Jan’s post about savoring this time with young children struck a chord for me as I stand with one foot out the door of these preschool years. I’ve got two kids already well into elementary school and a little guy with one year left at home. Sometimes it feels like I’ve got both feet out the door, and I’m doing my best to not let it hit me in the bum as I run out! Mentally I’m already moving into the wide-open possibilities of 5 days a week to work and fill in as I choose: plenty of time to devote to work and passions of my own. Oh yes, I’m excited for this new phase of life that we are on the verge of.
But right now I have a little boy on my lap as I type, tenderly stroking my hair: Mama, I like your hair. Do you know what I did? I put it like this, over your shoulder. Like Elsa. And then he’s got two toy cats in his hands, and they are having a conversation. One explains that he can talk, even though his mouth is on backwards. The other says he can fly, but he’s out of batteries. Oh! I didn’t know you were a machine like that, his friend responds. And I stop for a moment, take a deep breath. Lord, I will miss this.
But let me tell you preschooler moms a secret: the next phase, the big kid phase? It is amazing. Completely mind-blowing. Those little ones that you are investing so much time and energy into are going to turn into boys and girls that will inspire and challenge you in ways you can’t even imagine! I know this because lately my 9-year-old pretty much makes my jaw drop daily. And it’s not in that my baby is a genius sort of way (although he was, of course); it’s more like he’s less the person I’ve been trying to shape him to be and more the person he is meant to be. The person God made him to be. In spite of my blunders and impatience (I like to think it makes him stronger).
The other day I landed in bed with a migraine, right about the time the older kids were due home on the bus. I groaned, oh well, they can always watch a movie… but then I realized I wasn’t giving my kids enough credit. Two-thirds of my brood are not preschoolers, after all. I sat them down and explained that I would be in my room, in bed, that I felt horrible and I needed them to help me. I asked them to fix their own snacks and play nicely–relatively quietly.
And it worked! My husband wasn’t due home until late, and my two youngest played mama hedgehog-baby hedgehog in the living room. Mama hedgehog was very patient and considerate. Sam made banana-chocolate-milkshakes for everyone. Later I called him in to me and asked him to make dinner: fish sticks and peas from the freezer. I walked him through the steps–and maybe called out too many safety tips–but he did it all on his own. By the time dinner was on the table, my headache had eased up, and I sat down with them. My daughter complimented Sam on the fish sticks, the best ever. Sam told me that he thought the peas were perfect.
It was my favorite migraine ever, and that, my friends, is what you have to look forward to on the other side.
Ida Fischer has been involved in MOPS for 2 years and now serves as a Discussion Group Leader. She is married to Maarten and mother to Sam (9), Noa (7), and Mylo (4). She enjoys everything outdoors, reading, and spending time alone to paint. You can find her blog and artwork at Ida Fischer Art and Illustration.