Nine years and two weeks ago a delivery nurse handed me a new life–today a teacher handed me yet another.
My oldest daughter was born Aug. 8 of 2004. I knew my life was going to change when they gently passed the warm bundle to me and said “Meet your daughter,” but I had no idea how much and for how long. When your first child is born your identity changes. Suddenly the title “Mom” is forever attached to your introductions. This is Chloe’s Mom or Neve’s Mom you say when talking to doctors, day care providers and the moms of new playmates. As they grow the moniker includes “class mom,” “team mom,” “scout mom” and in some unfortunate cases, “pageant mom.”
When you lay in bed at night planning the next day, your primary concern is your child’s needs. Usually, not always of course, a child’s mother is a child’s primary care giver. You are their person. You are the one that takes care of what they need. And then they go to school and someone else takes care of those needs. And it’s always a little bit of relief and, depending on the mom, a little bit sad.
I was more than a little bit sad today when my youngest daughter headed off to full-day first grade. She was in half-day kindergarten last year and away from me for less than 3 hours a day. Before that she went to preschool for three mornings a week for two years. Before that she was with me on average 22/7. In other words I pulled off the band-aid slowly.
So this morning when she marched into the first grade classroom and I turned to walk away, I was at a bit of a loss.
I’ve kept my career as a freelance writer and journalism instructor on life support the last nine years. I guess now is the time get more serious about it. Or maybe I should finally finish the novel that has been “in progress” for going on two decades. Maybe I’ll train for a marathon, or start volunteering. Maybe I’ll finally get all those baby photos in albums or touch up the paint on the living room ceiling that was scratched by the top of the Christmas tree 8 years ago.
Maybe I’ll sit on the porch to drink my morning coffee. Maybe I won’t always be in such a rush. Maybe I’ll take the time to pet the cat. Maybe I’ll take a nap.
Today I just caught up on a few things around the house I didn’t have time for when the girls were home and went on a long bike ride, because exercise always makes me feel better when I’m sad. And before I knew it, the bell was ringing and the girls were running out of the school that had swallowed them up this morning. They were glad to see me. They had things to tell me. They needed things from me.
And so the “title” Mom moved down on my life’s business card today, but it’s still there–and always will be.