Last week, I closed a door. After being a mom for ten years, I have officially graduated from MOPS.
Well, not officially. Technically, I could stay in for two more years until Nathan finishes kindergarten. But not-so-technically, I was done – oh, about six months ago.
I love MOPS. No, really – I loooooove MOPS. When Meghan was two and Griffin was a newborn and we lived in Iowa, our church there had a MOPS-like group, and it was a lifeline for me. I’d leave one meeting and couldn’t wait for the next one, two weeks later. I had a place where I could escape. I had a place to sit and eat and talk with other moms – uninterrupted – for two whole, blessed hours. I commiserated with them over solid foods, potty training, temper tantrums, transitioning to big-girl beds, and all the other life-and-death issues that come with being a new mom. These ladies were my angel-friends, God with skin.
After we moved and Nathan was born, I joined a MOPS group here, and even though I was slightly more seasoned in the toddler department, MOPS provided the friendships and community that I so longingly craved. It was here that I didn’t realize how lonely I had been until I wasn’t lonely anymore.
Fast forward a few years. Meghan is now ten, Griffin is seven, and Nathan is four. I have great friends. Three days out of each week, I am completely kidless and have time to do all the things that are so much easier – and more enjoyable – to do alone. I have my time away from my beloved kiddos built into each week. And I have outgrown my need for preschooler advice. I kinda have this thing down. Been there, done that. Got more than one t-shirt.
I am so thankful for my years with these precious ladies. So thankful. I wouldn’t be the amazing mom (ahem) that I am without them.
But I sensed last fall that my time in this particular season was coming to a close. That sense was confirmed in the spring when I listened to a local police officer talk for thirty minutes about installing infant carseats. (Wanted to gouge out my eyeballs with a spoon, to be perfectly honest, but I didn’t think my ophthalmologist husband would appreciate that.) Later in the semester, I listened to a lady talk about teaching your toddler to clean using non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products – which was interesting – but then she launched into an impassioned oratory about Biblical homeschooling. I leaned over to my friend and asked her if this lady had any cleaning products that would remove blood from the carpet and walls, because if I homeschooled my children, I would need it. In bulk.
(I have no issues at all with homeschooling. It’s great. But it’s so not for me for so many reasons.)
I tend to tune-out impassioned, one-sided opinions. Especially when they conflict with my own impassioned, one-sided opinions. (Hello, Pot. I’d like to introduce you to Kettle.)
Where was I? MOPS. Right.
So last Friday I went to my last MOPS meeting ever. So long, MOPS. You’ve been good to me.
Three days later, I went to 5th grade parent orientation. Our school district groups its 5th and 6th graders in an intermediate school – a very large, intimidating intermediate school. OK, not so large – but still intimidating. It looks like a miniature high school with its high, two-story intimidating entry hall and lockers with built-in combination locks. I was walking up to the building reassuring myself, It’s just 5th grade. It’s just 5th grade. Settle down.
But as I sat through this meeting, listening to the principal talk about homework and lockers and dress codes, I had this unnerving sense of déjà vu. Was I not just yesterday going to kindergarten orientation with my curly-haired, baby-faced, precocious five-year old baby girl? How in the world did I get here?
So, it seems, the seasons are changing. My kids are getting older. I’m getting older. We’re all transitioning into new phases, new experiences, new issues that I’m convinced will someday require a boatload of therapy. We’re growing up. We’re moving on.
It’s not a bad thing. Just new. And different. The seasons pass so quickly, and I’m trying to enjoy all the newness of our new season and all its challenges. Intermediate school. Eeesh. Seven year old boys. Aaack. And Nathan. Yikes.
Nathan is four and is knee-deep in all the fourness of being four, but honestly, the third time around isn’t so bad. Other than his being my only child who is constantly testing the limits and seeing how much he can get away with and conveniently ignoring us. We’re dealing with that in our own exhausted, oh-please-just-get-over-it-already kind of way.
But in ten years of mommyhood, I’m finally learning to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Facing the challenges. Taking a seat on the chaise lounge of motherhood. Chilling. Enjoying. Observing. Breathing.
‘Cause this new season will be closing before I know it.