I had a moment of panic today. As I, exhausted and recovering from a stomach flu, chased little sister around the Parks and Rec Senior Center during big sister’s ballet class, I was hit with one of those quick flash forward visions into the future. A future that is seemingly far away, but it made my heart race and my vision blur for a moment.
There is a sweet old woman who sits at the desk at the front of the Senior Center. I’m not sure what her job is exactly, but she sits there, quietly and pleasantly. As little sister and I passed her desk for the tenth time this morning, the woman made eye contact with her and said “Well hello there!” I gave a tired smile, little sister just kept walking, old woman pulled out a cell phone and began scrolling.
And I wondered, does she miss this stage of life? All its exhaustion and joy, does she miss it? Or does she look at me and feel relief that she’s well out of the marathon?
Then I wondered; does she have kids? Grandkids? Do they visit? Do they live close? Does she see them regularly? Does she just go home to an empty house?
Cue heart racing panic.
I will be “the old woman” someday. My children will be grown and out of my house. No more messes, no more tantrums before bed, no more needy whines to be picked up, --- no more snuggles, no more asking to be read to, no more “Moooommmmmmyyyyyyyyy!” called throughout the house.
And I just sort of panicked. When I think of myself, I identify as a mom. An always needed mom. They are my world, and I need them too. Who will I be when they are grown, strong, sufficient adults? This sounds unhealthy, I know that. I have other interests, but none I’ve been able to pursue fully because THEY are my life right now.
And then I wondered; will I be happy? Will they visit? Will they live close? Will I be ok without them?
My days (and nights) consist of constantly thinking, and worrying, and planning; meals, outfits, schedules, activities, counting screen time, staying calm, coming up with solutions, balancing, balancing, balancing. And sometimes, it gets the best of me, there are days that I. Am. So. Done. by like 2:00.
But I love it.
And truthfully, it scares me to think of my life someday without them always there. Without the need for the constant thoughts and planning. What if they don’t live close? What if I don’t get to watch my grandbabies? Because watching my grandbabies was the only way I slowed the heart today.
I mean, I have plans. A Master’s Degree, a career working with children in some very meaningful capacity. I have hopes that these plans will be fulfilling in other ways. . . . someday. But I don’t know for sure.
Tonight as I rocked little sister to sleep, after a very whiny and clingy day from her, I remembered my vision this morning. And after she fell asleep, I rocked her a little longer, traced the lines of her chubby little face and whispered sweet nothings into her ear.
These girls have my heart wrapped up so tightly, that sometimes it’s hard to breathe. I can’t truly envision the day when I’m not running around after them like a crazed chicken. And it scares me to think that day will come.
So again, I have to remind myself that this is it. These little moments, they won’t come back. Even the tough ones.
And I’ll probably be ok – if the Master’s Degree plan doesn’t pan out, I’ll become a crochet master in my old age, crocheting and custom fitting little baby booties on tiny feet. That will hold me over until the grandbabies visit.