Last night at approximately 12:14 am, I came to a realization. I'm not "mommy" anymore. I am just mom. Let me explain--bear with me.
I grew up in the Midwest (Cincinnati, Ohio). I was used to cold (very cold) winters and hot, humid summers (we had no air conditioning so I would appreciate a good rain to cool things down). In 1997, we packed up our kids and moved to Salt Lake City. I remember how dry it was. No more humidity. My hair would actually hold a curl. Then when our first winter rolled around, I remember it snowing 11 inches. Snow day! Nope. It's business as usual. An inch of snow in the Cincinnati area would pretty much cripple the commute and schools were closed or delayed. The summers are hot and dry, but bearable. It would rain, but nothing like what we were used to in Ohio. Then in 2003, we packed up our family and moved to Tampa--the lightening capital of the world. Afternoon thunderstorms are pretty common. The lightening is incredible. But, what amazed me the most was how it could pour over our house, and be sunny just down the road. The kids would come running to me in a storm because they were scared. Hurricanes became my biggest fear. Our second summer here, there was Hurricanes Charlie, Jeanne, and others. I began to loathe the weather here. I began to be afraid of storms. Something which I never was. But, I can't show fear in front of the kids. I am their protector!
So, last night at 12:14, a thunderstorm rolled in. It was so loud. I jumped out of bed. It was pouring rain and the lightening was right above us. As I lay there wondering if the pool was going to overflow (yep, it's done it before), if the lightening was going to fry my computer router (which it did twice recently) or if the basketball hoop would fall over onto one of the cars (which it has). I kept waiting to hear the pitter patter of feet running across the tile floor and feeling a seven year old jump into our bed and say "he was scared". That moment never came. It was a first. I laid there forcing myself to stay awake just in case. Still no sign or sound of Mark. As I lay there, it dawned on me. He's not coming. He doesn't need mommy to assure him that the storm is outside. That it will just blow over. He's not my "baby" anymore but a boy. Now, I'm just "mom" Mom who will drive you where you need to go, mom who will give you a few dollars to go out, or mom who will make sure you are fed, your clothes are clean. I miss being "mommy". My little man is Mr. Independent. Someone forgot to tell me that when the kids get older, the feeling that overwhelms you when you aren't "mommy". I'm not ready to give up that title yet. I have four months until Elizabeth graduates high school. Pretty soon, she will go off to college and I will experience the feeling of only have 3 children. I'm not ready. How does one prepare for that?
So, tonight, when Greg and Emily kiss me goodnight and give me a hug (yes, they still do that), I will appreciate it. I will hug a little longer and squeeze a little tighter. When I tuck Mark into bed and turn on his music, I will appreciate it. I will stand there and maybe listen to one of the songs with him, maybe even sing one or two just like the old days.
Anyone who has read this post, I thank you for sticking it out. I didn't mean to ramble on and on. Some of you with older children may know what I am feeling. For those whose kids are still young, keep those hugs coming. For us with older kids, hug them. Hug them tight. They are never too old for hugs and kisses (except in public of course).
Have a great Wednesday. Make it a good one.