Two Teens And Their Mama: The Hardest Stage

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Hardest Stage

I've been a mom for 7,001 days.  Yep, I counted.  7,001 days filled with sleepless nights, crying - both me and the kids :) -, hugs, runny noses, homework, sports practices, injuries, time outs and worry.  I've loved every one of those days.  Okay, maybe not every minute of every day, but like millions of other women, I feel like being a mom is what I'm supposed to do.

Wow, that is one puffy, tired face.  But the kid is cute!

When we brought C home from the hospital, it was difficult and scary.  He cried all the time, I was exhausted, and I kept wondering what I had gotten myself into.  My grandma had warned me that the newborn days were the hardest stage and that they wouldn't last long.  Within a few weeks we had settled into a routine and before I knew it my little redhead boy was one.

Then the terrible threes hit (it was the threes instead of the twos at our house).  I was so frustrated with C that I spent half the day taking deep breaths and reminding myself that I DID love him and didn't want to offer him up for international adoption.  Between tantrums -his and mine- my friends told me that this was the hardest stage and he was just trying to exert his new found independence.  We rode the toddler roller coaster and eventually it passed.


And most recently, the teen years.  Arguments, sulking, slamming doors, rude looks - could I send him away for a few years?   Once again my patience was tested and I wondered what I had gotten myself into. One day I called my mom in tears, telling her that I thought C hated me - and I was pretty sure the feeling was mutual.  She calmed me down and told me that this was the hardest stage, and soon it would pass.

All of them were right at the time, and those hard stages HAVE passed.  My tiny 6 pound baby is now over 6 feet tall, and he is a kind, intelligent, thoughtful young man.  Time to sit back, relax, and marvel that we all made it through alive.  But wait - we're heading into a new stage, and I think it's going to be the hardest one yet.


One day soon, C will be moving on to the next exciting part of his life - except I won't be in it every day. The best word I can use to describe what I'm feeling is heartbroken.  I know it's silly and ridiculous, but I can't seem to stop.  For 7,001 days I've had the privilege of watching him grow and sharing his successes and failures.  I can't imagine what it's going to be like without his crazy energy in the house.  My husband says it will be quieter and cleaner - sigh - he just doesn't understand.

Recently my mom told me that she cried every day for three months when I left for college.  I had no idea at the time and I'm sure I would have thought she was being over dramatic.  But now I get it.  I know that I will always be C's mom and he'll always need me in some way, but it just won't be the same.

I have some time before C finishes his undergraduate studies and then leaves for Italy to continue his training. Wait a minute - what if he meets an Italian woman and never comes back?  Oh good lord - deep breaths :).

I'm thankful that my kids won't be living at home in their 30's with a drug problem like the family down the street.  I'm lucky that they are alive, healthy and strong enough to go out into the world and make a life for themselves.  I know all that, but all I'm hearing in my head is blah, blah, blah.  This really is THE hardest stage - and nobody told me about it.

38 comments:

  1. My mom cried for months after I left for college too. Didn't find out about that until years later.

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    1. I guess they didn't want us to feel bad? Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I love this post...I'm not there yet on my journey as a momma, but it's great insight into what shall come. And I know I'll be a cry-er.

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    1. Thanks Deena. I'm definitely a cry-er...like mother like daughter I guess!

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  3. Such an exciting time for you. Beng a mom is the best! It was the terrible threes for us too...

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    1. I like your positive words. It is an exciting time, and I need to remember that too!

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  4. awwww momma! I'm early into my motherhood journey but I know that with each new stage there are a whole new set of challenges. I may complain about the sleepless nights now as a result of a wide-awake little one, but I'll complain later when I have sleepless nights worrying about my baby out and about.
    It never ends does it?
    You're a strong woman though, you got this and we'll help you through it!

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    1. Thank you so much - I can't tell you how much your kind words mean to me! I'm 47 and my mom still worries about me all the time - so I guess it never does end!

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  5. Now I have tears in my eyes!
    I will say that while it is true we mourn each of our children's passing stages, the following ones always seem to be better than expected!
    I cried almost the whole 10 hours it took to get home from dropping my daughter at college. Just walking past her empty room, or realizing I had set the table for four instead of three would set me off again.
    But, my daughter will soon be home for the summer, and I have survived the school year. I've missed her, definitely. We have remained close though, with texting and phone calls; and I am happy that she is doing what makes her happy. Good luck to C with his future - and let me know if you need a shoulder to cry on!

