Three more years. Less really. That's all I have with my 15-year-old daughter living at home.
We moms. We're pathetic in some people's minds. Living though our kids. But isn't that what we're supposed to be doing?
I adore my two children. I absolutely love being a big part of their lives. I feel privileged that I've been able to spend so much time with them and that I've been their primary caretaker for their whole lives.
But now they are 15 and 12. My daughter, the 15-year-old, is a sophomore in high school. If she stays on the same track she's been on, she'll be off to college in 3 years. 3 tiny, minuscule years.
My son is in 7th grade. There's some more time with him, thank goodness. But in three years he'll be almost 16. Almost driving. He won't need me to shuttle him to football and rugby practice, or to his boy scout meetings. He'll be much more self sufficient. That will change so much about my life.
In three years my daughter will probably be off to college. The girl who made me "mom" will be off on her own starting her life. Without me. Of course without me. We all know kids who are too attached to their moms. Kids who can't grow up. Kids who are weird and are living at home at 40.
I don't want that for my children. I want them to be healthy, stable, independent adults some day.
But that doesn't mean I'm not heartbroken at what's to come. That doesn't mean that I won't miss them terribly. That doesn't mean I don't want to cling to them now (even though I don't literally cling to them now) and want them to stay how they are right now. They won't. They can't. It's not natural. They are to grow and change and flourish. That's how you know your kids are thriving. That's what I want for them.
But right now I love being such a huge part of their lives. I love being their sherpa, their cook, their counselor. I love being such a presence in their lives. I love being their biggest fan. I love seeing them every day and being with them and just knowing that they're happy and healthy and home.
I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for what's to come. So it isn't so sad and difficult. So I can applaud them as they grow away from their home and forge their own paths.
But I'm starting to realize that there's no way to prepare for this. My challenge is to love them and applaud them and support them and then to let them go.
Let them go.
Right now I'm consumed by my paid job and my mom job. I wash athletic uniforms. I cook healthy meals. I make dr.s appointments. I drive kids to practices and jobs, while getting my own audiobook work done. I'm busy, busy, busy.
But in three frighteningly short years everything will be different. I won't be so needed. I'll miss my focus. My main time suck will be gone. I'll have more time. Hard to fathom now, that time is such a rare commodity, but it's coming. More time. In three super-short years.
So what will I do then?
Three years from now when I'm not as consumed by kid duties as I am now?
What will I do then?