This week so kicked my butt.
I’ve never had a “back to school” week quite like this one.
For one, I feel like I am losing my mind with all the things I needed to remember. It’s like having a hundred push pins of information falling out of my hands and no cork board to actually land them in. Nothing is sticking.
I marvel at the moms who seem to have been able to get a shower in this week. I’m not one of them.
What I didn’t expect was the emotional riptide I went through watching my oldest completely THRIVE and swan dive with such grace and courage into KINDERGARTEN. Ahh. It just feel so BIG.
What I’ve come to learn over time is that transitions in our life are like doorways.
There are some fascinating things about doorways. Studies have shown that it is much harder to remember something after you’ve walk through a doorway.
Have you ever had the experience where you walk into a room and literally stand there blankly because you can not remember for the life of you why you came into the room? It actually has to do with (at least in some part) the fact that you walked through a physical doorway. But I believe we are wired to “clear the slate” during other figurative doorways of our life too.
These can happen during the most unassuming times. All of a sudden, you get a clear knowing that you are straddling the threshold of two distinct phases or seasons or legs of the journey. It happens to me as my children are growing- they move along and it is hard to even see their growth and then all of a sudden I’m keenly aware that a shift is happening- a transition- a doorway of their growth is before us and I know things will be changing quickly.
So here it is for me, another doorway moment as my oldest enters Kindergarten. I’ve been tearing up and breathing deep all week.
I’m learning to pause and take stock of these times.
To take the time and space I need to process it fully. To acknowledge and celebrate the season we are leaving and to look forward with great anticipation and excitement to the next leg of the journey, fully present.
How was YOUR transition this year? In fact how have you learned to honor the doorways of motherhood and raising a family? I’m fascinated by how others mark the special moments and rituals of their lives.
If you care to take a moment and leave a tender mama some words or wisdom, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Many blessings for new starts and gifts waiting to be unfolded,
Your posts are always so timely. I, too, have been deeply impacted by the back to school transition. My sleep is what has suffered most; I find myself tossing and turning, and wide awake at 3am. This kind of sleep deprivation is unpleasant to say the least. Yet, in a strange way, I feel that this is the Universe telling me to slow down and be present. Because, when I’m this tired, I simply can’t carry around the gazillion thoughts in my head, as I usually do. I have no choice but to be here, with my children, right now.
Mmm, love your honest reframe – when we are really tapped out it can be a HUGE gift to ourselves to see it as an opportunity to listen and slow down and proceed with care.
Driving away from dropping my twins off on the first day of kindergarten (which was also my first day at a new job and the day after their big sister left for college), I cried. A lot. So many transitions. Yeah, I forgot a lot of stuff, too.
Last week they started high school. It, too, was a rocky week–but one with a sweet lesson for me, on letting go of perfectionism, appreciating my kids more deeply, and taking all the joy I can in the midst of some sadness. Thought you might like this: http://www.thissortaoldlife.com/2012/09/09/new-beginnings-and-old-traditions/
Thanks for sharing your experience here. I love the reminder that for all the ways in which mothering has changed for me as my kids have grown, much of it is really the same, no matter what our kids’ ages.
Ugh! I hear you. My oldest is off to school for the first time this morning, and I am feeling so emotional about it. She is so precious and excited, I just don’t want her to ever change, and yet I know that change is just part of life.
I know Melissa- every once in a while I daydream about hitting the “freeze” button on it all…but the change is so divine as well…
My oldest entered 7th grade, which is at the high school in our small town, and my youngest started kindergarten! It’s the 13-year-old that suddenly is in a different phase with different needs ( like more movement since she no longer has gym) , and we are trying to navigate that while not wanting to become overly busy
So many of us are in the same boat. I too am struggling with the beginning of this new school year. However, for me it is with my oldest son starting high school. I had 4 children in five and a half years, so having him start Kindergarten was almost a relief for me. I felt like a bad mother wanting to do the happy dance as I watched other mothers cry and video tape the moment their babies started “real school”. It is so difficult to live in the present with all of the distractions we have. It was during freshman convocation for my son that it truly hit me and I started to cry. He looked like such a young man and I realized that I have only 4 more years until he goes off to college. Everyone keeps telling me how fast it is going to go. I am working hard at being present and scheduling alone time with my son. I am treasuring the time I have with him in the car as I drive him to school. Those are some of the best conversations we have. It will be all too soon that he will be able to drive himself and that will be yet another transition… So, the bottom line for me is to practice thanksgiving and living in the presence and to be intentional in everything I do.
Oh Carey- I hear you!! All my children are very close, I currently have 3 (my oldest is 5, middle 4, youngest 2)…These are intense years for sure. To stay present and in thanksgiving through it all elevates life in every single way.
