Sunday, May 15, 2011

The End of an Era

This evening I attended my last high school choir concert. This is really the last activity except for the graduation ceremony next Sunday evening - and then my youngest child will be out of high school and ready to venture out into the world on her own.

And with that pivotal moment in her life --- my career as "mom" will come to an end.  Oh, I realize that I will always be a mother, but the job description will definitely change.  I will no longer be responsible for my children's well-being and teaching them to become independent; they have already grown up and become fine upstanding citizens who can make it just fine on their own.  I will be trading in my role as disciplinarian  for that of friend.  And while I am very much looking forward to this new relationship, it is rather sad that my lifelong dream of becoming a "mommy" is now over.

I look back over these past twenty-five years and truly wonder where the time went.  I remember when my oldest was three months old and I as I looked out our bay window in New York City and I saw a young toddler riding a tricycle I wondered aloud, Will she ever get that old?  Will she ever be able to walk on her own and express her feelings in some other way than crying in the middle of the night? And here Megan is today waking up in the middle of the night with her own little girl.  As I was raising my children, the days often seemed to drag, but somehow the years have passed much too quickly.

From the time they were infants, I tried to instill a love of music in each of my children.  While I never excelled in vocal performance, being a part of the band was my saving grace in high school.  It gave me a sense of belonging at a time when I often felt out of place - and I wanted my own children to experience that kind of acceptance.  And each one of them have --- although none of them through instrumental music, but all of them through voice.  My eldest toured with the Continental Singers the summer before her senior year, and she attended Belmont University for music business.  My son enjoyed several leads in school musicals, and is currently living in Nashville and pursuing his career in audio engineering.  And while Mandy does not plan to continue to study music in the future, she has definitely developed her singing talent over these past three years.

Tonight Mandy sang a solo - which she dedicated to her Gram, my mother, in front of a packed auditorium of over 500 people.  My hands shake when I have to speak in front of more than three people, but Mandy was so well-poised and sang beautifully.  I tried to videotape the performance, but due to my amateur status, the picture and sound did not mesh.  Suffice it to say, she did great and has made both her parents quite proud.

So tonight signals the end of an era.  The end to a great run as parents to three amazing children.  And now as we close the chapter on this particular book of life, I look forward to seeing what other adventure stories lie ahead.

18 comments:

Book Dragon said...

That was beautiful!

My youngest received his GED and I was so thankful I didn't stop to think about my changing status as "Mom".

Beth F said...

Here's to bright future for you and Mandy! Welcome to the new era.

Kay said...

Molly, congratulations to your daughter. She looks beautiful and I know you are so proud of her.

Good for you, looking forward to the next stage of your life. Empty nesting is underrated and a great time, in my opinion. My husband and I have been very happy during this last 10 years. We certainly love our daughter dearly, but it's still great. LOL

bermudaonion said...

Your daughter is beautiful and I can tell that she will continue to make you proud. It's so funny that we try to raise our children to be independent and then it kind of hurts when they are.

C.B. James said...

A very nice column. Congratulations and best of luck to your daughter and to you. On to the next stage of life!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I am wistful for you, as I know this day will come for me sooner than I could imagine. However, I do have a list started of things I'm going to do once they move out. We dedicate our lives to raising them and catering to their every needs. Now it is your turn.

JoAnn said...

This is a beautiful post. We will reach these same milestones over the next few weeks... definitely a bittersweet time for all of us. Here's to the next stage of life - for the kids and their parents!

ds said...

Beautiful, Molly. Congratulations to Mandy, and to you. It does pass so quickly--enjoy your new role as "friend", and the new adventures that life will bring you.

Staci said...

Oh Molly,

I so love the way you write and how you invite us into your world and share this last milestone. She's beautiful and you're such an awesome mother. I often wonder too how the years have gone by so fast.

Inside A Book said...

What a beautiful friend you have raised. What a blessing to have her sing to honor your mom and her Gram. That's a memory that will be cherished by so many.

I went kicking and screaming into this stage of life but with time I have come to embrace the changes. I fill my cup with kiddos at school, with my reading, friends, church, family,and journaling. I adore bike rides with my husband, day-trips and impulsive adventures that he conjours up to help me enjoy a new chapter of life.

Thanks for sharing another portion of yourself. Breathe slowly. Inhale. Exhale. Enjoy.

Jenners said...

You should feel so proud that you did a wonderful job as a parent. All of your kids seem happy and living fulfilling lives. Your daughter is so lovely and what poise to sing in front of 500 people!! I know I couldn't do it. I think you'll find the next phase of motherhood very fulfilling too.

Carola Bartz said...

You have such a beautiful daughter. I have another five years until my girl will graduate from high school and then leave the house. Sigh - only five short years.
This is such a beautiful post, Molly. I really love what you wrote.

Liz said...

Congratulations to all of you! So fun to get to be there vicariously with your wonderful pictures and description. Here's to the next amazing chapter!

Becky said...

What a great moment as a mother! Thanks for sharing such a sweet experience.

Kathleen said...

I can't wait to hear all about what the next chapter of your life will be like. My son graduates next year and I am facing the dreaded empty nest too!

lifeonthecutoff said...

Your daughter is beautiful, Molly, and certainly a bit more grown up than "Hermione" of just a few months ago. Sigh. Enjoy the graduation to come and the months ahead. You've done a good job as a parent and what will be will be.

Best.

Alyce said...

What a beautiful post! I have to admit that from where I'm at that seems like such a long time from now. Then I think of how quickly the past ten years have gone and I know it will all pass by sooner than I can imagine.

Bree said...

It does go by so fast. One minute they are in diapers and the next they are in college. My youngest is graduating this year too. So I am doing the "last of everything" routine as well - last orchestra concert, last day of public school, last ceremony, etc. With only having 2 children, I realized this year that everything has double meaning: everything for me was either the first time or the last time. No inbetween. My youngest is packing up her room to leave for summer job and college in fall and its weird to think I can finally move and only haul around my stuff. Good luck getting through graduation.

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