Taking the Training Wheels Off

On Mothers Day, I had an epiphany.
In five years, my oldest daughter probably won't be sharing this day with me.
Because she will be away at college.
And it hit me like a thud right where my heart and stomach meet.

I have submerged myself into this motherhood pool from day one.
Jumping in head first, with wild abandon not caring who is looking and what kind of splash I will make. 
I pretty much live for my children.
Which I am told by many a self help book is the absolute wrong thing to do.
And I don't friggin care.

I do this because I like doing it
I do this because I am lucky to be doing it.
I am grateful every single day for the privilege of being able to be a stay at home mom.
I don't take the job lightly and quite frankly, I am damn good at it.


When my youngest daughter was feeling pressured by a neighbor boy to take the training wheels off her bike last month, I felt a thud.
Why whywhy???
But I dutifully took them off.
She thrived for five rounds but then wanted them back on after falling for five or six more tries.
Younger me, would have made her keep riding, get back on, you are doing this.
Older me, softer me,  had the husband put them back on the following day.
"Why the hurry to be off training wheels??", I questioned.
"She has plenty of time."

Doesn't she?

This roller coaster is going too fast.
I want it to slow down.
I blame myself
Wasn't it I who was sitting on the bathroom floor when my oldest was a tween and my youngest was in the throws of terrible two's, three's.......fours?.... begging for time to speed up?
"Hurry, time!! I can't take this anymore!"
Some days even saying under my breath, 'I cannot wait until they go to college'.

Why would I put that out there??
The universe, God listened.
And it is going by way too fast.
Faster as they get easier, less complicated, less needing me.

At this point, I would pay my oldest to stay within an hour drive when she goes to college.
I would pay for college and give her a car to have her still live at home WHILE attending college.
I know.
I need help.
Please don't tell me I am the only one.
Please tell me that you too have thought of this
I don't ever want them to leave.
I said it.

When my oldest was first placed into my arms 14 years ago, it was the first time I had held a newborn.
I had never been a "baby person".
Never planned out my children's names when I was a teenager.
Never begged to babysit neighbor's children unless they were over the age of 10.

In fact, I was worried while pregnant with my Annie that I wouldn't be a good mom.
Because I wasn't a baby person.

I fell in love with being a mom a few weeks after they were born.
Because I am not gonna romanticize it, the first four weeks are kinda ugly.
But after you get to know them?
They are pretty cool.

And they share their snacks too.
No one tells you that when you are pregnant.
It IS a perk.

In my ideal world, I want to be the Braverman Family.
I want my family all around me.
I want someday grand kids to be all over me with sticky fingers and hands.
I want the back porch to swing open with my daughters, their mates, their friends, their dogs.
I want it all.
Come over. Stay for supper. Are you tired? Spend the night!

It took me many years to realize that for all the time I was desperately missing extended family, my little immediate family was sitting here waiting for me to open my eyes and appreciate what I have.
I HAVE family.
Right here.
In my home.
And they are AWESOME.

I am aware of how fleeting it is.
I know someday I will want these moments back.
Sometimes I am good at sitting back but most days I am not.
While screaming at them to clean their rooms or to not roll their eyes at me, I realize that THIS is most likely the moment they will remember.

There are moments in every parents life that you wish time would speed up.
When they are sick, when they are going through the terrible two's, teething, potty training and most of the tween years.
When they are in the WHY? WHY? WHY? stage.
When they are in the YOU AREN'T THE BOSS OF ME stage.


Even as I was writing this over the course of a week, there were days when I would literally laugh out loud.
Because as I was typing the words of HOW WILL I LIVE WITHOUT THEM?? it was while they were at school when the house was very quiet.
Come 3:45, I was ready to move out because the six year old has decided at school that she was not going to use the letter S the rest of the day.
Or when shopping for a graduation dress with my 14 year old, she declares that "you don't know fashion" and that "wearing capri pants are for old ladies. You know. Like you."

My oldest daughter is graduating 8th grade at the end of this week.
I can see things moving in slow motion yet I wake up one morning and I am getting ready to register her for high school.

Where is it going?

I want to cling to their heels every time they walk away.
With every single milestone.
Grade changes.
Hair color changes.

Wasn't I just reading What To Expect?
Wasn't I just writing what food made me burp in my Pregnancy Journal??
Weren't we just at the Target buying your reward for giving up your pacifier???

 I spend my entire day revolved around their needs.
This is my job.
This is what I do.
This has been my life for 14 plus years. 
When they are gone, what will become of me?


 I am keeping those training wheels on for a little while longer.

If you need me, I will be braiding hair and dancing to Let It Go for the 100th time.
Because I still can.