Friday, February 6, 2009

Older is so....old. Can we just say "Mature"

Missy at It’s Almost Naptime did a call-out to “older moms.” Actually, she said moms with older kids, not older moms, so I guess I'm being just a little bit sensitive about this whole 47 years old thing. I’m older (than she is), I’m a mom…of 3.75 teenagers (baby turns 13 in about 4 months) so, I’m thinking that qualifies. I participated in her letter to oneself at age 20, and had so much fun doing it, I thought I’d participate, even though I wasn’t specifically tagged, I would jump on the wagon, so to speak. (so, I guess I got a little carried away with linkage).

Dear Pam,

Well, here you are. It’s 1996. You’re almost 35 and you have 4 kids, ages 5 and under. I know you’re thinking “What was I thinking?!?” I know that because I am future you in 2009 and want to let you in on a few things that I wish I’d known back then….(you’ll understand this who time flash thing when you get here and get hooked on a TV show called LOST).

You will eventually sleep. Without having someone besides Ted in bed beside you. Through the night, even. But hold on, because when Tyler gets a job and starts closing for Chick-fil-A, you won’t be able to go to bed and really sleep until after you hear him come in. I know…he’s 18 in 2009. A man, by the standards of the world. But he will always, always be your baby. And mommas don’t sleep well unless they know their babies are safe. Start praying now. Give it over to God. Worry isn’t going to add one day to your life.

Just say no to carpet. It's ok to have tile in every single room in your house. Caleb is going to have asthma. Spills happen. So does pee, poo, vomit and even play doh and this evil thing that your daughter will bring home from school called oobleck. Tank the carpet, take my word for it. Invest in some nice Dearfoams, and you'll be a better woman for it.

No matter what the blue-haired ladies say, it really DOES get easier. At least physically it does. You will be heart-sore from joys and trials from here on out. But sleep, and kids having the ability to buckle themselves, wipe themselves and pour their own milk will make the toll on your body and mind a little less costly. You’ll stop second-guessing yourself at every turn. Your life will become more than poop, pee and arguments over who gets to use the yellow sipper cup. And believe it or not, all four of them will make it to teenage years without you killing off even one of them!

Stay connected. Find other women you have something in common with and do things…with and without your kids. Keep up with the babysitting coop, but do something that isn’t kid centered, just for you. You’ll be a better mom for it. Never say ‘no’ when Ted comes home and says “Mommy Maintenance time.” Just GO!! Get out for an hour, and don’t feel guilty for indulging in that. He’s a better daddy for that, too. Remember that when daddies take care of their kids without mommies being there it isn’t called ‘babysitting.’ It’s called parenting. Don’t feel guilty about not being led to homeschool. It’s just not for everybody and you wouldn’t be a good fit there. One thing tho’…your baby Tanner will be 5 in June of 2001..I know you are desperate to get him to school 5 days a week, but trust me. You should hold him back a year and let him be an older kindergartner rather than a younger one. I already know that you didn’t do that. That’s one of the few regrets you’ll have.

Learn to say no to other people a little more forcefully. God has given you a gift of administration, and I promise you’ll be able to use it to its full potential in a few years. But slow down now. You don’t have to save the world. Jesus already did that.

That sabbatical that you wanted to take when Caleb was a year old? The one they wouldn’t give you, so you decided to quit and stay home full time? Best thing that could’ve ever happened to you. I know you were a little bit bitter about it. But you will never, not for one minute, be sorry that you gave up a career for your kids. Your kids are your career. You already know Goodnight Moon and Are You My Mother? By heart. You’ll learn even more….

I know lots of other moms are writing letters like this, so I just want to leave you with one more thought. Don’t blink. This is over before you realize it. Your breath will be taken away. Every single age that your children are will be your favorite age yet….

Love yourself, because God does!


Amy, almost 3, Caleb age 4, Tanner 3 mos, Tyler age 6...1st day of school 1996.....


2004: Tyler is 13, Caleb 11, Amy almost 10 and Tanner 8 ....


2006: (In all defense, I've lost about 25 lbs since this picture was taken....and everybody but Tanner is as tall or taller than me now....sigh) Caleb was 13, Tanner 10, Amy almost 12 and Tyler 15...and now the couple who were married the day this was taken are expecting their 2nd baby....time stands still for no one.

OK, I'm getting a little welly now as Missy would say. I'm going to stop. But run over to check out Missy's blog...and bring tissues.


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Loved this! You are spot on in your retrospective. It does happen in the blinking of an eye--everything changes, but it's not over. Thanks for sharing.

Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

This is the letter I needed today. Not the part about the carpet. I happen to love carpet...but the rest of it. Especially the part that it gets easier. I cannot tell you how many times I hear it gets "harder" and I think, "Dear God, how can it get harder than this?"

And the blink thing at the end. Wow.

Thank you.


Chatty Kelly said...

These posts are making me feel so emotional! (and old!) I am 40, but I have a 4 yr old. So I am an older mom, but with younger kids. *sigh*

(but my husband is 64! So he is really an older dad with younger kids.)

Julie said...

Great post. I have 3 teenagers, an adult daughter and then one on the horizon of becoming a teenager....

Busy days, but full of these gifts called children.

I cam from Missy's blog. It's my first time here.
It's nice to meet you!

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

Great letter! Love the LOST reference. Blink one more time and there will be grandbabies - that is my "favorite age"!

Dena said...

Great post! All 3 of my kids have asthma, so we have tile or wood floors throughout too. It's true when you say that they will always be babies in your eyes.

Colored With Memories said...

"Remember that when daddies take care of their kids without mommies being there it isn’t called ‘babysitting.’" that!

and i love the "blink" photos...thanks for encouraging us "younger mommies"!

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

I love the part about learning to say no and staying connected with other women. Figuring out both of these has been a lifesaver to me as I learned how to transition from career girl to stay at home mom of my two precious kids!!

I love LOST too :-)

Lindsey @ A New Life

Edie said...

Aww, what a beautiful letter. I enjoyed the advice about the carpet too. LOL!

You have a beautiful family!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Loved this Pam!! Thank you so much for participating!

Oh, that Blink thing is gonna stick with me - I hope...

lisasmith said...

Love this...I'm weeping!!! I also needed to hear I won't kill anyone before they are all teenagers!!! I have one I've been wondering about lately. Thanks for the encouragement. My four are 3-9.

SanDe said...

Same season for me. I have been hunting though photos for my daughters 18th. Seems impossible that I have adults now but bizare too as I still have babies down the house damage end of life too. Really messes with my mind