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    1. Susan - thank you so much for your kind words! Your friendship means a lot to me. So glad your daughter will be home soon for the summer - I'm sure you'll have so much fun. Thank goodness for texting.

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  6. I totally relate to you because my son is also graduating high school in two weeks and going off to college mid August. Eventhough he wont be far, he will be staying at the dorm which practically means moving out....I can't imagine it yet but I know I will be going through lots of kleenex boxes. He is also my only child so there is no one else to occupy my time with. Having said all that I am exteremly proud of him and I know its his time to move on and I have to let him go. This is what we work so hard for...to prepare our kids as much as possible for the real world. Good luck with your journey.

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    1. You are exactly right - this is what we prepare them for. Congratulations to you and your son on his graduation! Thanks so much for commenting.

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  7. I cried for a bit when my oldest moved on to college but having him home for holidays and breaks made our time together even sweeter. It got much easier as time went on, and it was also easier with each kid that followed when they moved out. Hang in there---it'll be ok, I promise!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad to know it gets easier with each kid - I worry that I'll completely lose it when the younger one goes!

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  8. I'm entering this stage now and it is much harder than I thought. Each stage has brought its challenges though and the new ones have always turned out fine. I laughed at the Italian girl. I would be thinking that too! :)

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    1. You're right - the other stages turned out okay, and I know this one will too. Thanks!

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  9. Aww lovely post, my oldest son went to Uni last year, it was so hard when he first went..

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    1. Thank you. Congrats to your son! I know it will get easier with time.

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  10. I can totally relate to this. We have an only child and she is my best friend and constant companion. I can't imagine our house when she is not here every day. I am learning to live in the moment and love every second with her. It will be an adjustment for you, but God will see you through! Susan

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    1. I am trying to do better and enjoy the moments, rather than worry about the future.

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  11. Oh man. You made me cry. My son (the baby) graduated last year and I cried as well. He comes home from college and I cry and he leaves to go back and I cry. We love them so much and it's hard to see them go out into the world without us. You've done an amazing thing, raising a young man to be kind and thoughtful in this world. Good job mom. I wish I could pass you the tissues. Praying for you for a smooth transition. =)

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    1. Thank you SO much. It helps to know you survived! I definitely need more tissues - but I'm trying hard to focus on the positive.

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  12. I cried when each of my children left. And again when they came back. And left again. I'm crying now at this beautiful post . . .

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    1. Thanks Diane. I have a feeling I'll cry when they come and go too. My poor husband :)

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  13. That was a beautiful - and daunting to someone who's oldest is 9 - post. Visiting from #typeaparent.

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  14. It seems like yesterday that I took off to college myself. And I was the one that cried my eyes out because I was so nervous about what was to come. My mother might have cried too, but I think it was more for not being able to help me cope. Once the academic year had started, things fell in place and I loved it.

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    1. I cried when I went to college too. So many of my friends couldn't wait to get away from their parents, but I liked home. I did end up loving college as well - I still miss those days sometimes. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading.

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  15. My kids are 15 - 23. I feel your pain. Sorry.

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Beautiful post.

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    1. Thank you. It has really helped hearing that everyone else makes it through alive!

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  16. I will be a part of this journey next year. Wow where have all the years gone? There are days where I wish I could ship her back to my home land of London..... Teens suck sometimes. Other times they rock! I think this is natures way of getting us used to the idea of them leaving... Good luck in your next part of the journey... See ya there next year!

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    1. Thank you! I've always thought that the teen years are so difficult so it makes it easier to let them go.

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  17. So sweet. I, too, have a grad this year. Fortunately, she is going to a local college! Eventually, she wants to move across the country. Noooooooo!! Hang in there. :)

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    1. Thank you Kelly. My son is sticking around for a few years too, but then he will be going to Italy - too far away!

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  18. What's ahead and the unknown terrifies me. I love every second (okay, just about) and every challenge (again, almost) of parenthood. But, oh my goodness, "letting go" to college has got to be difficult. We'll all be there eventually. Best wishes!

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    1. Thank you Julie. I know it's just another stage of life, but it's a really hard on. I appreciate the support!

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  19. It is very difficult to let them go, but it's also so exciting to see the different areas they explore. It's also nice when they let you be part of their exploration.

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    1. Thanks Pam. I know there are so many positives to where we are now, and I'm trying to focus on those.

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