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Dec 28

Everything changes

One theme I’ve been thinking about lately is that of change. There have been so many times in my life when I was so happy – when I really loved everything about what I was doing, and where everyone was, and… it changed. I loved a lot of my twenties – living with Becky, having a job that was fun, and being independent and on my own. I loved having Scott’s kids all the time, I loved the relationships I had. In order to get to the next step – all of that had to change.

And of course, having kids has been one change after another. It’s not just having a newborn, an infant, a baby, a toddler. It’s not just having one kid and then two, then three. All of those were such huge changes, and they all came with loss. In order to have the next step, you have to lose what you have.

That was what was so hard about having Jessie go off to college this year. Once she left, it was okay. I love where I am now. I love having Julie and Sam at home, and suddenly having a house of big kids. But anticipating the loss was devastating. I was so afraid of what it would be like without her, so aware that I was losing that time of having my daughter living with me as my child.

She’s back now, for holiday break. It’s lovely and familiar and everything feels the same, but I know it’s not. She’s an adult now. Not entirely, but more now than ever before. I’m not in charge of her life, her emotional stability. It’s hers now, and it feels… exactly the way it should be. I didn’t anticipate that. I thought it would feel awful, that I’d miss being in charge of every aspect of her life. But I don’t. I love who she is, I love watching her navigate her life. I love having her home, but I know she’s going back to college soon, and it feels right.

The theme of change extends to how I parent the other kids as well. I know now, in a way I couldn’t have known before, that it’s going to change. Sam’s 15, and I can see the end of this stage for him. I’m not rushing it, he’s got a ways to go before it happens, but it’s going to come. And with Julie – God, I’m so grateful for her. Grateful for more time, to be able to experience all of this one more time with her. Because I know now how fast it’ll go.

And as much as I can tell myself that I’m totally fine with my kids growing up, and I can even totally believe it, once it happens – the thought of Sam and Julie leaving to go to college makes my heart sink. It’s going to be just as awful, that year before, when they go, one at a time, as it was when Jessie went. But I can hopefully remember that it won’t hurt nearly as much once they’re off and happy. Because everything changes, and it has to, to make way for what comes next.

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