! And what a sweet comment from your niece. My step children all came over for Mother's Day which is so nice. They are so wonderful to me. But it was still a bit of a sad day since this was my first Mother's Day without my own Mom. I miss her every day, but it was definitely felt more on Mother's Day.

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  2. I have a few years before our first leaves the nest, but it truly is exciting to watch him mature and slowly become the young adult he'll be soon. Great post, Kate!

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  3. Way to make me tear up at work! My parents always get the question if they are sad that my brother and I grew up and left the state. They always look confused though and respond that if we didn't, there would be a problem. They raised us to succeed and move on to bigger things. Sounds like you're doing things right :)

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