You Might See Me Crying



It started with preschool. A welcome relief in the 24/7 stage of mothering. Just two hours, two days a week. There was nervousness mixed with a twinge of sadness shaken off by the end of the first day of freedom.

Then came kindergarten. This felt more monumental and I did feel as though there should be some sympathy cards in my mailbox. But the wistful emotions passed as I saw her learn to read and write and interact with the world in new ways.

Elementary graduation felt even bigger. Heading off to middle school seemed scary and it made me feel old. Now she would be more independent and I would know less about her day to day life.

Middle school is a turbulent time and I don't think anyone looks back on those years with nostalgia. I welcomed the new freedoms available to her in high school. Plus no matter how many times I heard it would go fast, four years felt far enough away.

This month she graduates. The four years are over. She's grown up and getting ready for college. And whew...out of nowhere last night, the emotions really started to hit me.

I was addressing graduation announcements and they were my undoing. Tears started to come. A sense of the overwhelming passage of time flooded my body. I'm happy for her and know this is a natural step, but it does not make it any easier.

This is one of those times in life that is both happy and piercing.

I've watched friends go through this over the past few years. I've observed, murmured my "understanding", and walked away thankful I wasn't there yet. I could see they were hurting even while they cheered their child on to the next step.

Now it's my turn to feel pain mixed in with the joy and pride. This is the baby that completely changed my world and captured my heart. The daughter I've seen grow and develop into an adult. Now she doesn't need me the way she once did and I wonder what my role will be in her life and how our relationship will change.

Graduation. It doesn't matter how exciting their future plans or how much you know they're ready for the next step. The heart doesn't care how many arguments you've had, or how many times you've run into teenage attitude. When it comes down to it, there is a rush of sadness.

I'm trying to remember that all of our past transitions have moved into stages that were even better than the one we left. I wouldn't really wish them not to have happened. It's just hard when I haven't experienced it. I don't know if I'll come out okay on the other side yet.

So if you see me crying as I drive or wiping tears away in Target, just know that it's graduation month and my heart is too full to hold them in.


48 comments:

  1. This was me last year at this time when my oldest graduated. I was so excited for him but so sad for me! You will be okay on the other side. Just remember that it's okay to feel sad. I felt so guilty last year that I pushed all the feelings away and got pretty down about it. Once I talked to other moms I realized it was normal. By the way, congratulations :)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Lana! I think knowing that you're not the only one feeling that way really does help!

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  2. What a sweet post! I'm far away from where you are, my oldest is just finishing up his first year of kindergarten. But I know it's going to go by much too quickly. This year has seemed to fly by. Why can't we just slow it down? My youngest was toddling around the house tonight and I was so proud of her walking because she's sixteen months and we've been trying and trying to get her to do it and as I watched her and clapped I thought, "Why am I trying so hard to get her to walk when that just means she's one step closer to leaving me?" and I almost cried. This was wonderful. Visiting from the Turn it up Tuesday link :)

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    1. Thanks Leilani! I appreciate you visiting here. Sounds like you have a sweet family. Congratulations on your new walker! :)

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  3. What a wonderful heart-wrenching post. My eldest is 9 and is due to go to High School next September, a big step. I hope the tears are short lived and you'll move on to the happiness of a new stage soon. xx

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    1. Thanks, Morgan! Sounds like you have a big transition ahead, too!

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  4. I can only imagine how you must feel tears and pride. My twins are still in elementary but I know someday I'll be crying too. #magicmoments

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    1. For sure! And I'll be right there with my elementary school twins, too. At least we have several years until then! :)

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  5. Hey Marie,

    Wow, I will be here this time next year.... Right now I could happily let her go to college... Teen drama! After reading this I realize how little time I have left with her, sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes not...... Thanks for reminding me, although today I could pack her bags for her :) Great thoughts!!!!

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    1. Those moments sound familiar! In the end, they don't matter though because you still miss them. Hope your day got better! :)

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  6. Oh, I can imagine how bittersweet this is. Like you, I have always enjoyed each new stage (although my oldest is just coming up for eight!), but it is tough to leave the previous stage behind. I think I am finding it hardest with my youngest as it is the 'last' time I will experience these shifts. Lovely post x #AllAboutYou

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    1. Thanks, Sara! It is hard experiencing those "lasts" with the youngest!

