Hard Goodbyes

I just dropped Janey off at preschool.  She is going three mornings a week for 2 1/2 hours.  We went to a mom/child orientation for an hour and she wouldn't let go of my hand so I have been up the last two nights letting all the fears of a bad parting grow in my head. 

But today she woke up excited to go, and when I took her out of the car and the helper came to take her to the preschool line, she turned and said, "Mom I want you to take me in."  I said, "Only teachers are allowed, and this nice lady is going to take you to your classroom."  She said, "OK"  and walked to the line.  I watched her little hands covering her little eyes-not from tears but from the bright sun.

And I told myself I would not lose it, I would not cry, it's 3 fast mornings a week, it's so good for her, she wants to be around other little friends, all the kids have done it and loved it, I have been home with her for all this time, I will still get her all the other days, her teacher is one of my mother mentors for God's sake, it's a long road till she leaves for college, GET IT TOGETHER.

I got in the car and lasted till the end of the building
and now it's the ugly cry.  Driving home without tissues and thank God it's a route I know well.

I prepared a list of things for me to do, vacuum therapy is what I call it.  It works for everything.  Cookie baking therapy does too but that has repercussions, some of which I am still working off.

Because it's been so many years of this.
And I love it.

And I want it to last forever.  I am not ready to let the little years go, but I have realized I never will be.

I said on the way in to school "I wish I could have babies forever.  But that would be weird because I'd be like an old Grandma saying "Look at my newborn!"

And Andrew said, "Yes and you would die and that wouldn't be fair to the kids."  

This is such an Andrew thing to say, that right brained, logical way of thinking, straight up and out of his mouth.

But I mean it. I love it. And I don't want it to end. Or change, I should say, because mothering never ends, I know that.  I want a toddler in my house forever.  I want a little tiny soft hand to hold, and toys in my living room, someone "helping" me bake cookies, and all of it.  I dragged this out as long as I could, I will give myself credit for that at least.  

I cried when I dropped off Abbey too at college this year,  It feels like she is never coming back.  And it seems like yesterday that I dropped her off at the same preschool. And maybe that's why it's so hard.  This perspective of having young adults all the way to a little ones, seeing the warped speed of time and asking yourself so many times, "How did we get to this point so quickly?"

I am so grateful for all the years I've had with these kids at home.  I'm grateful that I can't regret a moment of not being here, and that goodbyes are hard, especially with little ones, because I haven't said them very much at all.  

Off to vacuum.


  1. I have read your blog for years and your wisdom, awareness of emotions without dwelling in a dark place has been inspirational to me. I am a mom of three and my littlest starts preschool this year. The years of having a pal at home are coming to a close, phase one being three mornings a week preschool! I'm with you in spirit, Sarah, as we take heart!

  2. Oh I can't believe little Janey is off to preschool. I get a lump in my throat knowing that same feeling of having to see them off and say goodbye! My youngest started full day Kindergarten and I can't wrap my head around it. Everyone says times just keeps going faster and I don't want to believe it.
    Well, Janey sure looked sweet in her dress and bookbag - there's peace in knowing they're right where they should be (as hard as it is for us!)

  3. Oh this post! I teared up just reading it. I'm having a hard time with this transition, too. I'm glad we're in it together.

  4. I just want to thank you for sharing your feelings on this wonderful blog. I've been reading it for 5 years now and always feel like your posts are worth my time. I always finish reading them feeling more uplifted and encouraged. I am a mom of four (8 down to newborn) and although I love being at home, sometimes I get tired and lose sight of the big picture. I also appreciate reading something that encourages motherhood, the importance of family, faith and morals. Your blog continues to inspire me!

  5. Maybe I've needed to vacuum all these years of being sad about my kids growing older! Janey will soar! She is SO loved!

  6. My youngest of 5 started 1st grade this year. I teared up the first day but didn't ugly cry. Yesterday I drove by the school and saw him at recess and I lost it. I miss him and my house is too quiet. People are laughing at me because I should be enjoying my freedom and quiet. I love being a mom to my 5 more than anything and I also love having my little ones around. I'm so glad I read this today and that someone else gets it! My oldest started his senior year this year so I'm also emotional about that one. Time to go before I start the ugly cry this morning.

  7. I loved reading this. I have one going into kindergarten, one going to preschool and another turning a year in the next few weeks I'll be a ball of emotions.

  8. before you know it, grandbabies!

  9. And grandbabies are so special and wonderful, you'll be thrilled your kids grew up to have them! I went to work full time when the youngest (of four) was in 8th grade. Now he's 31, and I'm going to retire at the end of the school year (April 2017). But this has just been a JOB; motherhood was/is my career.

  10. Off to vacuum. Love it :-). On the subject of vacuuming... I have been wondering what type of carpet you have and if it has held up well to your kids and pet? I think if anyone would be able to vouch for a carpet it would be you! We are in the process of picking out a carpet and I would love your feedback/opinion as I have four children. Thanks!!'

