Mommy Mileage: How We Travel Through the Stages

This is a rock.  I dumped it and its friends in my yard years ago. The recent rains have drifted them back into my life.  This rock was inventory from a previous job. It was awarded to clients for the number of miles they carpooled, biked, telecommuted, or took MARTA.  Why did they end up in my yard, you ask?

I suspect it had something to do with the fact that my friend and I, who struggled together in this most challenging employment, received our “notice of lay-off” papers in a woman’s bathroom.  We stood in front of a line of sinks. We listened to the sound of ripping tampon paper, as our boss instructed us to sign an acknowledgment of our impending doom.  It was the end of the proverbial line.

I believe that was the day that the rocks came to rest under my house.

Looking at them today, I am reminded of my miles as a mother.  I have 17 of them so far. Trust me, none of them are 100% clean.  There has been dust and bumps along the way.  Now, as my daughter embarks upon her final year of high school, the last year living at home, I wonder what the road will look like once she is gone.

Each stage of motherhood comes with potholes. At some point, we think to ourselves, “I just want to get through this.”  The sleepless nights, teething, colic, tantrums, boo-boos and barf.  Inevitably, we get through. Then, we breathe a sigh of relief and find ourselves missing the very things we couldn’t wait to end.  We sift through those memories and long for the cuddles,  giggles, kisses and general cuteness of our babies.  The older and more independent they become, the more we forget the bad and we wish we could go back and do it all again.

And now, I find myself holding on for dear life to this next mile marker, senior year.  Because it’s the last stop before the exit to college.

My hunch is I will eagerly trail behind my daughter as she has all her “lasts.” I’ll hang on every text and emoji after she graduates and discovers a new batch of “firsts.”  During her swan song, I will over-volunteer for every senior event and insist she invite her friends over as much as possible.  I will bribe her with manicures and shopping, and leave brochures on her bed for colleges that are a short drive away.

In a blink, we will reach the fork in the road. I will desperately miss the drama and noise. The messy room and forgotten homework.  I will learn how to Facetime, Snapchat and send care packages via Amazon Prime.  Most importantly, I will hope with all my heart that the journey we took together these last 17 years has prepared her to confidently blaze her own, happy trail.


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