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The last baby of the Gray household got her learner’s permit last week, the same day that the next to last baby got her driver’s license. That evening, we toured homes for sale with the oldest Gray baby and her fiancee, and afterward returned home to 5 college-age young men, courtesy of my hospitable college-age son.
I’m trying to figure out what happened to all those little kids who used to run around here driving me crazy. Whatever happened to the simple questions like, “Mom, can we have a piece of candy? ” or “Can we please have a bedtime story?” ??? Now it’s, “How much of a loan do you think we can get with our credit?” and “What’s the date of the next ACT test?” My brain hurts. It’s swelling, even.
#3 graduates high school in April. It’s time to begin the whole FAFSA process. She just took her last ACT test Saturday, is nearly done with all her classes, it’s time to fill out college applications, and don’t even get me started about high school transcripts. I know her grades in my head, I’ll get to it, people!!!
#4 graduates next year – one year early, my son is trying to figure out what to do with his life, I’m designing my parent’s apartment adjacent to my house, and planning a wedding.
If I dwell on all of this for too long, I get near panicky. This cannot happen, because mom controls the dynamic in the household. Because of this fact, I try to maintain a grip anyway. You know the saying, “if mama ain’t happy…” I can’t even drink a second cup of coffee because of my low tolerance to caffeine. I start biting people’s heads off and go into Nazi command mode. “Get down on your knees and scrub that filth off the bathroom floor!” and, “I’ve told you 15,000 times to dust that light fixture!” Drastic stuff, like I even care most of the time if the floors get mopped.
I used to be OCD about house cleaning. We’re talking toothbrushes to wash the floors and dusting every other day. My standards have drastically lowered as time and years have pressed in from all sides. First, I delegated (which was good for the kids as well, everyone does their own laundry, everyone helps clean and cook). Then, the priorities became more about grades and grandparent’s health, and less about dust and grime. Ah, the phases of life and the perspective we gain.
Don’t get me wrong, I WELL recall the days of toddler hood, the toys strung from here to kingdom come, long, sleepless nights, kids who wouldn’t eat anything. Those days are emblazoned in my memory, that will never fade. And yet, sweet, sweet memories, little things they said still come to mind. Nolan begging for his “milkshake” (chocolate milk) and Barney every morning while I held him in the rocker. Hayley and her proclamation of, “No, I’m MOMMY’S sfeet (sweet) ‘tater!!!” Taryn belting out Aladdin’s, “A Whole New World”, “INCORAUGIBLE FEEEEEEDWEEEEEED!!!” (AKA: Indescribable feeling.) And I’ll never forget Kylie’s famous sign-off at the end of every drawing for me or Jim, “I like you and I love you”.
This, too, is a phase of life. It seems to be fleeing all too quickly, and if I focus on the big stuff, I’ll lose the joy of all the small stuff. I feel like I’m playing catch-up every single day, yet I’m really, really trying to soak it all up. This feeling of my kids all around me, the interaction, the funny moments, the joy, the laughter, the fact that they still love me even though I messed up a hundred billion times over. Don’t worry, parents, you never actually get to that point where you know what you’re doing. Because once you get to that point, they’re already at the next point. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but God knows what He’s doing, and that’s enough for me. He has blessed, and He will enable. I just have to come to Him, kneel before Him, and draw strength from Him daily. He is the One Who ordained it. He will bring it to pass.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Morsel, even. Not months, not weeks, not even days. Minutes, seconds, lists, check-offs, little accomplishments.
Thank-you, God, for my VERY full life!!!