Today is my birthday. It’s always a bit melancholy for me.
Reflecting over the past year as a stay at home Mom can seem uneventful. My accomplishments are my kids’ accomplishments. I don’t have projects at work or deadlines to meet. My successes are measured in milestones and they rarely have deadlines. I don’t have drinks with friends after work. I have Crock Pot meals and a glass of wine after everyone is tucked in tight. I don’t have work clothes or even clothes that are fashionably relevant. Most days, “getting dressed” involves changing from my pajama pants to my yoga pants.
The days all seem to blur together. The routines are so steadfast and, well, predictable.
It’s not glamorous, but really, whose life is? I wouldn’t change a curve or straightaway on this road. Staying at home with the kids was always a dream of mine (one in which, after 6 years of higher education, my parents must be supremely proud of). But, deep down on those days when I was buried in research writing my thesis, I was pining away for the day I would throw it all away to change diapers and watch Sesame Street all day.
And here I am at 37 with everything I always dreamed of. I am not a mover and a shaker in the business world; not too many people in the real world know my name. But when it comes to raising kids, I’ve got this down.
Yes, I’m 37 today. I don’t mind admitting it; I’ve earned every one of these years. Every worry line on my face and every gray hair are exactly where they are meant to be. I am proud of this journey and the four precious souls who are my life’s most important work. They are my greatest accomplishments. Just as they are. Not tomorrow or in 20 years. Not once Charlie masters his times tables or Finn is finally released from physical therapy. Not when Tallulah is out of diapers or Henry is finally all caught up to his peers (which he is, by the way. I can brag on my birthday, right?) But, right now. Today. Not when they grow up and make something of themselves. Right now. While they are still mine. For everything they are… Sticky fingers and dirty faces. Tantrums in the supermarket and hiding in the clothing racks at TJ Maxx. Arched backs while I try to strap them in their car seats. Spilled milk EVERY morning. Runny noses and toilets never flushed.
This is the stuff of life. These are the real accomplishments. The thankless work. Six people’s clothing all folded and put away just where they all need it to be. The cereal bowls ready every morning. Being here when they bound off the bus every day. Filling and refilling juice cups. Signing tests and agenda books. Pinning artwork to the bulletin board. Knowing what is being served in the cafeteria for lunch. Writing notes in lunch boxes. Reading them Harry Potter at night. Wiping little butts and sniffly noses. This is the grit and the joy.
Loving them is what I want to remember most. Feeling loved is what I hope they will remember most.
This is motherhood. And I’m right in the thick of it.
Exactly where I want to be.
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