2 May
Posted in: parenting
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Surreal Moments of Mothering

Mothering has been a series of surreal moments lately.

Last week, I traveled with our oldest and a large group of his 7th grade classmates two hours from our hometown to the University of Wyoming, my alma mater. UW is the only four-year institute in Wyoming. Both Craig and I graduated from there. Much has changed in the decades since we called Laramie and the university home.

I was giddy leading up to this field trip. We’ve taken our kids to countless athletic events at UW over the years, and they’ve all spent time wandering around campus to some degree. There was something different about taking our oldest child to our alma mater on a trip to view the university as a place he may want to call home in the future. He toured classrooms and labs. This was a much different view of UW than he’d been exposed to before.

boy walking around University of Wyoming campus

As we toured campus, it hit me that my 13-year-old was closer to college than his baby years. I walked behind him as he strolled through campus looking like he belonged there. This boy, who is truly more man than boy, will be graduating from college in a heartbeat. It goes that ridiculously fast. I watched that boy, hands stuffed in pockets with shoulders hunched against the falling snow, and was taken back to the day we brought that sweet child home from the hospital. I remember that afternoon more clearly than what I had for breakfast this morning. Surreal.

daughter hugging father

This morning I stood behind my 6-year-old daughter, like every morning, to fix her hair for the day. Today I wasn’t quite tall enough to see the top of her head to braid her hair. She needed to sit or I had to stand on a stool to adequately see. My littlest one isn’t so little it seems. Surreal.

My third grader is continually spouting facts on World War II. It’s his subject of choice currently, and he has delved wholeheartedly into learning as much as possible. We pry books from his hands at bedtime while he squeezes in one final, “Did you know…,” statement before the bedroom door shuts for the night. His favorite book used to be “Hop on Pop.” He would cuddle on my lap before nap time to listen to it being read. He hasn’t comfortably fit in my lap for some time. Surreal.

Our second child has 27 days left in his elementary school career. In two weeks, he’ll take an overnight field trip with his classmates, many he’s known since kindergarten, to celebrate the end of 5th grade. Next month, I’ll sit through his 5th grade graduation as we celebrate the move to middle school. This child was known to hide behind my legs when he met new people. Now he begs to walk home from school without a parental escort. Surreal.

four toddler siblings posing for a photo

Those baby and toddler years when I was exhausted from the physical nature of mothering little ones, at times, seem to have happened during a different life. That mama has changed and grown with each step of raising those babies. I almost look at those early years of motherhood with a lens of nostalgia. Almost. I’m not at the point of wanting to relive it, yet. I enjoy this phase of parenting and look forward to the next chapter. One day I’ll walk on a university campus, a short five years from now, and last week will seem surreal.

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