I love you because it’s not easy…

I used to think when the kids were little that the days would never end and sometimes, weeks lasted a lifetime. I thought when they were little that was the toughest it would be. The exhaustion, never ending nights, temper tantrums, refusal to eat.. for days at a time. All while I focused on a career and college. Some days I didn’t think I would survive. Or maybe I thought they wouldn’t survive.

But we did. One day at a a time.

Those days turned into weeks, and I blinked. They turned into years.

That little baby that used to be scared of the dark – the ones that would make me flush the monster down the toilet every night, doesn’t even fit in my lap anymore.

The fear of them sucking on a windex bottle is replaced with the fear of them getting in an accident on the way home from a party. Or not coming home at all.

The fighting to get them to eat disappeared and now I struggle to keep the fridge stocked. Who knew growing required so much food…

We no longer flush monsters, but I have held hands while we took a pregnancy test or two.

I have had more sex education conversations than I ever thought possible and can know work the words penis and vagina into a normal sentence. And no one gets embarrassed.

Instead of arguing at the dinner table about eating green beans, we now discuss their position on abortion, politics, religion and psychology.

I’m no longer kissing boo-boos, but instead I’m covered in boogers and tears while I hold a broken heart, wishing I could make it go away. But I can’t.

Those younger years, they weren’t the hard ones.

Knowing that you have spent years teaching, training, raising your kids, only to realize that eventually you have to let them try to fly on their own is the most fantastic, overwhelming thing I’ve ever experienced. Sometimes I think I want to trade it for middle of the night potty trips and flushing monsters again. But then things like tonight happen.

This was triggered by a dinner conversation with some of the kids. We discussed how when you go out in the world there will be a lot of people that will try to push your buttons, buttons you didn’t even know you had. The only thing you can control is how you react. They looked at me and said “that’s because I’m not a victim”. I’m not quite ready to let them go, but I feel like when the time comes, they’ll all be ok.

This is terrifying.

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