It’s Sunday night and I am looking through the fridge to plan dinner for Monday and lunches for the next day when the phone rings. It’s the high school calling with the weekly updates… or so I thought. I set the phone on speaker as I usually do in case my husband is nearby so he can help me remember weekly events. I have 4 girls I’m lucky to get birthdays straight! Then it hit my heart like something sharp. “Cap and Gowns are ready for pick up during lunch on Wednesday.” Wait. What? My eyes welled up with tears.
No, not yet. I’m not finished yet helping you to become the adult you need to be, I think to myself of my 17-year-old daughter. She is leaving to go away to college within 5 months.
It just got real.
What happened to the sweet little girl who grew up watching Barney and the Bear in the Big Blue House? What just happened to the last 17 years of our lives?
Surely graduation is something so special for her but selfishly I thought about myself. How can I celebrate all that I have done as a mother? The diapers I had changed, the gazillion baths I gave. How can I say, “You know what world, I was here along by her side every step of the way!”
I thought back to all of the elementary school days where I attended holiday parties, after begging my boss to let me go see my girl. Or Mother’s Day lunch that was planned right smack in the middle of the workday. I joined PTA clubs not really knowing what it involved. I volunteered on my days off to help in the classroom as a teacher’s aide knowing my socially anxious Kindergartener would adjust to school better if she saw me at school.
The countless boo boo’s I have kissed seem like a soft memory. Who can relate to all of the school projects and homework? Middle school I felt like more of a taxi than a mom, picking her up at crazy hours and one time even taking her girlfriends to midnight bowling after pulling a 12-hour shift in the ER!
Then along came high school where I mended broken hearts from broken relationships and taught her how to drive. Then came the sports! Oh, the sports! Soccer started when she was 4 years old and she rowed crew in 8th grade and they practiced 6 days a week! Guess who was the daily driver? (Raises hand.) 9th grade she began swim team with a 4 am wake up every morning through the dead of winter to drive her to the pool for practice. Mind you, I had the easy part in that sport. Then was Lacrosse and I worked many weekends just to get to see her play.
Sounds selfish, right? I wanted to know ask “Hey! What about mom?” The dinners, the movies, the shopping and late night talks about “life.” Did I remember to teach her everything? Surely I saw this coming? Nope!
When the phone call ended and I finished collecting my thoughts as well as the tears on my face, I realized that it’s not this point in her life that I was thinking was so pivotal. It’s honestly the whole journey of motherhood that got her to where she is now. She is my celebration and that is all I will ever need.
This piece was written by a guest contributor, Jennifer Hart.
Jennifer is a wife and mother with children in all phases of life, her toddler daughter keeps her on her toes just as much as her teenage and college-aged daughters.