I’ve had to take a milestone with Charlotte this year. She started kindergarten. And while it’s true that she has been in preschool in years past, this is a whole new arena for us. Not only is it at a much larger campus, but now all five days a week and for the majority of the day. I’m use to having her with us. And I know it sounds absurd, seeing as how I pick her up every afternoon, but I truly miss her.
She is a bright light. She just has this energy that she carries with her. And oh my word, y’all. She is so dang funny! She spits out one-liners like no ones business. Her wit is charming and her personality contagious. She’s just one of those people, that other people gravitate towards. Her energy is infectious, and she is kind beyond words. She has grown into all of these amazing things in just five short years. Grown. She grew.
When she was a baby, I remember being in such awe of what God gifted us two idiots. We certainly weren’t exceptional. I can assure you that we did not have one, single, monetary clue what we were doing. (Bigger shocker… we still don’t.) But I grew over that time, into someone I didn’t even know. Someone I didn’t even recognize as myself. Even when I was unsure if I was using the right rash cream, or sleep schedule, or baby food… I somehow had such confidence that what I was doing for Charlotte was right. That “mothers intuition” somehow transformed me into confident, and steady, and much, much softer.
For the majority of my life, I was the quintessential “sassy one”. I was loyal to a fault, stand up for the weak, put someone in their place, absolutely raise my voice for injustice, and for those who were afraid to speak for themselves… and also, for the ones who were not. Some people could fight their own battles, but I insisted I “help” due to “loyalty”, and “principle”, and a lot of words that people with a chip on their shoulder like to use when they don’t want to admit that they just need to stand up for someone, because they never stood up for themselves. Not really.
When I became a mother though, I lost that person. My quick fuse, and hard pressed opinions, somehow shifted, changed, and molded into someone different. My own set of “mom fails” most certainly gave me a larger “grace space” for others.
When our kids leave the nest, and head on to the start of their very own lives; Not the lives that we have done our best to mold for them, but their own actual lives…. They will decide who to love, and who to leave; Where to go to college, or not; Where they will decide to let God lead them, or the world. These are all things they will decide for themselves, because these are the same things that we had to decide for ourselves. And once they move to the next phase of their adult lives, the will remake decisions for their lives all over again, and again, and again. They will evolve, continuously changing to the newer, more steady versions of themselves with each new chapter. As did we.
I can’t decide if letting Charlotte move forward, is hard because (1)Watching your babies grow is just a sham. Time is a thief. She should be in a bassinet by my bed and still small enough to rest her whole body in my arms. Instead, shes five years old, her feet are as big as skis, and they refuse to stay in a steady shoe size for more than two months. Honest to goodness, I’m asking you all now. (I’ve already pleaded this with all of my “lifers”), but if for some reason I meet Jesus much earlier than I intend…please, have mercy on my soul- and my daughter’s, and go ahead and let her know that a “peep-toe” heel for prom is not the route for her. Say it with love, say it tenderly, but for the love of the land… say it.
Or (2) maybe it’s because with her coming into the world, I evolved so drastically. Maybe it’s because letting her go, also means that I will undoubtedly let go of a little bit of this version of myself that I have become so accustomed to. The biggest difference between B.C. (Before Charlotte) and A.D. (After Dialation) Hannah, is that at least with this version of myself, I know who she is.
**Wait, was that too far? A.D...Was that too much? Have I crossed a line? 😬**
🤷🏼♀️But my point being; I couldn’t have answered that question before. I couldn’t have told you who I was before motherhood, or in the very least… I probably wouldn’t have answered you honestly.
Or (3) it may be because I walk in a completely different space than I use to. This one allows much more room for Jesus to walk alongside me. I knew I didn’t have a clue when it came to motherhood. There’s no way to train to be a good mom, but because I was raised in church, I knew my children needed to be involved in church. Charlotte coming along, fueled our fire for a church home, and then we stumbled across this miraculous thing. When we all of a sudden opened our schedules and agendas to Jesus… HE SHOWED UP. (Mind blowing stuff, I know.) He changed the way I saw, and the way I reacted, and the way I spoke, and the way I live my everyday. He just shook everything. I’m not the same.
Or more likely than not; It’s all of those. I like this version much more than my former self. She’s older and more mature. A little less vain. A little slower to react. Most certainly, much more tender. I still have that same fighting spirit. I mean, mess with my household, My kids, my husband… and I will fight tooth and nail and without reserve or hesitation. The only difference is now, I might cry after I do… Which is only a “new Hannah” trait. 😂 But I will still stand firm for my people.
After that, things fall off in appropriate priority, descending as they go down the list. I will no longer rip the hateful cashier a new one because she is unjustly rude to me. I will probably smile, and say a prayer. I’ll pray for me that I will not be ugly in return and then also, that for whatever reason her day is bad, that it will turn around and God will richly bless her. And then I may call her something like, “mcscrooge”, or “pouty pants” or something of the like, under my breath. 🤣 Yes, it’s a pretty fair statement that my potty mouth game has hugely downgraded to just above Mr. Rogers level. I blame Sophia the First and PJ Masks. But never the less. Here I am. It’s not that I won’t say anything, it’s just that my words will probably land much lighter than they use to. There’s this crazy thing that I’ve learned that we can do with the words that come out of our lip smackers…. We can actually choose them. I told you.. mind blowing stuff here. 🤯
People talk all the time about “losing themselves” in this phase of life, but I can’t be more grateful for whatever parts of me I shook off. It’s like this beautiful season we are about to start. Just like Autumn. We shed our old, our outdated foliage that no longer serve us in this season, and then bloom out later with new branches that make us so much fuller the following year. Maybe that’s why Fall is my favorite season. Well, that and college football. (GO TIGERS!)
My sweet daughters; The beautiful thing about letting them go, is seeing what even better versions of themselves that they will grow into. I will soak up every season with them, well… maybe not every season. I might want to rush through that horrible, awkward, hormonal, pubescent, middle school stage as quickly as possible. Or at least that’s what I hear from my “middle school moms”. (Stay strong, you warrior women. I am with you in spirit and love.) But the strides that we take with each phase of life can by far, only get richer in seeing it in our kids. It makes letting go so much easier when you are rooting them on, and cheering them into the next phase. So let’s let them go, and see where they take us. We’ll be pushing forward too! ❤