Carrie has four daughters and runs Write On! Workshops--a summer writing camp for children.

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Facebook Status: Home alone on the first day of school

first day of schoolI was up before the sun this morning, making breakfast for my high school daughter, gently shaking my junior high daughter awake, and driving my sixth grader to her early morning piano class. I let my first grader sleep as long as possible. But finally, I had to shake her awake too–help her untangle her hair, and search for her stuffed panda to take for show and tell.

It was a wild rush, but now it is just me. Sitting here. Listening to the hum of the refrigerator and click of this keyboard. This is day six of a new phase in my life called “Mommy is Home Alone” and it is a little sad to me.

Like many moms who carry an iPhone in their pockets, I have reached out to Facebook for comfort.  My status on the first day of school went like this:

I am home alone today for the first time in 16 years. My first grader was doing a victory dance. I am the only one crying. Being a mom is a great run. 

While I got a lot of “likes” and Facebook sympathy from friends facing the same situation, I also received several comments that have buoyed me up and given me some new perspective. (Facebook sometimes gets a bad rap, but seriously, in what other era could this happen?) Here are a few thoughts that help around 8:30 a.m. each morning:

From my friend Vonae: What a beautiful family you have! May you enjoy some time to ponder their beauty and enjoy your own while they are away!

Ever since I have read Vonae’s comment, I keep thinking back to times when my babies were sleeping.  Whenever I would sneak in to check on them, I would be stunned by how beautiful they looked snuggled in their crib. No matter how hard, ornery or demanding they might have been during waking hours, watching them sleep would rouse a reminder of how remarkable they were.  They are still remarkable, but in the face of, say, the mad rush this morning or a fight over who gets to ride “shotgun” in the car pool, I don’t often ponder this. If I choose to make it so, these quiet hours can be a chance for me to remember. Just walking through their bedrooms and seeing evidence of last night’s coloring, dog-earred books on the floor, and crumpled pajamas reminds me how great it really is to still be living together under the same roof and watching them grow.

From my Aunt Lynette: Carrie, you will soon see what a fun new stage this is in your life to have some time to yourself again. They all come home in the afternoon again, so I say–enjoy! Let the new hobbies begin!

For the past sixteen years I’ve weighed every activity on the scale of how does this affect my children? While this scale still counts, Lynette’s comment reminded me that I now have more freedom to look inside myself and see what I really want to do. This takes some of the morning sting away and opens up possibilities. Life coach Jim Rohn said, “It is important to pursue interests while raising your children so that when your children grow up they will find you interesting.” I wonder how interesting my children would find this blog post?

Finally, from my friend Kristy: Lots of marvelous mom moments coming up for you to look forward to!

When I turned seventeen, I remember feeling impossibly sad about growing too old. (Ha! I know it is very funny now.)  From my tiny perspective, I thought all the birthdays from then on would blend into a boring blob of adult-hood. Little did I know how much I still had to look forward to.  Kristy has seven children. Her youngest daughter started her senior year last week. Her comment makes me think that perhaps, like my skewed perspective on my seventeenth birthday, Kristy knows something I don’t.

In the stillness of this morning,  I miss them. But if Kristy is right, there are more marvelous mom moments I don’t even know about yet.

A blank page of possibilities. And lots more status updates.

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