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  7. I know exactly what you mean. With your first child every stage is monumental and bittersweet. I hate that end of an era feeling and it's hard to accept that our little ones are growing up and don't need us so much anymore. My eldest is ten and she has one more year to go before moving on to high school. I will be feeling that exact same way that you do now, when it comes around to the day that she leaves.

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    1. New stages bring so many emotions! I think we all just want to still be needed! :)

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  8. Beautifully said. This post brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for keeping it real.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! And thanks for supporting me in all my crazy! :)

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  9. It is so tough seeing then getting bigger isn't and wanting to halt time. I hope the next stage is just as brilliant for you x

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  10. Such a sweet post. You are so right - does anyone look back at the middle school days with nostalgia? :) I'm dreading sending my little man to school. And with the college years still fresh to me, I can assure you that your daughter will still need you! She'll never stop needing you and learning from you.

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  11. Oh my - I'm so not ready for this stage. Knowing that Abby is starting high school in the fall gives me a stomach ache and I feel the clock ticking already. 4 years. I've watched your 4 years fly by and I want to cry for you and for my Abby. Like you, I try to celebrate each stage and they've all been so enjoyable, especially now that I can joke and relate with Abby on a much more mature level. However, she still has so many lessons to learn and things I feel compelled to teach her and those things get harder and harder. The risks are greater and greater too. Nothing is simple anymore, the ramifications of things are life long. I feel more engaged in mothering her at this age than ever before. Thank you for posting. I'm praying for her and you as time just keeps moving forward.

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    1. Thanks, Mindy! I appreciate your prayers and wish you were here so we could go for a nice long walk! You and Abby have a great four years ahead of you and I know you're going to be mothering her with flying colors! :)

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    2. I was thinking the same thing about the walk! Could really use to evaluate things in life right now with you! :-)

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  12. I just cried my eyes out for you. My two are still very young at 2 1/2 years old and 10 months and yet I fear this time so badly already. My tot starts school next year in the UK and I am so devastated that its at such a younger age than we do in the states. I am not ready for it. And then I read this post, I feel for you and how you have gone through each stage and it's been sad at that milestone. I think life goes way too fast and the kids grow up far quicker than I ever expected it. Scares me almost like I might blink and miss pieces of it. As a kid this is the happiest time for them getting independence and learning how to live their own life and what paths they will choose. As a parent we fear worry and hope they will choose the right ones and be ok. They will be ok. We did it. Just remind yourself how you felt at this age and what you thought. Might help you be excited for the next great adventure for your not so little one. Either way you are not alone I think we all feel this way at each milestone. What a lovely post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. It's great to hear things like graduation and target (american terms) as most of my followers are from the UK. (Being an american living in the uk there isn't many of us here lol ) #sharewithme Hope to see you again soon.

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    1. Thanks for your encouraging words, Jenny! It's good to know I'm not alone in feeling emotional at the transitions. Also, I'd love to read a blog post on what it's been like for you living away from home!

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  13. I just went through this last year and it is HARD! You're so right, you watch friends go through it and you try to understand, but I'll be honest, I was a bit "meh" when I watched them struggle ... now I completely get it. Hard stuff!

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    1. Thanks, Naomi! Congratulations on making it through the first year! :)

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  14. As a mom and a teacher, there have been many of these moments in my life. Thanks for sharing it on the Thursday Blog Hop!!

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  15. Oh my gosh, you've made me shed a few tears. And my boys are only 9 and 7! I still have a few years to go, but I know it will fly by :) Thanks for linking up to Be. YOU. tiful link party. Hugs.

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  16. Oh my gosh, my first and only is starting preschool in the fall, and sometimes I cry just thinking about it!

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  17. I am stopping by from Kelly's Korner. Oh my! I have 4 kiddos. Last night my middle daughter graduated from preschool. My son graduates from elementary school in a couple of weeks. Your post made me cry. Why must they grow up so fast?

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    1. What an emotional time for you, Tracy! Lots of great things ahead though. :) Thanks for taking the time to visit me here. I appreciate it!

