In the outside world the weather is shifting slowly and indecisively from hot summer to crisp fall.
Inside our place, life is shifting too.
It's always ever shifting. It's the nature of life, of being alive, of love.
The first born is now into his first year of high school. This brings so many firsts and a little reminiscing.
My first born is now roughly the age I was when I met The Mr.
4 kids, 3 schools. It will march on for years to come.
Last night we realized this first man child in the high school was our entry into the high school parent circle. It wasn't long before we did the math and knew we would be in this circle for the next 13 years. We will be there, with some sort of presence, continuously for the next 13 years, one child after another, until they are all graduated. Longer if any of them have challenges that slow them down. There is a good chance we will be part of the high school longer than some of the staff starting this year.
The second born is navigating middle school.
Life with these two oldest boys has become a fast frenzy of lockers, showers, homework, larger than life snacks and loud friends. Ipads, skateboards, online classes and swimming in phy ed. There is texting and girls and homecoming dates. Just like that.
Now it's homework that keeps them up past their bedtimes, not colic or teething.
I'm the odd parent out at school when I drop off the littlest two.
I'm not sad or heartbroken over the passing of time and the growing up of all these children.
The kids I have are hard. Spicy. Spectacular and wild and sometimes ugly in a heart wrenching way. Every school day brings a struggle with some staff member or rule or task. Every day brings a moment of mommy cringing or mommy shaming ripe with "do you know what your kid did" accusations.
The weekends and in service days off and holiday breaks and summers are equally filled with hard. Not a little hard, like someone scraped a knee or a plate got broken. Hard-hard, like the kind where people stare, pull their kids away and you walk away hearing yourself pull out the parenting words you've been trained to use and seeing yourself doing the actions you've spent session after training session learning to use as second nature and yet all the while feeling the weeping just at the edge of your eyes as your breathe in, breathe out, walk on. Take the next step.
You walk on for them, not you.
But here's the thing. Every day they are older. Every day they are better than the day before. Every day, even the worst days, are days moving in the right direction, stuffed full of potential.
That's why I'm not sad over the passing of time, over the letting go of the baby things from my stash. I'm not sad over the loss of the chubby baby hands and sticky sloppy kisses.
I'm not sad because I'm too busy being in love with who these kids are becoming. Watching them and being a part of this growing up and growing into is amazing and fascinating and breathtaking.
I like them more and more, better and better with each passing day.
I'm the odd mom out to say I like my teenage kids better or more than I did when they were toddlers or elementary kids.
I love the personalities that are growing in them. I love the ways they are finding their feet and their identities. I love their humor and their conversations and their observations. I love their ever growing capacity to think and learn and find joy in that thinking and learning.
Maybe 13 years of high school isn't bad luck. Maybe it isn't a punishment of sorts. Maybe it's 13 years of wonderful. Maybe it's 13 years to the end of the beginnings of amazing adults.