The girls are 11 1/2 months apart. We went from zero kids to two kids in a year. Children that are a year apart, in my opinion, are harder than twins. Their development is not the same, and they are not far enough apart that the parents get a break before the next one begins.
All that being said,
Ashamedly, I tend to escape when I feel overwhelmed. Usually when they are home, squabbling or tearing the living room up. I escape to my computer. Or my phone.
Because when they were two, and wanted to play, I liked building blocks with them. Or swinging them on the swingset. Or reading them stories.
But now, they are older. And I have no interest in playing Barbies, or Ponies, or Fairies. I love my daughters' imaginations, but I have little patience for the intricacies of the societal norms of plastic toys.
And so, with full knowledge that time is slipping away, I read while they play. Or do laundry. Or make dinner. Because as they become more independent, I need some space. And I think this might be normal, but I feel guilty all the same.
Last year was their first year of all-day school. I spent a good part of last year staring at walls and roaming an empty house. It wasn't entirely unpleasant. I was tired.
When summer began, I was happy to have them home. We camped, got a new puppy, beefed up the chore list, reviewed some school, visited relatives and swam in the pool.
When they said school started August 21, I thought that seemed early.
And it is.
I'm not ready for them to go back.
But they already have.
We drove them to school this morning.
Dropped them off with their teachers.
And headed home.
I have a few things I want to do different this year. Staring at walls got boring. So I got started on my projects.
And 3:30 came faster than I thought it would.
Because I missed them.
More than I did last year. More than I thought I would.
It took my breath away how much I needed to see them again. To hear about their day. To feel them hug me and tell me they were happy to be home.
They were excited. Over ice cream, their words stumbled over each other's as they told me the details they remembered. And they were content with school.
And I am grieving. Just a little. But enough to surprise me.
I am proud. Proud they are confident little spirits who feel safe at school. Safe by themselves. They are able to navigate their ways through lunch and rules and homework.
The independence that I have longed for, they have achieved.
The little girl stage is gone. For both of them. But especially my oldest.
And she will break my heart as she grows up.
Because my youngest is my admirer.
She will always be a Mommy's Girl.
But my oldest is brave.
And shrewd. And seven.
She is trying her wings.
Especially with Mom. And my efforts at being direct with my children are being mirrored by her. Which can sometimes be jarring. From a seven-year old with a previously docile temperament.
And I know I have to let them go.
I know things change.
And if they didn't, something would be wrong.
But I'm not ready for summer to end.