A Little Girl And A Big School Bus – Embracing The Moments (And Emotions) That Remind Us Our Children Are Growing Up

A Little Girl And A Big Bus - Embracing The Moments (And Emotions) That Remind Us Our Children Are Growing Up | thisgratefulmama.com

Two weeks ago our four year old sunshine girl climbed the stairs of a school bus for the first time. Unexpected mom-emotions threatened to overtake me as my mind raced with thoughts of all she would experience – good and bad – while away from me.

She’s growing up.

She rocked 3’s preschool and has been away from me for countless bible studies, Sunday school, and more. But as I watched her climb onto that big school bus wearing that giant-flamingo backpack, she looked so small.

Isn’t that my baby up there? 

Parenting is full of these emotion-fueled moments – when we realize our children are growing up and stepping a little further into the world. These moments remind us that we cannot control our kids or their experiences.

She didn’t hesitate as she turned back, grinning with sparkling eyes as she waved goodbye.

She didn’t hesitate. So why was I?

I stood, choked up and snapping pictures. I waved furiously with a smile plastered to my face as the bus drove away.

The bus rounded the corner. The only evidence it had been there at all was the plume of exhaust and my husband, mom and I gazing at an empty street.

Sunshine girl was on her way to school with a bus load of new friends. Without me. 

Year by year, our children will spend more time at school and activities, with people other than us. They gather life-skills and knowledge and are slowly equipped to become independent, functioning adults.

Independent. Of us. 

And what of us, their parents? Once their ‘whole world’ and providers of everything they need – we’re gradually needed less and less as our role continually changes.

We proudly cheer them on, celebrating new freedoms and opportunities while acknowledging that there is less we can protect them from. We’re grateful they don’t grow up overnight, even if looking back, it feels like it did.

And this is all right and good. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

Or unemotional.

Our emotions are real and powerful. And sometimes emotions creep up out of nowhere and threaten to knock us off our feet.

We need to adapt and learn to not only accept but embrace these moments and the emotions they stir up.

Stop Comparing

Your emotions are yours. They don’t belong to your neighbor, friend, or that mom over there that you don’t even know.

Stop comparing. Every parent feels emotions and processes them differentlyWhat you feel as your child climbs onto the school bus is ok.

A Little Girl And A Big School Bus - Embracing The Moments (And Emotions) That Remind Us Our Children Are Growing Up | thisgratefulmama.com

You don’t have to apologize for crying, even if you’re the only mom ugly-crying on the curb as the bus drives away.

Quit worrying about what everyone else is doing and give yourself permission to feel it all.

So now we admit we have these emotions and we’re not worried about what everyone else is doing. Now what?

Own It

We love our children. So it makes sense that our emotions can be fierce. Letting go and watching our children step out into the world is hard. And excitingAnd scary.

Stifling emotions never really works. They just bubble out later in another way or at someone else, with increased intensity.

Feel something? Own it.

So what if you’re an ugly-crying mess at the bus stop? So what if you’re the only dry-eyed mom in the crowd? So what if summer was so long and tiring that a part of you feels like celebrating and maybe a twinge guilty about that (or maybe you feel no guilt)?  So what if you’re suddenly crying in Target 3 hours later because you just miss them?

What if your kids see you? While we do need to have wisdom and discernment about how and what we share with our children, it is ok for them to see you express what you feel.

In these milestone moments, watching you feel and process emotions in a healthy way gives your children permission to feel and process their own. 

A Little Girl And A Big School Bus - Embracing The Moments (And Emotions) That Remind Us Our Children Are Growing Up | thisgratefulmama.com

 

Process It

Do your emotions surprise you? Days before school started, I expected to cry at the bus stop. Then, that morning as we stood waiting for the bus I felt only excitement. I was happy and exited – not sad at all!

Then she took those first steps up and WHAM!

When emotions surprise me, the best way to work through them is to process them. Feel them. Think through them. Talk about them.

This does require time and energy but is too important to pass up.

Go to God – Night or day, God is always available. Our loving Father loves to comfort His children. No matter the emotion, He already knows. When it comes to emotions I feel as a parent, it is such a comfort to know that God created our children and loves them even more than than I can. He listens and provides peace and comfort beyond our understanding. Try it! Pray through emotions and spend some time reading His word. He won’t leave you hanging.

Talk to a Friend – One of the reasons we need community is to process real-life with people who are willing to be authentic. We need to know we’re not alone and to be encouraged by other parents. Be honest. Cry if you feel like it. Speaking how we feel out loud is powerful.

Write – When home with kids all day, I can’t always process emotions out-loud with another adult. Journaling or blogging about what I’m feeling helps me find clarity and understand what I am feeling and WHY.