    1. Hi there! I have a love/mostly hate relationship with carpet, but the fact is that it's more comfortable than hardwood and my husband prefers it so I must live with it.
      When we put in the addition, I found that the carpet we used in the rest of the house when we moved in was discontinued unfortunately. I really like carpet that matches everywhere, so I found a similar weave/exact color match. It's only been in two years though, and so far so good, but I can't vouch for endurance. The old carpet has held up super well (9 years), BUT I have it cleaned at least once a year professionally. I recently was recommended by a friend a carpet cleaning company and this guy did a fabulous job compared to the other company I had used in the past-honestly my old carpet looks almost new again everywhere, even the stairs, and we had a little red Gatorade throw up incident this past winter that I worked so hard to get out and had lost hope-all out now! AND he was cheap, so this guy is a keeper. I think that's the key!
      The new carpet info:
      Mohawk Horizon Collection
      1Q Elegant Escape (style)
      Western Ridge (color)

      The old carpet is this exact color and a Berber also, and was a Stainmaster Xtra Life carpet?

      I go for the sisal look Berbers, the darkest color I can handle.

    2. Thank you! Your carpet looks great and I really appreciate you taking the time to share the info! Have a great day :-)

  11. Sarah my heart is with you! My kids are entering 1st grade and 4 year old preschool (just three mornings a week for 3 hours) and my two year old is at home with me. People ask me what I'm going to do with my two year old - and I say "what do you mean? Just be together!" Every year seems to bring new emotions. Thank for you for sharing your words - this helped me put a few things in perspective for me. I'll be keeping my vacuum handy starting next week...

  12. I loved reading this :( & :)
    As my kiddos get older, now 5th and 8th graders, I am SO thankful that I stayed home. Reading your blog Sarah always reaffirms our decision. Being a mom is a career, don't ever doubt it. :)

  13. Love, love, love your amazing words. I have one in college, one in his senior yr in high school and a 7th grader. We homeschooled for many years (oldest for 11 years) and the youngest wanted to try school early. I miss him so. Every day I ask why we have to go this route... but I realize he is growing up and loves to be around others. We have a decent school (best in state or so it is said) but I miss the time together.

    I have often shared your blog with others. You write such meaningful words that I so relate to. Thank you for taking the time to share. I also enjoyed the wisdom of your letter to your kids. I shared that one with my 3 boys. The days can be long... but the years are so dang short.

    Thank you again,
    Rebecca in SC

  14. Have you ever thought about doing foster care? That would let you have little ones in the house and also help out some children. My friend had an empty nest for 6 months and then ended up taking guardianship of 3 young boys. She complains about being sleepless but I think she really loves it :)

  15. Sarah, I just cried right along with you while I read your post. I, too, wish I still had a toddler. This past weekend I moved my oldest into her first post-grad apartment. It seems surreal. My "baby" is now a junior in high school. I often wish time would just stop, if it can't turn back altogether, but then I marvel at how their lives are unfolding and try to keep my tears to myself. Good luck this year. Maybe there's an old friend you'd love to reconnect with that you could meet for coffee once a week? That would still leave two mornings for vacuum therapy!

  16. Yes, Sarah, the years fly by. This time of year always makes me nostalgic. I still remember being a child and having a pit in my stomach when I had to say good bye to my mom on the first day of school. Now, my oldest is heading to high school - the same school where I graduated 30 years ago!! It seems like only yesterday I was starting my freshman year!!! I'm sure your house has been vacuumed quite a bit these days!! xoxo

  17. Your posts always make me laugh and cry all at the same time! You are such an amazing woman and Mother! I have just been realizing myself how fast the years really do go by now that I have my oldest of 5 children in her 2nd year of High School, and my youngest just turned 4 and is doing preschool 3 mornings a week too. Oh how I love to see them grow and learn, but how much I want them to stay chubby babies on my shoulders, and happy toddlers!

  18. This is where I am right now! Except I've only had 3, but I never want the young stages to end, just like you said! I just had a talk with my husband about maybe we should be more open to the possibility of another little one (we're Catholic), maybe God has a plan for another sweet baby to grace our home!

  19. I have 5 babies. oldest girl is 16, boy 12, girl 6, girl 3, boy 1. So I have 2 toddlers at home and it's like having twins. It's a sad time and a happy time. There will be no more unless God has other plans, I dread the day I drop my last baby boy off to prek, but I also look forward to a new chapter. My Emma will go to prek next year, but Charlie has a while. I will get to enjoy him to myself a couple years before he's ready. I've been following you for years and have tried a lot of your recipes, and tips on house love and I have definitely grasped the purging and having less.

  20. I am crying as I read this, sitting up at 3.00am nursing my nearly 4 week old...because I know you are right and I love my babies, all of them, so much and I wish I could keep them here with me forever too. Time does go too fast.

  21. Gosh, Sarah. I haven't been in blogland in a while, so I had to pop in to catch up on yours...and this post. THIS. Just a reminder why you are truly my favorite blogger. You write what is in my heart! I have four girls and my oldest just became a teenageer and my youngest just started 1st grade, which here is when they start going to school full-day. I've been in a weird funk all Sept/Oct and truthfully, wish I could press pause on this stage of our life for the next ten years. I love my little girlies, and I always imagined life up to this point. So it's been a lot of soul-searching and trying to figure out what is next! (This is NOT to say that life still isn't crazy busy, as it always is, but I feel like now we have this next stage and I need to figure out what's expected of me.) I miss my little sidekicks, that's for sure!