In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Straddling the Parenting Spectrum--With My Heart

Late-in-life motherhood caught me unawares.

I was 41. The oh-so-busy mom of three teenagers.

And then I found out I was pregnant.

Since that day--May 2, 2000--I've felt like I'm living life in reverse and fast forward as I straddle the parenting spectrum.

I still recall waving goodbye to my 17-year-old son Josh as he left for college--as I held my six-month-old baby daughter Christa in my arms.

Fast forward.

I remember celebrating my daughter Amy's graduation from high school--knowing that Christa would start kindergarten three months later.

Fast forward.

My daughter Katie Beth moved out on her own--and I sat on my bed with Christa. We both cried.

Fast forward.

Josh fell in love and got married--and Christa escorted him to the front of the decorated gazebo during the outdoor ceremony in Colorado.

Fast forward.

I've experienced all these "growing up" moments with my three older children in the company of my caboose kiddo. Her presence has made the moments all the sweeter--and sometimes all the more poignant.

Like the moment-to-be I'm facing in six days.

My daughter Amy leaves for a 9 month mission trip to Nicaragua.

It's what I call a 'wonderful-horrible' moment.

It's wonderful because I know it's the next right thing for her.

And it's horrible because I can already feel in my heart how much I am going to miss her.

And as I make my way through this moment, I'm holding the hand of my 7-year-old daughter and helping her through the emotions too.

She's going to miss her big sister.

She doesn't want her to go.

I understand. I understand.

And I'm trying to help her understand.

That's part of straddling the parenting spectrum.

It's not just the emotional and physical exhaustion of raising toddlers, teens and twentysomethings all at the same time.

It's living life out loud--loving your family with your whole heart--and holding on to each other through all the moments--wonderful, horrible--and everything in between.



At 6:29 AM, Blogger Patricia said...

I can relate to so much of this Beth. My first similar experience was when I was the mother of the groom with a 4 month old that I needed to quickly nurse before being ushered to my seat. More recently (like Monday), I found myself between my now 17 year old "baby" and one of her older brothers who is with us this week while looking for a job. We've been doing a lot of praying. =) I'll be praying for y'all as well, as you make your way past this 'horrible-wonderful' moment, dear Beth.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger kb said...

thanks for putting into words what we are all feeling...this is going to be amazing and yet be so hard at the same time. love you Mom.



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