It hit me the other day that I am no longer the mom of littles.
I guess the fact that 2/3 of my children are taller than me, my oldest is driving and preparing for college, my middle child will be in high school next year, my youngest spends time with friends on her own should have clued me in.
But it was the posts (so many!) on Facebook of kids moving to college—some of them were kids I had taught in elementary school, some of them were kids I had watched in the nursery at church—these kids were moving away from home and moving on to a new phase in life. Many of these kids are friends with my oldest, who excitedly viewed all the posts with a big smile on her face because next year it is her turn.
That’s when it hit me. My husband and I aren’t the parents of little kids anymore. Our parenting journey is about to change, and it will be very different from what we have done before.
For so long I was a mom of little kids doing all the little kids things, now it seems, suddenly, I am the mom of all these big people. It is both exciting and a little terrifying.
By child number three, I felt we had this parenting thing down. We had mastered, for the most part, being parents of littles. It was no big deal. But that is all about to change. We are a pretty close family, for which I am so thankful. We do so much together as a family. How is that going to be minus one? I am trying not to think of that right now.
I am excited for her. I remember myself at her age, so excited to be almost an adult and gaining more and more independence. It is an exciting time. But now I am on the other side of going away to college. Even though she towers over me by eight inches, sometimes I still see her as the sweet, snuggly two-year-old with blond ringlets.
How is time for my kid to be getting ready to move away? (click to tweet)
My youngest is only eight, so I know I have plenty of time before full empty nest syndrome kicks in, but launching your first one into the world is a new, exciting, and somewhat daunting experience. So during this last official year of her being a kid, I am alternating between sharing her excitement and looking back and wondering how it went by so fast.
But she is ready and by next August, her dad and I will be ready (I think). After all, this is what the goal has been. To raise our children so that they are willing and able to go off on their own and be successful. I am sure I will still fret and worry at times and maybe give some unsolicited advice, but that is my job as a mom to big kids.
A “mom to big kids”, a title I wear proudly.
Dana Herndon is a writer and blogger as well as a middle school teacher. She and her husband live in Georgia with their three children. In addition to teaching and writing, Dana loves to read, be inspired by Food Network and HGTV, paddle board, and sometimes run. She blogs at danaherndon.com.