In the last couple of months, we've logged a lot of miles.
Well, milestones, really.
A sweet 16 birthday.
A 5k race.
A last day of preschool.
A new driver's permit.
A last day of elementary school.
An 18th birthday.
One last day of school together.
And a high school graduation.
That doesn't even begin to cover all of the everyday stuff.
To be quite honest, I'm a wimp.
This stuff...all good stuff...has been hard on this mom's heart.
It's just that life goes so much faster than it used to.
I've taken about 74,382 pictures along the way.
Trying to capture as much of the view as I can.
You know, like on the trip of lifetime?
You find yourself snapping photos of the most benign things.
Afraid you'll miss something.
I'll admit I've taken pictures at the dentist's office and the library. Most of the time, my kids don't even bother to complain anymore. They know they'll only get the "when-you-grow up-don't-even-try-to-tell-your-therapist-your-mother-didn't-care" speech. Really, it's impossible to completely capture all the sweetness and angst and humor.
And it happens anyway.
Those doggoned kids grow up.
There were days when I truly thought I might never be a mom. I cried myself to sleep more nights than I care to remember. Ironically, I sometimes cry myself to sleep now because I feel like such a flop at this privilege of being a mom...this thing I thought looked so easy from the outside looking in.
And the hardest part? It's not the sleepless nights or the laundry that breeds or the messy house or carpooling or the last-minute homework projects or the perpetual dirty dishes or the cleaning up the remains of dinner revisited...if you know what I mean. Running a close second would be watching your kids hurt...not physically, but emotionally. The world can be a very mean place. But the hardest part of being a mom? Letting go. And it turns out, I'm not very good at that part, either.
A new journey will soon start for my oldest. In just a few short weeks, we'll pack her up and take her to college. It's not far away, and I know she'll be home often. She won't miss a birthday or holiday, if she can help it. She'll join us for family vacations. But I'm also painfully aware that our family will never quite be the same. There will be fewer and fewer nights where all my kids are safely tucked in bed under one roof. And, little by little, her own journey will begin.
It will be all I can do not to sneak into her luggage.