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  18. This is beautiful! My son is not quite 2 and I can already imagine the pain you are experiencing. I want to be his whole world forever. :-\

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  19. I had tears reading this and my boys are just 7 and 10. It really does go to fast and your post is a great reminder to cherish every moment! Happy Mother's Day to you! Visiting from Our Sunday Best.
    -Shelley

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  20. My heart goes out to you - I am so very far away from this still, but my mother always told me that when you have children you are preparing them to leave you, and since having my own the thought of it is like a physical pain. Well done you for getting them to this amazing stage, and for preparing them and being there for them - it is bitter sweet, as parents we are the bows from which our children as our arrows fly (not my words! From Khalil Gibran). Wishing you strength and happiness and a very happy Mothers' Day too.

    Thanks so much for linking to #AllAboutYou - hope to see you there again on Tuesday!

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  21. What a beautiful post, tears in my eyes that would be tumbling down my cheeks if I weren't sat at the side of my daughter's drama group session. M starts school in September, so we're still early on with the milestones, but the distant ones like graduation already cross my mind. Have a peaceful month and thanks so much for linking up to #AllAboutYou

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  22. I love your picture. It really is a bittersweet thing to experience isn't it? The grieving for the passing of each stage and phase, but I'm glad to read that you also feel that each phase brought with it new and better things - especially reading from the point of view of someone with pre-school children only right now - I've got all this to come too! #magicmoments

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  23. Awww... My son is way far from graduation! I still have a long way to go. Your post is bittersweet mostly sweet! Congrats =) #magicmoments

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  24. Oh I'm totally there with you.I'm smiling and cheering them on - but inside it's killing me. Not looking forward to helping him move to Uni. Lovely post.

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  25. Thank you for your post. I just watched my last kid drive my last mini van to her last day of High School. Her graduation is in ten days and her older brother graduated from college two weeks ago. (Our oldest finished college two years ago and is home again, so I am not a true empty nester just yet!)
    The thing is, I was a really good mom. And I'm not ready to no longer be a mom on a day to day basis. I know that I am still their mother. I also know that I turned out three great young adults.
    So, now what am I supposed to do??

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    1. Oh, I feel for you! I'm sure this is an emotional time for you. I definitely can relate to you not being ready to not be a mom on a day to day basis. I think that has to be the hardest part, at least at first. I'd love for you to check back in and let me know how it ends up working out! I'm always encouraged when others tell me how they did it! :)

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  26. Hi - I am a new reader but I had to write… You will never know what your words here mean to me:

    "I'm trying to remember that all of our past transitions have moved into stages that were even better than the one we left. I wouldn't really wish them not to have happened. It's just hard when I haven't experienced it. I don't know if I'll come out okay on the other side yet."

    Seriously… that was a God-send to me. Thank you. I've never heard someone articulate it so clearly - that each stage is better than the one you left. What hope! I've grieved the passing of babyhood, toddlerhood, etc. because as most moms, I want to keep my children so close. But, I am blessed to know my children better each day…the friendship is only deepening.

    When I read about your daughter, I thought of my Mom. I'm in my 30s and my Mom is one of my very best friends. I don't think I would have said that in high school : ) So I think you and your daughter will only get closer! (But you deserve some good cries! What a huge transition!)

    Thank you for sharing your heart!
    ~julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie! Love what you said about your mom. I do hope my daughter will say the same thing about me someday!

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  27. Wow! I can't even begin to imagine my reaction in the next 17 years. I assume it'll be similar. It's helpful to know that I wouldn't be in the minority :)

    Congrats for your child and yourself! :mama hugs:

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  28. Oh my goodness this is a glimps into my future. School starts up again here soon, and I'm sending one more to kindergarten. this leaves only ONE of the six home with me... my oldest is in 6th grade. These little letting-gos, like school and summer camp, seem like practice for the bigger ones. I know there is no way to prepare, not in the sense that I'll figure out some way to NOT be sad! Motherhood is such a mix of joy and grief! And for what it's worth, it's totally OK to feel both!

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    1. It's a mix of emotions, that's for sure! Definitely helps to admit them and talk about them though. Just writing this post was really cathartic for me!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you!