It goes so quick

I Can’t Believe My Time As A Mom Of School-Aged Kids Is Over

I’m definitely not ready.

Originally Published: 
Mother and son embracing at home
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This fall was the first time in 15 years I had only one kid in our annual back-to-school picture. His older sister and brother had already graduated. I was so relieved to know I still had one child in school, and I reminded myself that he was a junior and I had two more years with him at home.

I’ve always loved the routine of dropping off and picking up my kids to school. Hearing about their day, seeing their projects, having their friends over, even dropping them off at games and dances — it was all special to me. Even when they didn’t talk much, I still got to share a little piece of their day or experience. And that’s meant so much to me as their mom.

So when my youngest climbed into the car last week after school and announced that he’d decided to graduate early because he has all his credits, I had to bite my tongue and hold back the tears.

He told me it was what he wanted, and he felt like it was time to move on from high school. He’s talked about moving south and wants to get into farming. He wants to see many other parts of the world, and he’s excited about trying something different after he graduates. This decision is his to make, and he’s thrilled about it. That’s what matters most, I wanted to remind myself.

But I thought I had two more years. I thought I’d be doing school runs, dances, and one last back-to-school picture. I’ve been in this routine for so long it’s ingrained in me. It’s part of how I arrange my day. And while I know this isn’t about me, it’s the end of an era. And it’s bringing up so many emotions. I’m happy for him, of course, but I’m sad for me. I didn’t expect to have a mourning period, so to speak. But that’s exactly what’s happening. It’s the end of a massive chapter in my life. My role will change sooner than I thought, and I will miss having kids in school — a lot.

As parents, we see so many firsts and lasts. I never thought about that much when my kids were small because it seemed like I had so much time for them to be with me. But as they got older, the firsts hit differently. And then the lasts started, too. I always told myself I still had so many more years to go with them under my roof. But I can’t say that anymore because in June, my life as a mom of school-age kids will be over.

Of course, this new stage is also exciting, and I’m so happy for my son. I’ll figure my emotions out and do my best to smile when he talks about moving away to some warm place. I’ll be incredibly proud of him when he receives his diploma, and he’ll hear me clapping and cheering for him over everyone else.

Honestly, moms go through many things we aren’t ready for. We always come out the other side stronger and wiser and realize that no matter what comes up, we can handle it. It might not always be pretty, and we might not always do it perfectly, but we always figure it out. This one just might take a little more time for me to get used to.

Katie lives in Maine with her three kids, two ducks, and a Goldendoodle. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, at the gym, redecorating her home, or spending too much money online.

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