This too shall (come to) pass.

I want to talk about stages of life.

Since early 2003, concepts like “personal space,” “alone time,” and “R&R” have only been dreamed about.  Fantasized, even.  Small children are parasites.  They cling on you, suck the life out of you, and basically consume you– blood, sweat and tears.  Of course, they’re also darling little bundles of spirit and light that shape our souls like nothing else, but that’s not the point of this post.  Mothering small children is hard.

Today was the first day of school in my neck of the woods.  Early this morning, Grant got up and excitedly got ready for his first day of first grade.  He gathered all his stuff (and made a weird face when he was supposed to say cheese).

DSCF0081We all went outside and waited at the neighborhood bus stop with a gaggle of school-goers and their siblings.

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Then we went back inside and began loading up Clark’s backpack with all the goods he would need for his first day of kindergarten, half day in the afternoon.  He and Natalie played nicely together for most of the morning and we had a little lunch and readied him for his big moment.

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He was the most excited about finally riding the bus.

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And he was off.  Natalie and I walked inside and she was ready to begin “Mommy School.”

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We hopped in the car, went to the store, purchased cupcake ingredients, zipped back home, and made pumpkin cupcakes for the boys’ first day after-school snack.

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She finished dumping the batter into cupcake liners, washed her hands, and I put her down for her afternoon nap.

The house was quiet.  I paid bills.  I made phone calls.  I signed up the boys for swimming lessons.  I checked email.  Fifteen minutes before the afternoon bus returned my boys, Natalie woke up from her two-hour nap.  We frosted the cupcakes and went outside to wait for her brothers.

They arrived, happy and excited.

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Natalie proudly shared her surprise.

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They told me about their day, called grandparents and repeated themselves several times, and we took a trip to the library.  Now they’re all in bed, asleep.

It. Was. Awesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, I did it.  I graduated to a new stage.  A stage I thought would never come.  I now have some free time every day.  I have quiet.  I have personal space.  I could take a nap!!

So, I just wanted to bear my testimony that the stages in life you long for really do come. Did I feel a twinge of regret about the things I probably should have done with them, the things I should have taught them better, all those years while they were practically surgically attached to me twenty-four hours a day?  Yes, I won’t lie.  But mostly, I got an unexpected lesson about my stewardship, and realized that with this new stage comes a new level of accountability.  All those important things that have been left undone for years because “there’s just no way” need to become part of my new reality.  Either that, or I’m a hypocrite.  I need to be responsible with the time I’ve been gifted and use it in ways that make me proud and still bless my family.  My “calling” as a mother is still the same, and I need to hold tight to my priorities now more than ever.  I don’t want to waste my new-found freedom.

And some day when I hit other stages, like all my kids at school all day, or they’re off to college, or Matt’s finally retired, my responsibilities will rise to the occasion.  A few scriptures come to mind, including, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, ” and “It is not requisite that a [woman] run faster than [she] has strength, … therefore, all things must be done in order.

So, this is basically a rally-cry to all you Stage One moms:  Stage Two really will come! And to all you Stage Two moms:  Let’s do this right! And to all you Stage Three and Four and Five moms:  I hate you. Just kidding.

The stuff we suffer will pass.  The stuff we hope for will come to pass.  Stages in life are good.  They are tangible markers of the progress of our souls.  I hope I leave a good mark.

“Hopefully you will find joy in your womanhood during all stages of your life.”  — James E. Faust

“The challenges you face, the growth experiences you encounter, are intended to be temporary scenes played out on the stage of a life of continuing peace and happiness. It is your understanding and application of the laws of God that will give your life glorious purpose as you ascend and conquer the difficulties of life.”  — Richard G. Scott

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31 thoughts on “This too shall (come to) pass.

  1. Where is this scripture at? I really like that. I enjoy your blog. I just found it.

    “It is not requisite that a [woman] run faster than [she] has strength, … therefore, all things must be done in order.“

  2. I’m kind of going backwards. Because I have an 8 year gap between kids, I’m in stage 2 right now. But because I’m having another one in the spring, I’ll be going back to stage 1. So I guess I better remember that and enjoy it all now.

