Though it was almost a decade ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a middle school teacher again after a short (or honestly very long) 3 year sabbatical as a stay-at-home momma finishing up my seminary degree.

This time around as a middle school teacher I was mother of a 9 month old little girl and a 2 year old boy.

I had been a stay-at-home momma and seminary student for my first two years of motherhood. Those years are a bit of a blur. A blur I cherish in my heart with lots of incredible memories.

I smile writing that because the incredible memories I would likely not have termed ‘incredible’ at the time. Just yesterday as I was cleaning out my 8-month-old’s car seat after a diaper blow out in car, I remembered an epic ‘car seat blow out’ my now 11-year-old son had as an infant on a 12 hour road trip.

Yesterday, I laughed out loud as I thought about the ‘incredible memory’ of how long it seemed to the next exit on that turnpike. I remember the look on Joe’s face and I know my face had the same look. We were not prepared for this. No one told us about car seat blow outs…or maybe we weren’t listening or read the wrong parenting 101 handbook.

It is an ‘incredible memory’ now.

How we had to drive almost 30 minutes tolerating that smell because we were of course on one of those endless Oklahoma turnpikes with no exits.

How we had to clean that nasty seat out in a potty at a rest stop and kept praying that no one would notice what we were doing and that our baby would not contract some disease from all the germs that were in that bathroom.

How we had to hold our one- year- old for part of the drive instead of having him safely in his seat as the law requires, because his wet car seat was not an option.

There is not a manual to follow for such things in parenthood.

The thought passed through my mind yesterday that if every teenage girl that thinks ‘it would be so fun to have a baby’ had to clean up a car seat blowout…we would have fewer unwed teenage moms in this country.

So there I was almost a decade ago, sitting in a team meeting with two sweet co-teachers who were not only middle school teachers but they were also mothers of middle school boys.

I remember them telling me how quickly the next years would fly and that I would blink and my tantrum throwing 2-year-old would be a middle schooler. They giggled and glanced at each other. I smiled trying to believe them, but really didn’t fully understand.

At that time in my life, it seemed to me that mothers of older children were some sort of secret society. Sometimes I almost felt like they were lying to me and behind closed doors laughing at all of us mothers of littles not telling us young moms the truth.

The days were long. The tantrums were even longer.

I dreamed of the days that he could clean up his on potty accidents, use words to tell me his teeth hurt instead of screaming about it, and could make his own peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch.

In those two years, my middle school students were my refuge. Crazy I know. I’m one of those weird ones that love being around middle school kids. I would go home to my two littles at home and think, “The middle school years of parenting will be a breeze compared to this.”

{Can you hear me giggling as I type? What ridiculous thinking! I’ll chalk the thought up to being sleep deprived. I knew better. Afterall, I spent my days with middle schoolers and my nights with toddlers. I often told my middle school students that their behavior was identical to my toddlers at home. My students thought I was kidding. I wasn’t. Middle schoolers are truly just tantrum throwing toddlers in grown up bodies and who have a larger vocabulary…think about it. It’s truth.}

Yesterday it happened.

I dropped my son off for 6th grade orientation. Middle School.

I blinked. My coworkers a decade ago were telling me the truth after all.

Yesterday I walked the hallway of my son’s middle school with my eight-month-old daughter strapped to my chest. It has been a decade since I sat in that team meeting as a middle school teacher and a first time momma of a toddler.

This time around as a mother of an infant I have the gift of a decade of parenting in my tool belt. One of the tools I have in my belt this time around is a decade of perspective. It is definitely the most useful tool I have these days as a momma.

I do something this time around that I didn’t do the first time I was a momma of an infant.

I intentionally stare at my infant daughter’s knuckles every day.

“Dimples for knuckles.” I can’t remember when my other two kids “dimples for knuckles” disappeared, but at some point the boney knuckles replaced the dimples.

As I was driving him to his 6th grade orientation yesterday, my son admitted his nervousness to me about all the changes ahead.

As we drove into the parking lot, he said, “please don’t walk me in momma.”

I had held it together well until I heard those words. I remembered a brave little kindergarten boy saying the same thing and it really did seem that that was just yesterday.

Somewhere along the way I have joined the secret society of moms of older kids who fully understand the “don’t blink” phrase.

Somewhere along the way he learned to go potty by himself.  HALLELUJAH!

This week he showed me a new molar…he cut his 12 year molar on his own without me knowing. PRAISE JESUS FOR WORDS INSTEAD OF SCREAMS WHEN TEETHING!!!!

And these days I clean up a lot of peanut butter and honey messes that he leaves behind when he makes himself a sandwich.

I know now that I will blink and it will be his first day of high school. Then it will be college. And {clears throat and wipes tear} his wedding day.

I get it now. I. get.  it.

So if you see me staring at my infant daughter’s hands a lot. . .you now know what I am doing. I am enjoying her “dimples for knuckles” before I blink.

No caption needed right?

No caption needed right?

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Seriously, whoever thought it was a good idea to feed over 500 6th graders in the same room at the same time…..God bless all the Middle School lunch monitors in the world. You will never be paid your worth.

 

In kindergarten, he would stop and turn and blow me a kiss.

In kindergarten, he would stop and turn and blow me a kiss.

Yesterday, it was a quick glance over the shoulder and a smile.  Praying that he will still do this on his wedding day.  The kiss is for your wife...just please glance over your shoulder and smile at me.  Then...you are hers.

Yesterday, it was a quick glance over the shoulder and a smile. Praying that he will still do this on his wedding day. The kiss is for your wife…just please glance over your shoulder and smile at me. Then…you are hers.

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