slow days. fast years.

We just finished our last parent-teacher interviews ever. That’s it. Another phase in our parenting life is over. I almost shed a tear.

Our youngest son will graduate from Grade 12 in June from Rosthern Junior College. Right now, he’s on a learning and service tour of Guatemala with the school. He has become independent, smart and adventurous.

Our eldest son will start fourth year university in the fall. He’ll graduate in 2020, get a real job and move out — or maybe get a Master’s degree — but he’s still moving out! He too is independent, articulate and intelligent.

How and when did that happen?  The days go slowly but the year fly fast.

For the last 15 years, like every parent out there, Kevin and I have kept up with our sons’ school lives — from making sure the reading checklist was done in Kindergarten, to creating last minute science projects out of copper pipe, duct tape and string in middle school, to discussing Lord of the Flies for Grade 12 English class.

Most of my 30’s and early 40’s are a blur in my memory punctuated with events captured in photographs. Those were the years of babies, sleepless nights and general house chaos followed by school fundraisers, volunteering, making meals on the fly (we ate A LOT of stir fry’s in those years), only to drive all over creation for extracurricular activities — all whilst building a farm business, trying to keep some semblance of a marriage, and enduring sleep deprivation.

In the midst of it all, the days seem never ending. Someone always wants mom for something. “Mom, have you seen my ____?”, “Mom, where did you put my ____?”, “Mom, I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat ____!” Will it ever end?

And then it does. Gulp.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish to go back in time.  I’ve loved every stage and am looking forward to figuring out this next phase with grown children.

Although Kevin and I bumbled our way along as young parents, and still fumble today with nearly adult children, there are a few things we got right:

  1. We were slacker parents. The kids could each pick one extra-curricular activity beyond school activities — that kept us running enough! We figured our kids will have their entire adult lives to be scheduled and “busy”. They need time to be kids — to play, to imagine and learn how it feels to be bored. [Wouldn’t you just love to be bored for a day or more?]
  2. We ate together. It’s a mixed bag of blessings to have your business within 50 metres of your home, but the big advantage was we could have at least one or two meals a day together. That is our time to connect, learn social skills and create a family routine.
  3. We took the vacation. We decided to buy memories instead of stuff. From the time the kids were 8 years old, we took an annual three-day summer road trip or fishing trip and a weeklong winter vacation every year.  We needed time to play together away from the 24/7 demands of farming. Those memories will last a lifetime.
  4. We created ritual. I wish we had done more of this now that I see how the boys will make time for our traditions, especially around the holidays.  For example, our Christmas celebrations would not be complete without watching “A Christmas Story” whilst eating Chinese food, celebrating Festivus with “noodles and red sauce” and “feats of strength” on December 23rd, and carol singing at church on Christmas Eve. Ritual defines our place in the world, connects us, and tells us we belong.

One accidental ritual that started in 2012 is our annual picture of me and the boys. Taken from behind, Kevin snaps a candid shot of us walking arm in arm somewhere every year. It marks the changes and growth in our family over the years.

As a mom, I treasure these pictures. I love the feel of my boys’ strong arms entwined with mine. We belong to each other as mother and sons even when life is challenging and relationships evolve.

This Mother’s Day, take the time to find the mom(s) in your life — if not necessarily biological, find the one(s) who love you unconditionally and walk with you. Put your arms around them and create a memory.

Melanie Boldt Written by:

10 Comments

  1. Lisa Paul
    May 7, 2019
    Reply

    What a beautiful post, and so absolutely true. Thank you for sharing that 🙂
    Lisa (mum to 2 amazing daughters aged 17 and 22).

  2. May 7, 2019
    Reply

    Sigh! This is a perfect tribute to life, love, and living in the moment! I have 4 grandchildren and have discovered that time goes even faster with the next generation. Rituals create memories. Thank you for writing this piece.

    • Melanie Boldt
      May 7, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks for reading. I’m not in a hurry for grandchildren yet but I will certainly savour every moment if I ever have the privilege of grandparenting!

  3. Kelly Witherly
    May 7, 2019
    Reply

    There is comfort in reading another mother’s view of their children growing up that aligns so closely with mine. We raised our girls in a big city and our values didn’t really align with other parents. Thank you for sharing. (mom to 2 girls ages 23 and 26)

  4. Maylane Wong
    May 7, 2019
    Reply

    How inspiring to hear of the ways you enshrined joy and love into your family life! It is so true that these memories will last forever. And the good thing is that you & Kevin, as well as your children will continue to create more memories to add to the treasures you have already stored up. Thank you so much for sharing, Melanie!

    • Melanie Boldt
      May 7, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Maylane! I appreciate the encouragement. Being a parent is the best thing that ever happened to us and and we’re loving this new phase of life with young adult children.

  5. Joan Yoder
    May 8, 2019
    Reply

    Ah, tears in my eyes Melanie as I read this! Blessings for all of you as your family continues on this life journey together.

    • Melanie Boldt
      May 8, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you Joan! It’s good to have friends like you along the journey. Hard to believe the years fly so fast!

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