I’ve been thinking so much about my big boy Brooks lately. It seems like overnight he’s gone from a child to an adolescent. There’s a shift that happens when kids transition from wanting to be with family members to wanting to be with their friends. That shift is happening with Brooks. It’s fun but also sad to watch.
Someone told me the other day that the love we feel for our children is “pure love.” It’s the kind of love that’s powerful and beautiful and desperate all at the same time.
When school started this year, some other moms and I were sending around a group text having some fun comparing the kids’ first day of kindergarten to their first day of fifth grade. It was crazy to see how much all the kids had changed in what truly felt like the blink of an eye. I still remember walking my little boy into kindergarten and my heart hurting knowing he was out of my nest and into elementary school. And now, he’s a tall, lanky ten-year old on the cusp of young adulthood.
I’ve also noticed something about being a single mom. While it’s challenging to be outside a family unit and to deal with all of the junk that comes with custody schedules and all that, being divorced also makes a person hyper aware of how precious time is. When I was in the family unit, the days just ticked away one at a time while we all went through our ho-hum routine. One day rolled into the next, one week rolled into the next, one month rolled into the next and so on.
But now, because they are not with me every single day, I am truly grateful and present when they are with me. I put my phone down. I snuggle on the couch. I let them stay up a little bit later. I eat lunch with them at school. I do the dishes and make lunches once they’re in bed. I listen to them and we have real, genuine conversations.
My therapist recently said, “You can’t have light without a shadow, but if there’s a shadow, you can find the light.” Losing my mom and getting a divorce are certainly shadows, but they’ve allowed me to find so much light in my world. My faith is stronger than ever before. I found an inner strength I did’t know existed. I’m so very thankful for the people in my life who make me smile.
And as for my boys, the shadows have allowed us to develop a unique bond that would have been impossible without the darkness. As my big boy rapidly grows and changes into his own person, I can’t be sad. I just have to love him with all that I am and hold on to every precious moment.