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Emotional Contractions

It has been quite the buildup for me, working toward my little guy's first day of kindergarten. Real school. All day long. Just like his big sisters. Leaving home at 7:30 in the morning and not getting home until after 3. That's a long day for a little dude who is used to long, lazy days at home playing dinosaurs, building train tracks or lying in his underwear watching TV. And that's a long day for his mama, too.

The days leading up to this momentous occasion of leaving him at school were filled with tears. Which is me—totally how I deal with these life moments. My kids always think I'm crying because I'm sad, and I'm constantly reminding them that I'm not really sad (maybe just a little). It's more that I'm feeling "life," I tell them. These are the moments when I just can't deny that life is happening.

It's kind of easy to deny that life is happening in the middle of hectic days filled with routine and errands and fighting and bill paying.

It's kind of easy to deny that life is happening in the middle of hectic days filled with routine and errands and fighting and bill paying. But when a new school year starts and I see my youngest child gear up for his next big adventure, it all becomes crystal clear.

This is life. And it's happening.

As I got the kids ready on that first day, packed their lunches, made them breakfast and drove them to school, my mini emotional outbursts came and went. No matter how hard I tried to keep it together, those life-happening tears would just well up, make their way to my eyes, and just spill over, running down my cheeks. And then they would subside almost as soon as they came. Then they would come again.

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As I exited the freeway, I thought about how these tears of mine reminded me of my labor contractions. The way that pain would come and go. Overtaking me as my babies started making their way into the world. And I thought, yeah, these are like emotional contractions.

The pain of a mama letting go ...

It's been a theme of my motherhood. Letting go. But not just letting go of them, as they stretch and grow toward being their own little independent creatures ... letting go of me. Surrendering to this experience of motherhood in all of its struggles and glory.

I am a woman who is addicted to my independence and individuality. And becoming a mother has meant that I can never really be just me again. It means I can never really even think about just me again. It's impossible. It's a mind shift of epic proportions—the moment my firstborn arrived into the world, everything shifted. Solo me was gone.

I am profoundly connected to my children. We are inextricably linked.

But on the first day of school, watching my little dude walk onto the school campus and start this grand new adventure—the one that marks the start of his true big boy independence and the beginning of a time when I could maybe spend some more time getting back in touch with solo me—I realized how desperately I didn't really want to let go of him. Just like my body seemed to not want to let go of any of my babies. All three of my labors were long and painful and slow.

I guess it's the story of me and them. Trying to untangle ourselves from each other as we stretch and grow and feel life happening.

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