Lisa I just adore you- I hope you can feel the virtual hug from Colorado. You are like the friend I don’t have time to have in my real physical life. Your posts are always so timely. My oldest son took off like a shot into the Pre-K playground on his first morning and I had to yell multiple times “Hey, Where is my HUG!”. I’ve been having a battle with my new coffee habit (6 months in), knowing my body doesn’t respond well to it, but still finding myself downstairs grinding the beans by 9am. I’ve been having my water and smoothie first, and getting outside for exercise first, but then once the workday starts here comes that darn craving. Thank you for your post on coffee which has helped me delve a little deeper behind the scenes. I’ve also just set myself up on Evernote to start capturing all the things that seem to pass and exit my brain constantly. Knowing the thousands and thousands of mom’s out there in a similar spot really helps. I am always just amazed and what you put together for your community online, the quality of your work, and that you have 3 kids- wow! You inspire me- thank you!
Kasie- I am sooo feeling your hug- sending a squeeze back at you!
I’ve been tearing up and breathing deep since last week. My youngest started Kindergarten, and I thought I would have this all under control, because I’ve been through it once before, but I so don’t. It’s strange not having him at home with me, allowing someone else to nurture his mind, entrusting them to care for him … it’s overwhelming. Though I’m loving watching him blossom, seeing him interact with other kids, make new friends, and follow the lead of an adult who isn’t me.
You’re definitely not alone in this feeling! I’m hoping by next week, things will begin to settle into, what will become, our new “normal”.
And I just wanted to say, that you write and share your thoughts so beautifully. It is joy to read your blog posts!
My oldest entered 3rd grade which they say is a big year for growth. But my youngest started Kindergarten last Wednesday and I was a wreck. I volunteer a lot at the school and every time I see her just being her (when she doesn’t know I am there) I realized that she is growing into a wonderful girl and at the same time she still looks like a baby to me…my baby. I am so happy that so far she is having a great experience and every time I run into a teacher, they say, oh you are her mom? She is just a pleasure to have. Thank you. She may not always be a pleasure at home but she is sweet and I’m so glad she is thriving at school. She tries so hard to compete with her big brother and she deserves to have a great Kindergarten year. Ugh, I’m getting emotional thinking about it. It also makes me sad because I think it takes a while for me to accept change and to really embrace it. I get bored with stuff easily but at the same time certain change makes me nervous and I begin to anticipate the future which then stresses me out.
Lisa- I love reading your posts and all of the wonderful insights you share into our lives as Mamas.
You said… “All of a sudden, you get a clear knowing that you are straddling the threshold of two distinct phases or seasons or legs of the journey.” I LOVE this line!
A month ago our family of 6 “returned” to the states after having been in Thailand for 6.5 years. For our 4 children (8,7,4,2) it didn’t feel much like returning, since they were so young when we went, and 2 were born there. As for my husband and me, we’re realizing too how much we’ve changed over the years! Not only have we reentered a culture we’re unaccustomed to, but I’ve also sent our oldest two kiddos off to school after having homeschooled them for the last couple of years. Talk about being teary eyed!
I do believe though, that doorways in our lives are God’s “grace points”. It’s like He knows that things can’t always stay the same forever; it wouldn’t be for our good. And because He is good and wants what’s best, He gently leads us to a new place and releases us into the next season. The doorway is the final “goodbye” and the first “hello”. We must do both well to be healthy. He’s on both sides of the doorway, and that gives me great peace and excitement! Thanks so much for sharing. Be blessed!
I have been completely rocked by my youngest starting in Kinder this year! I did not see it coming, as I have been looking forward to the “freedom” it will provide. I have a huge urge to just pull them both out and homeschool them! I hope I can one day before it is too late. Thank you for your timely post!
My youngest started Kindergarten last month. While I miss him, I do enjoy having some mom time. Nothing beats him dropping his backpack after he exits the bus and running to give me a big hug. He does seem so big to me know. So many more transitions to go. I am trying to look at transitions as an opportunity to take even better care of myself!
Dear Lisa, there’s a passage in a book (“Mothering your nursing toddler”) that I re-read very often in times like this: “The best way I know not to find yourself singing those ’empty nest’ songs as your children grow is to throw yourself into every phase of your growth as a mother. Follow your maternal feelings with your babies and young children. Exercise your mothering urges; wear them out; use them up. These urges will not go away, of course, but, like your child, you can be satisfied and fulfilled. You can grow with your children so that the move from your nursing rocker to the Blue Birds or to being a grandparent is as exciting and joyful as your children’s. (…) There is just to much good in living to use up very much of life trying to stay where you are. It’s better to let a tear or two fall if need be, put an arm around that dear child, and plunge ahead into the rest of your life.” That was true for me when weaning my girls and it still is while moving on to kindergarden and school. Best wishes from Germany – you have readers there, too :)) Karin
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