It’s a Sappy Mom Thing

I’m one of those sappy moms who get choked up at the slightest thing.  Watching Kerry play guitar and sing in her band, makes me cry.  Watching Grady stand on a podium and win First Place makes me cry.  Seeing Kady tackle her fears makes me cry.  Watching Elly dancing with Emmy makes me cry. Watching Brody smile his big huge smile on the wave makes me cry.    I’m also one who when looking at old photos can’t seem to keep it together.  I mourn for that long gone moment.  So, when I was a bubbling mess of emotions last night as we were taking pictures of Kerry and her friends before her senior prom, it was of no surprise that I was crying.  Crying with joy, pride, and yes, a bit of sadness.  This was her last prom.  I envisioned Kerry’s proms when I was a new mom, mesmerized by the life I cradled in my arms.  But I never ever envisioned her last prom, the signal of the end to her being a kid and the beginning of her adult life, that thought never occurred to me as it did last night.  And I stressed as I watched the clock tick closer to midnight and I knew her last prom was coming to an end.  Next stop graduation where surely I’m going to need a private room.  None of this is good, it all means we are one step closer to Kerry not being a daily presence in our home, of Kerry (I can’t even say it) … of Kerry (moving out). {gasp}

When the last of the prom bound kids pulled out of the driveway I turned and looked at Grady towering over me at 6’1″ and 160+ lbs.  Not too long ago he was just a little boy with blond hair and the cutest baby face you’ve ever seen.  His entire purpose in life was to test me, day in and day out, how far could he go, what was my breaking point?  And now today, at 16  he’s literally a man.  Kind, strong, confident, like his dad.  I could go on, but the rest of the kids are midgets and nowhere near any endings or new beginnings, maturity wise or life wise.  Grady will be a Junior next year and that’s when time picks up and literally spirals out of control, before we know it, he’ll be graduating H.S. and beginning his adult life.  sob, sob.

I’m so thankful to God for my personality, really and truly. My mom hated that my goal in life was simply to have fun, she tried everything to make me change.  I’m thankful I never did because this is what made me the mom I am.   I’m thankful that God gave me a playful spirit, a spirit that didn’t value much in the world outside of having fun with my family.  I’m grateful beyond words that I didn’t waste these years away working, I have no lost time to mourn. I’m grateful I haven’t spent the last 18 years pining for a different life.  I love my life.  I was there for every new tooth, every cry, every tantrum, every hug, every milestone, every feeding … I haven’t missed a thing with any of my 11 kids.  Nothing.  And, as we get older, not that we’re old, mind you, but as we get older we understand even more fully how important time is.  To truly live in the moment and to not simply exist is monumentally glorious.   “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”  Oscar Wilde

How profound is that?  How many of you wake up at the same time every morning, go through the same exact routine, day in and day out?  How many of you live for Friday afternoon when the weekend officially starts and you can relax and live a little?  Break free of the chains that bind you, do it now.  Start to live, to breathe, to enjoy.  I truly believe the greatest gift we’ve given our children is our time and I’m confident the greatest gift we’ve given ourselves is time with our kids.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been sacrifices along the way, struggles for sure, but when I look back at all of that, I don’t clearly recall.  What I do remember is the moments with the kids on the river, on the mountain, camping, hiking, biking, climbing.  We don’t need vacations, we have chosen to live a vacation.  Even on the days when we are doing nothing, we are doing it together. Coloring, reading, writing stories, wrestling, tickling, eating … it’s always together.

Even playing we do together.  While we have always been an outdoors family, kayaking has been a life changing sport for us.  We were never in the stands type parents, we were always coaching whatever sport our kids were involved in, but now with kayaking (and snowboarding) we are actually in it with them.  We are in the water, tackling the same fears, the same challenges, feeling the same excitement.  It is nothing short of awesome when there are 8 of us paddling down the river.  We always are asked if we are a school, to which we laugh and say, “nope these are all our kids.”  That usually is a shocker and we get the opportunity to talk about the boats, the kids, the sport and more likely than not, we meet new friends, new paddling partners!

Once you are in a kayak you never get out, it’s a passion filled sport complete with mental challenges, physical challenges and so much more.  Our kids learned more about themselves in one kayaking season than in any other activity they’ve ever been involved in.  You learn what you are made of, you learn what it takes to conquer real fear.  Kayaking is a real mind game and it’s making men out of our boys and women out of our girls.  And Dan and I are there to mentor them every step of the way.  This has increased the living quotient of our lives tenfold.

So as Kerry’s high school career winds down, I’m sad to see the end of an era,  but I’m equally excited for her, she has her entire life ahead of her and she’s just thrilled to get it started.  She’s not entirely sure of her next steps, but she’s young, she’s vibrant, and she doesn’t have to do anything, the world is her playground, she can choose any path and I’m sure it will be a great path.  She has so much ahead of her, even she doesn’t know the true joys that lie ahead.  I’m so very blessed to look back and know that I am and always have been the mom I wanted to be.   God Bless you all, have a happy Sunday!

15 Comments

  • I can’t imagine anyone changing you, you have such a living spirit, you are an inspiration to so many people. I agree with you about living with no regrets, I regret I got a divorce and now must work and miss so much of my children’s formative years. I had a great man, I just didn’t feel happy and in love. Stupid young girl that I was. Blessings on this rainy Sunday morn.

    • You are making me so jeolaus I want mountains! I’m in flat Texas . Anyway, this is such an adorable couple and I can feel their energy coming off in these photos. Really great job 🙂

  • I am so thankful my husband doesn’t don a suit everyday and he’s not a little worker bee working for someone else. We don’t make a crapload of money, but it’s enough and we get by comfortably. Most importantly we work for ourselves and we are always together with our kids. It’s a blessed life. You are inspriring for sure.

  • I read all your blogs, but I had to comment on this one and just say, I’m touched. Your family, your devotion to each other, the obvious happiness of your children (they radiate for Pete’s sake), the involvement of you and your husband, the relationship between you and your husband is so refreshing. The way in which you live your life (About Us Page) is beautiful. Thank you for being such a breath of fresh air.

  • So, I want to be a kid in your house. I saw a post about you on a mutual friends wall and I had to check you and and omgsh you all rock. Congratulations on your pregnancy, I hope everything goes well (what a lucky baby)!

  • I am in the same boat, my first born, graduating in 4 weeks, its tearing me up. I go from excited to sad, it’s a roller coaster, but then I’m 43 years old and getting older every day. Just wanted to let you know I feel your pain and excitement.

  • I liked the stuff posted here. wishing you best of luck, having raised two children who have moved on, I look back now and we didn’t put emphasis in family, too much on schooling. I hope you are able to keep your children close, it’s not meant to be this way.

  • Oh I know, I know. My twins are graduating from the eighth grade, I’m over the top emotional about this, but I’m raising them like you, to stay close and to stick to family, so I’m not looking at one kid in NY and the other in CA!

  • Yes. My mom is crazy sappy right now, one of us graduated high school, the other college. I’m sending this to her!

  • AM SO HAPPY FOR THIS FAMILYN, AM A MOM OF 2 and i enjoy every moment i spend with them i know the joy that filled your heart, may this family coninue to stay together “smile”.

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