Well, it's official. I am now the mother of an adult. My oldest son, M, turned 18 today. I know it is cliche to say this - but I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! It really does seem like it wasn't that long ago, that we were waiting for him to be born.
I would come from work, and decorate his room, and fold his clothes, and mark another day off on my hundred day countdown chart, while waiting for my guess date to appear. Finally we got to the guess date week! My husband had been working a bunch of overtime that week, as they were doing inventory, and he had put in about 60-65 hours. His sister and a mutual friend, had come over to keep my company for the night, and while they were there, I started having this 'feeling' that it wouldn't be long.
I went into labor that night, headed to the hospital the next morning, and M was born at 1:00pm. Now, I am celebrating his 18th birthday already?? We have watched him take his first steps, learn how to ride a bike, and all of the other milestones that occur along the way. Why did they seem to take so long to get to - yet now, they appear to have happened all at once?
Now, he has graduated, been accepted into a university, and is working to pay for both his schooling, as well as a two year mission he will leave next fall for. He will continue to live at home for the next year - but after that he will be out on his own. It is a weird feeling to know that very shortly, your family will not all be living together anymore. For 18 years, we have all been together. We have continued to add to our family throughout all these years, as well as homeschool - so our house is always bustling with activities. Even though the older kids, starting hitting their teen years - we have mostly been a family with a large number of small children.
This identity has been slowly changing, and it finally dawned on me the other day. Whereas we used to have 3 children under five, this winter we will be down to one child under five. While we still have very young children, we also have two much older children, and three middle children. Our family dynamic is slowly shifting from days spent chasing after toddlers, to days spent doing Algebra, teaching driving, and getting ready for dances.
While I miss the days, that they were all little, and we just stayed at home and played and learned together - I also enjoy watching them grow up into young men and young women. Realizing how fast they grow up, has allowed me to enjoy my younger children in a way that I never did with my older ones. It has also given me new perspective on what things are important to focus on while they are little, and what things not to bother with. Having the younger ones around, gives the older ones a chance to still 'play', and encourages them to be good examples, and to help out with them. Some of the best moments I have as a parent, are those spent watching my older children, spending time reading, listening to, or teaching the younger kids.
I know as the years go on, this dynamic will change too, and eventually, we will be a family of all older children - but as I am learning - we need to enjoy today - as it will soon be yesterday.