The heat has intensified to an all-time humid high here in the Deep South of Mississippi. I have always lived in the Southeastern U.S. so the heat doesn’t shock me. The humidity levels are higher than anywhere else I’ve lived before, but I know it’s just temporary.
We’ve reached the point in the summer where we are all bored. Bored of each other. Bored of the same activities. Bored of the heat. It’s too hot to go to the pool. It’s too hot to go to the park. The library has seen us far too much. In fact, even the ladies at Chick Fil A are starting to know our orders by memory.
Today, we went school shopping for Mackenzie (and picked up a few new things for Marshall, too). She chose to shop at Target, her favorite spot; and wanted to push the cart all by herself. We approached the Back to School Zone in the back of the store and she ran straight towards the glittery, obnoxious LOL Surprise Doll backpack that she had been eyeing for weeks. When she put it on like a pro, I realized that not just the summer was temporary. The season of her being my infant and then my toddler was drawing to an end. We had reached LITTLE GIRL stage and it happened all too quickly.
I was blogging for the Columbia SC Moms Blog while she was in the throes of toddlerhood. I wrote about how difficult the twos and threes were and how the week I spent potty-training her was probably the worst week of parenting I had ever had. In that season of life I honestly thought it would never end. That my son would remain an infant who was nursing and needed everything from me and that my daughter would be stuck in toddlerhood forever.
It’s ironic because as I stood in unchartered waters at my favorite store today, I realized that I felt the years had passed far too quickly and that my toddler son would be right behind her.
I have come to the realization that I have a love-hate relationship with parenting.
I spend most days wishing my time away with my children, but the second they are in bed away from me I find myself looking through old photos and videos of them – missing them. I long for vacations away from them, but by day 3 I am aching to hold their chubby little bodies. I curse the times they crawl in bed with me at 1:00 AM, but my heart melts when I breathe in their scent that I know better than anyone else’s. I truly never thought the day would come when my kids would be in school and here we are buying backpacks and school supplies for her first day of Kindergarten. When I was working full-time outside the home, I felt guilty for the time I wasn’t with them. Now that I’m staying home with them, I feel guilty that my time isn’t quality enough.
And so it goes….
I am careful when I tell a new mother to “enjoy the time” they have when their babies are little, because sometimes when you are so exhausted and can’t see straight the last thing you need is someone telling you to “soak it all in.” Even now when my friends tell me that this season with my 3 year old son will end soon – I recoil just a bit.
I KNOW it will end soon, but it doesn’t make it any easier to get through it now NOR does the pain lessen any when it’s all over.
Just as the pain my heart experienced today when I realized we were about to embark on 13 years of school ahead of us. A little bit of apprehension, a lot of anxiety, some sadness and a sprinkle of excitement for her.
So, we filled our cart with all the sparkly goodness, paid, and walked outside in the stale heat of the Mississippi summer; with Mackenzie chatting non-stop about the fashion show she wanted to do when we got home. I smiled, and realized it was one of the only times that I was grateful to still feel the intensity of summer.