In the summertime, I spend a lot of time at the pool with my kids.
We're there at least three days a week for swim team, one day for lessons for Claire Bear and well, pretty much every day unless its raining and even then we tend to swim in the indoor pool.
While I'm there, I strike up conversations with a variety of moms that are all just trying to keep it together...schlepping sunscreen, granola bars, towels, hats, pool toys, books and a margin of patience. Most are just trying to make sure that their kid doesn't drown and wears himself out so that she can have five minutes of peace in the car on the drive home.
But today was interesting.
While watching my youngest catapult down the water slides and guiding her to swim toward the ladder, a woman I'd never met before asked me how many kiddos I had.
After telling her that we have three, she proceeded to ask their ages to which I replied, Sam is 10. Kate turns 8 next week and Claire is 4.5.
Wow, she said. You've got big kids.
What the what, I thought? Big kids...no way, that's not me.
And then, she kindly said and I took this all the way to the bank...you're not old enough to have a 10 year old.
But then I thought about it. In relationship to these mamas who are nursing or have toddlers in diapers or are still restrained (probably in a good way) by nap schedules or have to take half their house with them just to go to the grocery store or the library or aren't sleeping more than a few hours at night or still view the stroller and the diaper bag as an appendage....well, that's not me, anymore....which is both a beautiful and a huge realization.
In fact, the other day while shopping, I told a woman who was due to deliver any day to enjoy every minute because it goes by so quickly. And then, I thought while getting into the car, I can't believe I just said that...I'm now one of those people dispensing that advice.
You can't know it at the time or while it's happening, but one day, you wake up and realize that your kid can pour his own bowl of cereal and wipe his own bottom and make his own bed and ride his bike to his friends' house and like a rock star, grind the beans and pre-set the coffee maker to brew an amazing cup of joe (okay, maybe that's just a skill we teach at our house).
And while my kids are not yet tweens or teenagers, they are getting taller and more brilliant and more self sufficient and less needy. And I have to say, I'm both basking in the glory and emotional witnessing these parts of me evolve...
One day, I became a mom of big kids...wow...really, how did that happen?