Celebrate 

One way to take the edge off of our emotions of sadness, longing or fear is to celebrate milestones – even if just official days like the first/last day of school and birthdays.

That said, we don’t need to celebrate everything. Celebrate events that are significant to your family and priorities. Celebrating puts the joy back into even the most bittersweet milestone.

A Little Girl And A Big School Bus - Embracing The Moments (And Emotions) That Remind Us Our Children Are Growing Up | thisgratefulmama.com

Celebrate with a meal, a sporting event or activity, a gift, a handwritten card, or an intentional conversation. Celebrate to remind your children that you’re cheering them on and proud of them.

Be Present

Finally, no matter how emotional you feel, at some point, you need to step out of your own head and step into the time and place you’re in.

I spent a couple hours dwelling in my own swimming emotions and thoughts before doing anything productive with them. Once I began to process them, I was able to step back into the day and be ready and excited to hear all about that first day of school. If I’d kept it all in, I’m not sure I would have been any good to anybody – just a puddle of tears and self-pity.

Be present with those right in front of you. Don’t let your emotions put you in a funk that steals quality time from you and your family.

A Little Girl And A Big School Bus - Embracing The Moments (And Emotions) That Remind Us Our Children Are Growing Up | thisgratefulmama.com

 

A Little Girl And A Big School Bus - Embracing The Moments (And Emotions) That Remind Us Our Children Are Growing Up | thisgratefulmama.com Embracing Moments

 

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5 Questions to Consider When Setting Your Family’s Fall Schedule

It isn’t September quite yet but I’m already seeing pictures of the first day of school. Do you struggle with the fall schedule? How do you decide what stays and what goes?

this grateful mama

5 Questions To Consider When Setting Your Family's Fall Schedule | thisgratefulmama.com

Hello September.

I can’t believe my second summer as a stay-at-home mom is finished already. Unlike last year, our mornings were free since our daughter dropped her morning nap. With no scheduled activities, we kept a very loose schedule.

The freedom…It. Was. Lovely.

We met friends at parks, went to the zoo (A LOT), ran errands on rainy days, and spent a lot of time relaxing, reading books, and playing at home.

My husband and I allowed bed and nap times to be more flexible than the rest of the year. If neighbor children were outside, we allowed the kids to play longer, and stayed later at events. We also allowed our little one to even skip naps for special family events (although she and WE all paid for that!).

The loose schedule did sometimes yield overtired, overstimulated, unruly and exhausted children. But, because it was summer, we simply stayed home the next day (or two) to get back on…

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Versatile Blogger Award Nomination

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination | thisgratefulmama.com

The more time I spend blogging and connecting with other bloggers, the more I am impressed with the talent and kindness of the blogging community. So many are willing to support each other, answer questions and encourage one another. I experienced a great encouragement and surprise this week when I was nominated by Two Little Homeschoolers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

First, THANK YOU Jessie for the nomination. It is an honor to be included in your nominations. It has been so fun to explore your blog and learn 7 more things about you from your award post!

I know you will love her blog as much as I do. She has great posts on organization, parenting and home school adventures. Check it out!

What is it? 

The Versatile Blogger Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers. The goal is to recognize talent of peers in the blogging community and to help readers learn more about the actual people behind each blog nominated.

Rules:

• Thank the blogger who nominated you and share their link.
• Nominate up to 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.  Also, inform them about the nomination.
• Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know.

7 Facts About Me:

1. I’m Not Famous – When I graduated high school I decided to be a pharmacist. When friends told me it was a boring job, I joked that I would be a FAMOUS pharmacist. Well. I’m not a pharmacist. And I’m definitely not famous. My parents still tease me.

2. Costco is my happy place – It. Just. Is.

3. Brave For Kids – While I am not afraid of all bugs, I am afraid of spiders and bugs that just look creepy – you know what I mean. In high school I was bitten by a spider and had some kind of reaction to it. Ugh. It was terrifyingly nasty and left a scar. Motherhood has challenged me to be brave for the kids. Now, I resist the urge to SCREAM and run away. I take a deep breath and squish it (so gross) while praying it doesn’t crawl up my shoe. So far the kids are brave and I hope they always will be.

4. Sunday is the Fun-day – When I worked full-time, Sunday was not my favorite – work was looming and the weekend was escaping me. I am grateful to have the privilege of being home with our kids. Now Sunday is my favorite day of the week – I love to start the day worshiping Jesus at church, and then spending the day as a family.

