“It’s people not knowing all my boys, that’s the hardest thing,” I said, and was surprised to feel tears spring up in my eyes.  I tried to choke them down.  “Once upon a time, not that long ago, they were all with me all the time and now people are so surprised to learn I have four boys.  My mama heart has a hard time with that.”

This is not what my husband was expecting from me.

He had just told me that he nothing for me for Mother’s Day and he just didn’t know what to even do for me.  “I just want to be home anyhow, maybe we all could be home and watch a show.” I had shrugged, “having everyone home would be the best gift anyhow.  Well, having everyone home and having them NOT ARGUING would be the best thing ever.”

He had laughed, my husband.  And then he changed the subject somehow in a silly he is so going to get me now way, “And what are you feeling about turning the big forty this year?  You are really getting old!” he laughed.

He is so funny.  To himself.

And that sparked the tear conversation I wasn’t expecting.

For so long, my identity has been all wrapped up in my life with my four boys (and my need of coffee).  And it’s been a great life.

For so long, my life was the same ol same ol.

For so long, people would see us and KNOW us, you know?  Like, “oh, there’s Denise and she has these four boys.  Yes, really!  Oh, you should read her blog.  It’s so funny!”

Then things really began to change.  I was trying to learn how to grapple these new changes of my boys driving, jobs keeping boys out late, the sitting around the table for dinner turning into grabbing food and running out the door, then the high school graduation and then, gasp, the college.  Notice I did not even mention the whole dating thing, oy!  I know I know I know it’s good to work yourself out of a job when you are a mama.  I want these boys to go out and live their lives and goodness gracious, I’m so cheering them on!

But my mama heart right now?  It’s the happiest when I know all four of my boys are all tucked into their own beds at night in this home with me.  And I know the nights of that happening are very quickly coming to a very real end.

More and more I am finding myself meeting new people who I get to small talk with and who are shocked to find I have four boys.  Who are shocked to learn they are how old?

The elementary school my boys attended has had no dealings with my older children, who seem all grown up and big to them if they meet them.  An entire elementary school who does not know that I make pretty good chocolate chip cookies.

When I am out and about I may just have my youngest two boys with me, and they think that is all my children.  It’s such an odd spot for my Mama heart.

I am still navigating all this.  I do not want my boys to stay the little boys they were (but how I would love to go back and relive a week with them when all we had to worry about was keeping hose water in the sandbox while they played Farm Country), but while they are turning into men they are also my little boys.  It’s so weird.  I am learning new ways to be my big boys’ mama.

This means that to one of my boys, I snapchat him every single morning.  I do not understand snapchat.  But for him, I am learning.

It was an odd thing too, on this Mother’s Day Sunday, attend church without my boys.  All the mamas with their kids all around them and Jake and I just got to late service late (I feel like that really does take a special talent to arrive late to the LATE service when you usually attend the early service.  We have skills, obviously.) and sat together.  Just the two of us.  No children with us at all.

For various reasons they were doing various things that had them all gone to other places.  My morning was quiet, it was peaceful, I broke up no whining tiffs and I realized that in just a very short blink of an eye, this will be my EVERY Mother’s Day.

This will be my next phase of life.

While my whole life is still going to be focused on my four boys, I have no doubt, I know this season that seemed like it would be forever and ever (and I was okay with that) is very nearly over.  I also know that this next season of life I am about to enter is kind of scary as well as being really exciting.

Right now I have these nearly grown men I get to love on that the world doesn’t even know are mine.

I am a mama with four boys who very often talks more with her boys over a text message then a meal at a table.

I would not have believed anyone if they told me this day would come.  I mean, I knew it would arrive here sometime or another but I didn’t realize it would arrive so quickly.

I didn’t realize that it would hurt my heart that new nice people I met would not know I have four wonderful boys.

I wouldn’t ever know how much I would find parenting big boys more emotionally hard then I would have imagined – just keeping them alive and out of the emergency room when they were younger now seems like it would be such a breeze.

Goodness, this being a mama thing.  It’s such a ride.

It’s nothing I would have ever planned or imagined.

While I don’t have a clue what our future looks like, I know God’s got it.  I am not saying that flippantly.  He’s done a pretty great job making my life interesting thus far, that God of mine, so I am quite confident He has more planned for me.  And for my boys.  And that is a story I do so look forward to being in.

Also, this whole post has me wanting to go home to MY mama and give her a big ol hug and thanking her for, well, for everything.  (Mugs, a day with just you and me SOON.  We need it in ink on the calendar.  I love you muchly!)

My Mom, My Sister and Me (and my Dad in the background)

Mamas.  Oh my heart.  We feel it all so much, don’t we?  And let me tell you, I’m still here cheering you with your littles on.  And I am looking for advice on how to do this next phase from those who are older than me who have had their littles grow and leave.  But mostly, I am in this phase of my life right now – this in-between with some grown and some still not – and soaking up every blessed moment of it, especially when they are all home at the same time and bonus if it’s at dinner time.

We mamas are better all together then we are alone.  Let’s not forget that, and let us keep on finding the joy we get to have in the every day moments of our lives – whatever phase that it may be.


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5 Responses to The In-between Mama Phase

  1. Christine says:

    Love to read your heart’s words! Love you!

  2. Christina Abney says:

    Love this! Tomorrow my youngest graduates from sixth grade and I will have no more elementary students. Soon I will be in the stage you are describing and I love your heartfelt insight. We were meant to give them wings, but how time flies! My husband tries to console me with the hope of grand babies in the distant future. ☺️

  3. Jennifer says:

    Every new season of life as a mother is bittersweet. But God never ceases to amaze me with the joys the new seasons bring. ☺️

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