Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turning the Page

So apparently, I decided not to blog all summer. I found myself being a little surprised by that BUT, it's mostly because it takes me quite a bit of time/thought/energy to blog. With my 3 kids home all summer, I found it difficult to prioritize that much uninterrupted computer time. (That's a nice way of saying that my kids interrupt me quite frequently)

Our summer was great. We got to see Brad and Dawn and their girls each month, which is unprecedented, but made the kids really happy. We made a trip to Nashville over the 4th and to the beach last week. Eric and Isaac went to camp. We made regular trips to the library to keep the kids reading. Each kid got to stay the night with my parents once a week all summer; they enjoyed the one-on-one time with them. All in all, it was a very relaxing summer. Not too harried. Extremely hot but you know, we live in the South...

Now school has started. Tuesday, Aug. 9 was everyone's first day. Jaylie has been super excited about kindergarten ever since she got her shots behind her back in May. Ethan has been ready for school for quite some time and even Isaac was ready to go back several weeks ago. He said he wasn't missing the work, but he was missing his friends.

The big question I've had is,"How are you doing with Jaylie at school now?" followed quickly by,"What are you going to do all day?" Indeed, that was sorta what Ethan asked me Monday night as I was saying good night to him. "Mom, you'll be all alone here. What are you going to do?" Bless him. I told him that I'd be at school a lot (I'm a PTO president now, after all) and I would still have my house work to do (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, etc) and that I hoped to have all that done before they came home from school so that when the get home, all I have to 'do' is fix supper. Ethan kinda lit up after that when he realized that I'd be free to play games and stuff. I always like to play with them, but up til now, it has meant that I don't do something that I feel like needs to be done, because I want to be available to the kids. Which leads me to the thrust of this post...

Tuesday marked the end of an era for me. For 11 years, I have stayed home, bound by nap times and meal times, tethered by my kids' needs which are usually (as in always) more urgent than mine. Now, I set out to discover who I am without those bonds. 'Bonds' sounds so negative. 'Constraints' isn't the right word either. It is accurate, but not at all negative. I have been absolutely, totally and utterly fulfilled staying home with my kids. It's one of those things that has gone according to plan, praise the Lord. Eric and I knew we wanted me to stay home. We were blessed that Isaac arrived when he did to allow that. We have been blessed for these 11 years to have a salary for Eric that didn't necessitate my working at all (as in, getting paid) to make our ends meet. We put a very high priority on living with one income because we valued my staying home. I am so glad that Eric has always valued what I do.

I told a sweet friend yesterday that I feel like I've done a good job. That's not meant to sound like a boast. I don't have regrets about how I've spent my time with my kids. I feel like I have done a good job preparing them for school. I think that's evidenced in their excitement for starting back. There have been some choked back tears for me. As I told Jaylie goodnight on Monday, I had to try not to boo-hoo at her. There's an element of disbelief that she can possibly be 'school-aged'. Time flies.

But it is hard to be sad in the face of such joy and excitement. Our little school where Jaylie is is such a sweet place. I know all the teachers and staff there. I can be there as often as I like. It is populated with lots of folks I go to church with, that Jaylie and Ethan have known for most of their lives. It is a good place.

So far, this sounds so final. As if I'm done with the raising of my kids! Yikes, I would be sad about that! I guess I am just recognizing that I am moving into a new phase. When I was pregnant with Jaylie, I knew--absolutely--that she would be my last baby. After all, with the very rare exception (think, Duggar family with 19 kids) there is a finite number of kids a woman can have. With women who have c-sections (like me) there's a limited number of times you can be cut open. Knowing she was my last made it not so hard when lots of my friends were having subsequent babies. Accepting the end of my 'child-bearing' years made me embrace 'child-rearing' years. Alot of prayer goes into these phase-shifts for me. I appreciate the way God works in preparing my heart for the new adventures that await me in the new phase.

I titled this post, Turning the Page. I feel very much like that. I am moving into a different part of my story. This part isn't as familiar. It's going to take some getting used to. But lucky for me, I like to re-read my favorite books a lot. (seriously, I read them a LOT) So armed with my giant logs of not-so-wonderfully-taken photos, I will be able to look back again and again rejoicing in my story this far. Praising the Author for the beauty of it. And anticipating what awaits in the new chapter. It will be good.