Friday Photo: Holding On

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my children growing up and away from us.

When they were born, I never wanted to let them go.  Sliding their precious bodies into another’s arms was reserved only for moments desperate for solitude.  Sleeping side by side, we monitored their every movement, every breath.

When my son started kindergarten, I was excited.  He was so ready to formalize his education – he loved learning, loved socializing, and eagerly anticipated learning Spanish like his big sister had.  He smiled all the way to school, and babbled about his adventures all the way home.

When my daughter started middle school, I was elated.  Finally, she would be on my campus, and all the regrets I had about not volunteering in her classes or driving on field trips might be soothed by knowing I could see her every day.  She immersed herself in friendships, studying, and never missed a dance.

When my son left elementary school, I was saddened.  Eleven years spent between the two suddenly evaporated without even being able to take one final bike ride to pick him up from school on the last day.  He was so ready to move on with his education – he loved his friends, loved socializing, and couldn’t wait to ride his bike with his friends all the way to the middle school.

When my daughter started high school, I was nervous.  This is when it all comes down to the end, the grades, the transcripts, the test scores and college admissions.  She would get her driver’s license, go to the prom, and before I knew it, leave home.

The clock in my heart began counting down.

When my son starts middle school this year, I am still half-way holding on.  I can’t quite let go, can’t pass him off to what’s next even though I know it will happen despite me. I squeeze my eyes shut and hope for it to happen painlessly, for it to slip through my awareness without having to feel the drop of my heart, the skip of my breath.

I’ve been thinking about them both lately.  I’ve been hoping that the days will stretch on endlessly, the mothering will just shape-shift into some kind of form that I can still cling to even when they’re not here.  I’m not ready to let them go, not eager for that kind of solitude.  I’ve been trying to cast every moment in bronze, and not let them slip through my fingers.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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18 thoughts on “Friday Photo: Holding On

  1. Oh Jennifer, this got me all teary! I’ve been doing this same exact thing. I guess it’s because school is starting next week and it just lends itself to these kinds of thoughts. Well, and my oldest is starting high school so it is the “last stretch” before he leaves home. I feel very sad. You wrote it so perfectly here.

    1. Michael Ann, I’m sorry I made you cry :(. This time of year is truly bittersweet – good luck with the first few days!

  2. mail4rosey says:

    Ah, looks like a lot of us are in the same boat. I posted a link about the exact same thing today because I took my son out of state last weekend to go to college. It is a bittersweet thing, and they do leave home so very fast! I loved your write-up.

    1. Rosey, thank you! I can’t imagine what taking her to college will feel like…and out of state? That’s hard!

  3. how time flies—this is a beautiful photo!

    1. Thanks, Pamela. It’s from the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA – have you been there?

  4. It is so sad isn’t it? My MIL is always telling me that the time spent with the children while they are young is the best time of a woman’s life. I’m trying to appreciate every moment!
    And my oldest starts high school in the fall. I swear I brought her home from the hospital yesterday??

    1. It is sad – but also exciting to see them becoming the humans you always hoped they would be.

  5. Courtney G says:

    It does go fast. Just got back from #4’s University graduation, and I still call them “kids”, even though they are all far from it. All of those years don’t really die in your mind.

    1. I like your thinking, Courtney – the years will never ‘die’ in my mind; I hold on to the sweet memories and hope for more!

  6. Jennifer… all I can say is that with your love and strength you have taught your children and have prepared them well… if you have done this… well we as mommies must trust ourselves and trust that they will do the best they can… the rest is up to them and God’s plans. Grace, peace and blessings, Carla

    1. Thanks, Carla. I like to think I’ve prepared them…kind of like our final grade in a way, I guess? I do know they will do their best, they will make mistakes, but that’s how they will learn.

  7. Becky Jane says:

    I’ve sent 8 of my kids out into the world and have 3 left at home. It never gets easy. Surprisingly, these last 3 are the hardest to let go of. S is in 11th grade, driving, and hanging out with her friends more than me…she used to be my best friend and we did everything together. I love to see my children spread their wings, but it makes this mama heart lonely. HUGS

    1. Wow Becky – I could learn a lot from you!I guess no matter how many times you go through this with your kids, each one breaks your heart just a little bit more.

  8. I have been feeling this way too. One in 8th grade and one in 5th. Where did the time go?

    1. I hope the time went to the right places, and that I’ve done the right things for my kids…

  9. Every time I start to get panicky about this, I remind myself I’m only going to get a short break (if that), and it will be time for grandchildren! Woohoo!

  10. Now that’s a great attitude, Jeanne! Yet I can’t imagine my daughter having a serious boyfriend yet, let along having children. Yikes!

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