It is completely quiet in my house. For the first time in over 16 years, there is no child here in my care. I mean, there have been days, hours that they were out for a while, but this is different. Tristan went to school today. Honestly, even as I cry, I think, "you are such a drama queen. FOUR hours. You're crying about leaving your four year old for FOUR HOURS." And in part, I'm right. But I'm also right to take a minute.
Years ago, when each baby took that first wobbly step, I celebrated. It's all captured on camera, with my ecstatic voice cheering them on and ruining the video. "Go!" we cheer, "walk to Daddy! walk to the couch! come back to me!" You don't realize that first step is the beginning of their OWN journey. And every milestone, you have to wait a little longer for the "come back to me" part.
It's a continual release against my own nature. "Go!" I say, while my heart is begging them to stay.
I knew today would be hard, because it's the beginning of a new chapter, which means it's the end of a chapter. The long mornings of diapers and Sesame Street and Cheerios have been over for a while, but today I am watching that door close behind me, with new doors opening everywhere. And the new world is brave and exciting and so different, for me and for them. But part of me is just dying to go back, to go back to the exhaustion of nursing them at 2 in the morning, the walks down the sidewalk with constant interruptions because they saw a a bug. "wait," I'm saying, "wait, I didn't know that part was really over, wait... wait, I need you to need me."
Tomorrow I will be better, I will be learning to embrace the change and celebrating all the NEW normal and victories. But I am letting myself cry today. Because change is hard,and letting go is not easy. And if I let myself sit here in the silence and feel this, I will be a better person in four hours.
It's a strategy I have for sadness, I make room for it. Because we feel deeply about things we love, and that's good.
So, okay, new chapter. Imma cry for a minute and then let's find the fun.