I call this season of life “the transitional chapter.” It’s the chapter in which
your Mom duties look very different than they once did. I no longer have to check over homework, sign planners and volunteer in the classroom. Diapers and bottles? That seems like a lifetime ago. There is no more Room Mom and school holiday parties. Evenings are often quiet around here, as one kiddo is off at the coffee shop studying for midterms and the other is at a sports practice that will last late into the night. No littles running around, no bath time, no bedtime stories. The elves don’t come out anymore, and I no longer have to hide presents that will be from Santa. My Mom duties now look like helping to plan for SATs, college tours and a lot of, “Please be careful.” I sometimes long for those freshly bathed, yummy-smelling babies in their jammy jams. My home is so very quiet, and I know this is a foreshadow of our near future.
On the other hand, I also bask in my teenagers’ independence and truly enjoy watching them create their own lives. Witnessing this transition equally tugs on your heartstrings while also offering a glimpse at what it will be like to have yourself back one day. As a mom, these children and my husband have been my whole world throughout my entire adult life. My schedule, my work, my everything, revolves around them. What will it look like in one year when our first is off to college, and then four years after when we become empty nesters? I dread it and fantasize about it all at once. We put in the time. We sacrifice. We succeed, and we fail (a lot). Time is something we cannot get back. With that, I remind myself that they are still here and under my roof even if the evenings are quiet and their needs are less. These young-adult children still very much need me but in different ways. The conversations are deep, real and often hard. They are seeing and dealing with real life and look to us for guidance. What a gift it is to co-pilot with my husband as we rear and prepare these humans to go out into the world.
However, with all that being said, I still miss their little chubby cheeks. I miss the hip holding and bath time. I miss their tiny voices. I’m coming to know that every season, every chapter, is so uniquely special, and we, as moms, need each other through each and every phase. Once your kids start driving, the tribe starts to dwindle. We don’t meet at the park for playdates, we don’t coordinate carpools, and we plan school parties. It shifts right along with your growing children. This shift is good and natural, but navigating it can feel a little lonely at times — and yet I can only imagine this is just the beginning of the real transition.
As I sip a glass of wine with my pup beside me, I honor all of the mama warriors who are in each season. It may look easier or harder from the outside, but know whatever chapter you are in, that you are seen and felt. There is true meaning in this being the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Oh, and if I love on your little or throw them on my hip and fill them with snacks, thank you. Thank you for letting me grab those sweet snuggles. It means more to this mom-in-transition than you will ever know. Cheers to you, all of you.
Nicole DeLoreto is a Jacksonville native and calls the beaches home. She loves journeying through life with her husband Derek and being a mama to two teenagers, Anabella, Dominic and their fur boy German Shepherd Koda. Nicole is a former member of the ROAR of the Jaguars and loves her hometown team. She is the owner and founder of Yoga Mix in Neptune Beach where she is committed to being not only an owner but also a teacher and student of the practice. She is a lover of yoga, of course, along with good wine, running, snow-skiing and all things the salt life.