  3. Thanks for the ray of hope (someday I’ll have two consecutive minutes to myself!) and the for the reminder to keep things in perspective!

  4. Congratulations on reaching this stage of motherhood! It’s a long hard road to this point, but well worth the time spent in the first stage. But in the midst of your changing responsibilities, it IS ok to take a few moments to sit on the couch to enjoy the quiet.

  5. You never get to the point where you don’t look back and say “I sure wish I had done this or that better or differently.” But that’s what this life is for, to learn from our mistakes. I’ve never met a mother, yet, who has said “i did it perfectly.”

    Every stage I’ve gone through, up to this point (empty nester), has had it’s really hard things to deal with, but it was always worth the journey.

  6. See, I had enough kids to drag stage 1 out so long I almost reached my breaking point! But now! I have only one at home 4 mornings a week and we are looking toward potty training. I treasure my mornings with him- and the quiet that descends on my house. OF course, I pay my dues for the peace and quiet long about 3:30 when all five kids are home again, but it’s worth it!

  7. Sophia started preschool this year, so now I have two days a week with no kids for a couple hours. It’s weird. I have never had that before. Hooray for new stages! Although, like you, I find myself looking back and feeling I didn’t do enough. But I’m trying to get over that and move on and do better.

  8. Those are both great quotes!
    And it is great…all the stages. My kids get themselves ready and head out the door all on their own now, it is strange…but it is so satisfying to see them excited and independent every morning!

    • You know Julie, there’s no shame either way. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t weep at their departure to school. But the fact is, we’re all different kinds of moms and our strengths sometimes manifest themselves differently in different stages of motherhood. I feel relief at escaping the toddler years, where other moms consider it their favorite stage. It’s all good. 🙂

  9. I hope she keeps taking her naps for you–but that might change soon. Kids have a way of doing that to Moms.

    I just started a new stage of life as well–all three kids in all day school! I can hardly believe how fast the time goes by.

    • I figure I’ll be lucky if she makes it all year with a nap, but even if not, she can do quiet time with books. She seems to be napping well with a quiet house and knowing she’s not missing out on the action with playing brothers.

      “Worst” case scenario: She drops the nap completely and I can run errands with her— one child in tow versus three. Either way, things are looking up. 🙂

  10. Wow Steph, your words so often bring tears to my eyes. I love how you are able to mash together the happy & sad, the frustrating & miraculous, the mundane & the extraordinary…and end up with such inspiring posts. A million thank yous for these thoughts. 🙂

  11. My family will go hungry before I’ll take all three of my kids with me to the grocery store. By myself.

    And that scripture about running too fast? It was quoted in my Patriarchal blessing. When I was 14. And somehow I still manage to forget!

  12. They will be grown and gone before you know it. I know you probably hear that a lot and so did i and then one day it did! First day at school is always so great. I love the scripture!

  13. I’m with Debbie! We 3rd and 4th stagers have a lot to share, unless you bag on us and make us all sad and stuff!

    Your day sounds heavenly. They are such rare gifts.

  14. I. Love. You.

    This was, as always, simply brilliant. I can totally feel your peace of mind flowing through this computer — it’s like a new version of cyber yoga or something. Everybody breeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaathe……

    Only one question: I am currently functioning at Stage two, stage three, AND stage four twice over. Does that mean I’m technically at Stage 3.25? That little four year sure comes in handy to helping me still feel young, when I’ve got a sixteen year old as well!

  15. This year I’m in the same boat. All but one are in school. It has been wonderful!! I’m in my 3rd week and still enjoying it immensely. I love this new stage!! Bonus plan that it correlates with my youngest being potty trained.

  16. I loved this post. It IS important to remember that everything has it’s time and season.
    All those years I really had a hard time getting to the temple even once a month? I’m making up for it now by going every-other-week.
    I miss the other stages, but I love what I’ve got Right Now.

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