Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm being outgrown ...

When my kids were small, they loved blankets. The softer, the better. The bigger, the better. They loved to wrap themselves up in them like little caterpillars in cocoons. They wanted to take them wherever they went too. They'd drag them up and down stairs and all through the house and beg to take them with us in the car. 

Often their favorites were the ones they'd started using as infants in their cribs. 
At one time, their tiny baby body was just a bitty bump under the enormous blanket. Gradually they grew into it, though, taking up more space beneath it. Gradually they realized that staying wrapped up in a blanket grew hot and restrictive and kept you from going outside too. Gradually they realized that carrying around a blanket (that was usually pretty tattered and torn by years of use) wasn't the coolest look either. So the blankets got less and less use over time.

I've been feeling pretty much like those blankets lately.

I've been a stay-at-home-mom to four kids for 24 years and still counting. 
My youngest will become a teenager next year, the next is nearly half-way through high school, the next just started college this year, and the oldest is out of college making a life on his own out of state. I feel privileged to have stayed home with them all these years. I feel blessed to have witnessed so many wonderful moments with each of them. I feel very grateful to my husband whose career and work ethic made it all possible for us. When I was in the midst of the busy childcare days of diapers and tantrums, snack time and nap time, play dates and preschool, soccer practice and dance lessons, I knew my job description and performed it well (most days). I never thought much about it coming to an end or even changing to a lesser role. 

Now, however, I'm starting to see it.

The fact is my kids need me less often and in a different capacity than when they were small. They need less of my time and more of my heart. They need me to be less visible but always available. They've outgrown me just as they outgrew those blankets. I surrounded them just like a blanket with comfort and security and love when they were small. The bigger they grew -- no matter how hard either of us tried to stretch it -- the blanket only covered so much. The more independent they now become, the less my help and guidance can be stretched to meet all their needs. At some point, they each have to break free of the blankets wrapped around them and go out in the world to play.

So, am I sad about this transition? Sometimes, but not always. Those blankets now outgrown are cherished treasures! And ... just as even a small blanket can be pulled out now and then for warmth and comfort, so can a mom -- no matter how big the child gets.

Such is the saga of the career stay-at-home-mom.
If you do it right, eventually you work your way out of the job.


Michelle said...

Oh my gosh Jill. I love this post! So heartfelt and warm and has opened my eyes to see how my life as a Mom has also changed and grown over the years. It's nice to be considered a "cherished treasure". I like that! <3

Amy Biegelmann said...

This is such a wonderful sentiment. When we think about people living in areas where they have very little, the blanket can be used for warmth, housing, carrying many things. Such a good analogy to many purposes. I think that while our children may have outgrown some of the old blankets, they just may be ready for a new and slightly different blanket. Thanks for sharing this with me today!!