This was the year. The year when my firstborn child, my sweet son Dillon, stopped making valentines for his classmates at school. The conversation went something like this:
"Uh, am I doing that this year?"
"I think so," I replied. "I got an email from your teacher saying there were 24 kids in the class—14 girls, 10 boys—and if you send valentines you have to give one to each student. And no special valentines for special someones." She included that last part because puberty is coming. Or, perhaps it's already here.
"Yeah, but it's not mandatory, is it?"
"Oh. Maybe not. Let me check." I sent a group text to some moms.
Me: The 5th grade boy wants to know: Valentines or no valentines?
Boy mom 1: Ha! Same question at our house. I bought some for my son just in case. He asked if he really has to take them out of his backpack.
Boy mom 2: I keep asking my son and he said no to valentines. So we're not doing them this year. (grimace emoji)
Boy mom 3: My son says no.
Girl mom: So funny! My house is all about Valentine's Day.
Actually, even though Dillon opted out, our house was all about Valentine's day too. My middle child, Blake, who's in second grade, said he wanted to make valentines out of construction paper. He and his younger sister Cate had fun making these happy heart faces, complete with lifesaver eyes, bedazzled noses, and glitter smiles:
And, when I realized we didn't have to produce valentines for a third classroom full of kids, my reaction was part relief (because making valentines is kind of a pain) and part mourning (because I wasn't ready for Dillon to be done).
But, this is where we are.
My 5th grader, no-Valentine-maker turned 11 today.
My children are now 5, 7, and freaking 11. No more babies. I am decidedly out of the toddler-chasing, diaper-changing stage of motherhood, the stage that has defined my life for the past 11 years.
And, to be honest, I have trouble falling asleep at night. It's not like I didn't see this day coming. I've written about it before. And, it's not a bad day. But it's definitely a new day. My family is growing and changing at what feels like the speed of light, and I'm trying to catch my breath.
But that's the constant state of motherhood, isn't it? Just when you think you're getting the hang of things, it's time to move on.
I've been a mom for 11 years, and I've been blogging for nine of them. Writing helps me process the relief, and the sadness, and the beauty we experience when life is in transition. I find myself looking ahead to fall, to the new school year, when I send my youngest off to elementary school for the first time and my oldest off to middle school for the first time, and I wonder what this writing space will become.
What stories will I share? Because my children aren't the only ones changing, I am too. If I had to pick one word to describe how I feel about what lies ahead, it's curious. Because, if I've learned one thing about motherhood so far: It's never exactly what you imagine.
Onward, my friends.
ps: There's a construction paper heart stuck to my fridge. It says #bestmom. Although I'd question whether that's actually true, my kids (for now) still think so, so I'd call that #winning.
To get updates from Angie Mizzell delivered to your inbox, click here to subscribe.