My youngest started kindergarten yesterday. He’s the first one of my kids to have full-day kindergarten. And I’m sad about that.

I am feeling so many things- lonely. The house is so quiet. Who am I going to eat lunch with? I’m missing the special time when it was just me and him. Who’s going to ask me to snuggle on the couch? Who’s going to run errands with me?

I’m also feeling a lot of regret and a good bit of guilt. I should have done more with him. I should have made better use of the time we had together. Why didn’t I take him to the zoo? Just the two of us.

Loss– these days are gone forever. I know he’s still my baby- they all are. But the carefree days of childhood before school are gone. That time in my life and his life is gone. My whole life for the last 12 years- staying home with my babies- is gone. I’m grateful for the time. I’m grateful I got to be home, and I’m not taking that for granted. But now it’s over. And I’m sad.

The crazy beginning part of motherhood is gone. I’m glad the diapers and potty training and nightly wake-ups are gone. But I’m sad that me being everything to them is gone. Is that selfish? They will never love me again the way they did. And I’m happy for them and excited for what is in store for them. But it’s bittersweet to let go of that cozy time in our lives when they were everything to me and I was everything to them.

I forget so much! I don’t remember so much of the last 12 years. Days are a blur. I came across a picture the other day of my four children. It was just a regular day. No one was dressed up, no one was visiting, nothing special was going on. Danny was in his exersaucer and the other three were just sitting around it playing with him. And I thought to myself, “Now those were the days.” Why didn’t I realize it then? I’ll never have those days again. I wish I could somehow have held on to that time more- that it didn’t just fade away into the past. I wish I still had those days. Somehow.

I wish I did it better. I wish I could go back and do it all again. I would do it so much better now! I would get out more. I would do more. I would care less about stupid things. I would have friends over even when my house was messy.

And I feel a little bit now like I blew it. Like I had this great gift and I didn’t appreciate it enough. I didn’t take full advantage of the last 12 years.

It’s also hard sending him out into the world. My sweet little boy. He’s everything to me but he’s not everything to anyone else. His teacher doesn’t know him and love him. It’s hard sending your babies out to the world knowing it’s not always so great out there. Knowing there’s not much you can do to help them or protect them.

It’s hard knowing that that isn’t your job anymore. It was when they were babies. You had to cover them and protect them and feed them. It’s not your job anymore. They are the world’s now. They are their own.

It makes me think of that developmental time when they realize they are separate from you. It’s hard. Remember reading that there is a time when babies first realize they are a separate being from you? That up until a certain point in development they think they’re part of you? Now they’re really separate.

And I’m not going to be a crazy person and stunt them or hold them back. I’ll stand on the sidelines and watch. But it’s hard….I’m sure it will get easier- I’ll appreciate having time to get stuff done. I’ll enjoy watching him go off on a day he’s excited about something. But there sure is a sadness too.

I think the hardest part of motherhood is knowing that all-consuming love is fleeting. On their part. I know they’ll always love me and I’ll hopefully always be near the top of their list. But the fierceness of that love will fade. Natural? yes. Normal? yes. Will I adjust? yes. But it makes me sad.

I won’t wallow. I won’t continue with the melodrama. I’ll have spontaneous bursts of crying for a few days and then I’ll adjust to life as it is now and enjoy it. (I hope- if you catch me crying when I see a mom and baby in ShopRite maybe it’s time to intervene). But I just have to acknowledge my sadness. I have thanked God every day I got to be home with my children.

I’m also a little uneasy. What now? What do I do with myself now? What am I now that I’m not anyone’s everything?

There’s no stopping it and I know that. There’s lots to enjoy and lots to look forward to. And he still loves me in a special way, a way the others don’t anymore. So I’ll hold onto that while I have it. That and the beautiful places my other kids are at. I’ll hold onto them while I can and try to capture the memories so these days, these days right now that are wonderful in their own way, will stay with me forever.