Don’t Tell Us Not To Be Sad

 

Parents know when these milestones are coming.  We know when to expect them.  We even put an exuberant amount of energy towards orchestrating its arrival, happening and celebration.  When it’s occurring so many of us are expected to feel joy and approach the moments as celebratory ones.  Whether it’s their first coo, step, tooth, word, their first day of preschool, kindergarten, extracurricular activity, haircut, birthday or in my case, their last day of preschool.  Most write, vocalize, share, upload, talk about and experience it joyfully.

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Not me.  Not all of the time.

I think my children and I switch roles for that time period.  Yes, that’s correct.  In fact, I’m humbly declaring a moment of truth in that my children are unquestionably parentified during each particular milestone when they are reminding me (Mom) that, “They are just getting older and will always love me,” (says child).

Isaiah graduated preschool today.

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{{{{{{moment of silence please}}}}}}}

I can assure you I am not jumping up and down.  It’s gonna take awhile for me to recover.

I can honestly share that I don’t instinctually experience these milestones joyfully.  Instead, I am usually biting my nails down to bloody cuticles, making extra trips to their bedroom at night to stare at them (you know, in case I miss anything) and staying up past midnight (never a wise idea) crying to myself.

Sounds pathetic to many and I know it sounds comical to others.  I get it.  Well, I mean I get it intellectually, but emotionally I’m unraveling without a beginning and ending point to piece myself back together.

Why does it have to be joyful?  Why does every person have to respond with, “Don’t be sad,” or (my favorite) “This is just the beginning.”

Yeah, thanks.

As a mother I look at the milestones and it reminds me of moments I can’t get back.  I question if I complained too much to “soak it in,” if I made the right choices, if I set them up for success instead of failure and question if I captured enough of it all.  I am saddened at the continual reminder that all of this time with them; every milestone, occasion, new experience and memory is borrowed.  They’re not mine to keep and they never were to begin with.

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These moments are shared and graciously offered to me to experience alongside them.  With every new milestone, I am reminded that there will come a day when I am not occupying the extraordinary hand designated just for me at those very moments.  I want to be sad darn it and why isn’t that okay?  I want to be sensitive about it because their lives grew from the very heart that aches for these passing moments.

I stayed up all night and couldn’t sleep days before his graduation.  My mind felt like a movie reel re-playing all of the moments between us.  My mind was racing with projected images of his future and all of the upcoming times I’d have to entrust someone I achingly love into the hands of someone else.

Would they know that he is sensitive and how that translates into his need for comedic relief?  Let him be silly.  It works.  It will work for you and for him, I promise. Oh and he’s just so darn good at it.

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Will they know he gets tired around 12:30 p.m. and that he is going to miss the smell and touch of Hippy’s ears against his nose?

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Can they remind him to dry his hands so the dribbles of water don’t follow like a puddle beneath his feet?

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Do they make sure he eats his fruit first and that dyes, chocolate, candy and everything in between are only when I rely on bribery? (Don’t judge, it does its job)

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Will they know that he will always be nervous to try new things.  He doesn’t want to fail.  Gently encourage him and he will surprise you each.and.every.time.

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Who leads him into the bathroom?  Who makes sure he is receiving tenderness while reinforcing he passes it onto others?

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When he gets tired, I won’t be right there to nestle up to his neck and whisper, “I love you.”  It’s a long day so please be patient.

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Do they know he hates loud noises?  Yeah, he especially sirens so you will catch him cover his ears.

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If he seems anxious, do they know to talk about the deliciously placed freckle on his neck?  If this happens, STOP!
I will be anxiously waiting to kiss it when he arrives back home.

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Do they know I encourage him to be imperfect and make mistakes.  Even superheroes lose their way.  I don’t want him to be the best, just his own version of his best.

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What if I miss a milestone at school?  What about the tribe that was once four during the day that will soon be down to three?

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It’s hard being joyful while grieving what you know has passed and become just a memory you hope was recorded enough to re-live all of the times you need to be reminded that it happened at all.  I think it’s okay for us parents to embrace the joy but share in the sadness.  It’s okay to admit we’re sad about surpassing milestones we sacrificed and devoted every inch of ourselves for.

I spent weeks preparing Isaiah that when, “Mommy cries at your graduation, it’s because she is happy,” until I realized something.  I wasn’t being honest and I was assuming he couldn’t handle the truth when he can.

He can because the truth is where humanity lies and not everything in life is happy or joyful.  So I changed my response.

“Mommy cries because she is so proud of you and it just makes me sad to see you growing up when I feel so lucky to be your mom.  I will always be your mom, but you won’t always be little.”

His parentified response (ah hem, the more mature response)?

“It’s okay mom, you can still kiss my freckle.”

He graduated today folks and I was a wreck praying no one peeked at me as I could feel the oxygen leave my anxious lungs.  This is one of many milestones (I know), but my message to the rest of us out there is that yes, there are many milestone ahead, but today is just for today and it’s okay to be both joyful and sad about it.

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In honor of my witty, tender, smart, chatty, loving, tenacious and whimsical boy,
Isaiah David.

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Love,
Your hopelessly sad but promises to get over it while making you live up to your word..
Mama

P:S  I may or may not have worn black because I was mourning.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Us Not To Be Sad

  1. Who told you it’s not ok to be sad? Shame on them whoever they are. It’s important and necessary to feel ALL the feelings. Especially for us mamas, that’s what makes us good at what we do. Do you read Glennon Doyle Melton? She writes that the reason we feel so much is because we are paying attention. So, good for us!

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    • Love, love, love Glennon Doyle. She is truly an inspiration to us all and an incredible writer. Thank you for reading and connecting. I love your blog too! Such a great way to spin it too. It is because we’re paying attention and as I like to say it, because we’re parenting present 🙂

      Like

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