I’m a mom again! No, I didn’t have another kid; I’m just recycling the same old ones I had and inherited. It’s Christmas and the nest isn’t empty, at least for a few days. My stepsons are here and daughter #1 is spending the weekend, so I’ve dug out all the pillows and blankets and sheets and pillowcases, and assigned everyone a bed. Suitcases are strewn everywhere, hair-care products and deodorants cover every spare space on the bathroom counter, it’s total chaos and I’m totally happy.
I miss being a day-to-day mom. I can’t act or sing, draw or paint, calculate pi or fly a plane, but I’m really good at mothering and I feel too young to have all my babies gone. Many of my friends who are my age have small children or kids in junior and senior high who they shuffle from practice this to practice that, and I feel sad that mine are all grown or living with their biological mother so far away. There are days when I want another baby so badly the feeling aches to my bones. There are some needs a new puppy just can’t sate.
I will make the most of this Mom time. We’ll look through photo albums and laugh at how much we’ve all changed; say grace and eat dinner at the table (these days my husband and I eat dinner in the den while watching Jeopardy); I’ll make food I don’t eat but they love; and we’ll retell the stories we retell every time we’re together about how we became a family. Mostly we’ll sit on the couch and talk about nothing and everything. We’ll open gifts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, eat a little more, laugh a little more and just bask in the silliness that is our little family.
When they all go home, I’ll draw a deep breath and let the emptiness enter. It will settle in, acutely at first, and then move to the back of my mind where it co-exists with the rest of the joys and sadness in my life. I’m getting better at finding my part-time “Mom space” in their day-to-day lives, but I’ll always miss mothering them full time in this house.
For right now, this weekend, it is Christmas and I’m a mom again. And I am reveling in the chaos and the energy of the children I love most.
Merry Christmas, everyone.