5. Belly Flop Award – I learned swimming basics just before junior high and joined the swim team because all my friends were doing it. On the first day of practice I had no idea that front crawl was called freestyle, nor had I EVER attempted the butterfly. My breaststroke was faster than my freestyle (NOT good). The entire season, I belly-flopped my way into each race as my parents cheered me on, praying I wouldn’t drown. Guys, the Versatile Blogger Award isn’t my first award – I won the Belly Flop Award at the team banquet that year.

6. Awkward – I am an introvert and need time to process thoughts before speaking. I am fine one-on-one but often feel socially awkward in large groups. It’s hard to figure out when to join the conversation – sometimes I speak at the wrong time or miss my chance as conversation moves on. In large groups I’m usually quiet and listening, or talking with one or two people in the corner.

7. Hometown Reluctance – When we got married, I told my husband we would never live in my hometown. Roughly 10 years later, that is exactly where we moved. And we love it.

Want to know more? Read About Me or my very first blog post to learn more about why I began blogging.

Versatile Blogger Award Nominations

Now for the fun part – I get the privilege of nominating other blogs I’ve been reading.

These are bloggers whose writing encourages, challenges and inspires.

Please spend some time checking them out – you won’t be sorry!

The Holly And Ivy Mommy

This Abundant Life Blog

Beautiful In God

Casey The College Celiac

The SAHM Writer

A Moose A Fox And Chaos

Cottage In The Oaks

Set My Heart On You

His Purpose In Me

Renovated Faith

Have fun guys – I cannot wait to read 7 facts about each of you and to see who you nominate!

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination | thisgratefulmama.com

Thank you again, Jessie, for the nomination and encouragement. This was a gift and so much fun!

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day)

How do you celebrate the fathers in your life?

this grateful mama

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

Can you believe that Father’s Day is already just over one week away? Father’s day is one of my favorites to prepare for – it’s a dedicated day to show my husband how much I appreciate him, and a day to help our children express how grateful they are for their daddy.

I often struggle with how to best express this intense appreciation and gratitude. We just want it to be a special day honoring the one who is so special to us.

Last year, we gave my husband a photo desk calendar, celebrated with a family meal, and our 3-year-old son gave a framed set of interview questions and answers. This year we want to shake it up a bit. Here’s a few ideas we’ve used in the past or are considering for this and future years.

(Now…if you are my husband reading this….this might be a good place to stop or you may…

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Gifts Moms With Little Ones Will Love

Need a last minute Mother’s Day gift idea?

this grateful mama

collage-final

Do you know a mom with little ones that you would like to bless this Christmas?

Well.

Then this list is for YOU! Whether she’s your mom, wife, friend, or daughter, here’s some gift ideas she’ll love.

*Note – I am not affiliated with any of the gifts below, these are simply some of my favorite items that I think other moms could use and would like.

thermosNo Spill Coffee Mug – You guys, this Thermos Stainless King 16 Oz Travel Tumbler is the best. Ever. I’ve been using mine daily for 3 years and it’s still in great shape. Why so great? I just throw it right in my purse or diaper bag because this lid DOES NOT leak (as long as you close the lid – a grievous mistake). Keeps coffee piping hot for 5 hours, or cold things cold for 9.

coloring-bookColor-therapy – What could be more soothing than…

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DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces

Looking for a meaningful Mother’s Day gift idea? You have plenty of time to make a Photo Pendant Necklace!

this grateful mama

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

You guys…

I’ve been working on a tutorial, but it isn’t done, and I just couldn’t wait any longer to share a photo of one of these necklaces!

Consider this a sneak peek because I just can’t help myself.

In July, our family celebrated the birthdays of my mom and my husband’s grandma. This year we found ourselves at a bit of a loss of what to give. Neither of them really need anything, nor do they really desire more ‘stuff’.

While they appreciate ALL gifts, personal gifts (especially those involving grandchildren or great-grandchildren) often elicit the most joyful response. You know, the face-lights-up-with-delight kind of response.

Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly collecting supplies to make photo pendant necklaces. I wasn’t sure when I’d make them or who to give them to, but it was something I really wanted to try. Taking my time to buy supplies, I was able to buy everything on sale or with…

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Just Once More…

In just 2 short weeks, this baby will be ONE and no longer a baby! Relishing these last ‘baby’ days as we head into a new stage of life.

this grateful mama

Just Once MoreI love being pregnant. Some people think that is weird, and I’m ok with it. I don’t love the nausea, aches and pains, or interrupted sleep, but there is just something incredibly special and sweet that words cannot quite describe.

At first, despite the sickness, I love the knowledge that a little someone is being knit together inside of me. There is simply nothing that compares to the truth that God, Himself, is creating and carefully making a person with their own unique features and personality. A miracle within. It is the knowledge that He chose me to be this child’s mom, my husband to be her dad, and that this baby is the perfect addition to our family.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full…

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