As the birds leave the nest...

I'm having some serious mom-anxiety today.
We often hear of and talk about the anxiety of being a new parent. And that is admittedly an anxious time for a parent. No doubt. You are expected to keep a tiny little human alive and breathing and eating, all while getting like 43 minutes of sleep a day. No big whoop, right? Right.
But let me shine a little light on the anxiety of parenting a big kid. Today our oldest started high school football at a new school in a new city with new coaches and new teammates.
Mondays are Dad's day with the five. I work day shift every Monday so of course I felt a pang of guilt for not being around today. As a working-mom this kind of thing makes my anxiety sky rocket. Even though I love my career and my husband is 100% capable of doing all the parenting things, anytime I miss anything that involves the children I start to feel the guilt that our society places upon working-moms far too often. 
It also doesn't help that just a couple hours before his practice started we both realized that practice this week is SIX HOURS. Let me clarify, his practices are SIX. HOURS. A. DAY. 
My brain: What is he doing? Is he tired? He's going to be so sore. What if he gets injured? What if they're mean to him? He hasn't really made any friends yet. What if he hates it? OMG, he's going to be so hungry when he gets home. What if his phone dies during this SIX HOUR practice? I didn't get him a lock for his locker. What if someone steals his cleats?
My husband text me after he had dropped him off and expressed that it was not easy for him to just leave Caleb there. Even though Caleb said he was fine and that Rob could go - physically taking that step to walk away from your child is the opposite of what your instincts tells you to do.

When our kids are little we spend our days going TO them. When they're crying, hungry, messy, poopy, pee-y, frustrated, stuck, tired, crabby, thirsty, all of that. Our instinct tells us to go TO them. Then all of the sudden they start growing up and we find ourselves reluctantly walking AWAY from them?! What kind of sick joke is this parenting gig, anyway?! We don't want to walk away. They probably don't even want us to. But they find it in themselves to say "It's ok. You can go."
Of course there will be many more times we'll have to do this very thing. We are only on the cusp of his independence. So in the grand scheme of parenting we'll have to walk away countless more times, and I know this. But today, in our world - this is hard.
Watching him slowly leaving our proverbial nest is a combination of exhilarating and terrifying.  I always thought that by the time the oldest gets old enough to gain some independence I'd be ready for it and welcome his absence with open arms.
Confession: My sweet little baby who has been through more than most his age - he's growing wings, you guys. And I just wanna clip them right off.
There, I said it. I'm not proud but that's how I feel. Why is this so hard?
Thanks for reading. xo


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