Right Now

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I think it was the day before Mother’s Day.  A friend posted on Instagram something her mom had shared with her:  “She says she sometimes has dreams that we’re babies in her house again and that when she wakes up and realizes it’s not true and we’re all grown up, she can’t breathe for a second.”

And those words completely gripped me.  In truth, they still do.  That night, during the wee hours of Mother’s Day, I was seized by this awful sadness.  Before I knew it, I was sobbing completely.  All I could think about was a future with all my babies grown and gone.  Jonny and I talked through it, talked about all that we can’t remember, all the ways we have failed to document our babies.  Somehow that was comforting, a reminder that this is just the way it goes.  You can’t hold on forever.  And eventually we fell asleep.  I woke to a lovely Mother’s Day, one that had me very much in the moment, just thankful to be a mom, craving the presence of my kids, wanting my little ones crawling all over me like puppies rather than wishing they would stop.  And of course when the sun is shining it becomes easier to think rationally, to remember that of course I want my children to grow up, to reach adulthood.  The alternative would be the truest grief.  You can’t have both.  They can’t stay babies.  The answer always seems to lie in letting go of fear and worry, and allowing myself to dwell as fully in the present as possible.  There is no sense sobbing over children who have grown and gone when I still have a houseful.

This week I am weaning my baby.  That is bittersweet for me, despite the fact that my body has been telling me for some time that it needs a break.  I’ve been nursing and/or pregnant for over seven years straight.  And the seven years before that were pretty full in that regard as well.  I know that I need to do this, but that doesn’t make it easy.  I know Job will be fine.  I know I will be fine.  I’m just so darn sentimental.  I also have a tendency to see the tragedy in everything right there alongside the beauty.  And, I tend to overthink.  I really have a problem with that.  So I’m fighting those thoughts, the “He’s probably my last baby…” thoughts.  Those really make me cry.  They make me feel like I’m already leaving the best years of my life (because doesn’t everyone tell you that these years, the ones with small children are the best?) and I feel like I’ve only just gotten here.

My friend Ann, though, is always saying, “The best is always yet to come.”  Deep down I know that is true.  I just love right now so much.  As much as I feel stretched too thin, overwhelmed, and just plain worn out sometimes, I really love my life and my children, just as they are right now.  Never change.  That would be my choice.  But change always comes, and we survive it (oftentimes realizing that it isn’t so bad after all) and continue to see the good and feel the grace.  I remind myself that I love each of my children right here where they are now, just as I did yesterday, and will tomorrow.  I love them outside of age.

For Mother’s Day I asked for fencing and gates.  Agnes and Greta are now living in their new enclosure and new barn.  The barn still needs a bit of work, and we still need lots of fencing, but Jonny is making progress.  I also ordered myself some yarn, not because I needed it, simply because I wanted to. These gifts are good and I am thankful for them, but most of all I am thankful for the gift of my children, and the wise words of other women who remind me of the gift of right now, the gift of today.


  1. Rachel ~ housefullofjays says:

    Yes. All of it yes. You just put words to that ache (and hope) in my heart.

  2. mine are grown and out of the house and I do miss them being here at times. I think as moms that is what the innate wiring is for, we do not stop mothering ever. I try really hard not to think about what will be in the future and try to stay in the ‘now’. I’m not great at that but I try. Even though they are not here I do love that they are deep down happy and that makes me happy!

  3. Oh my, Ginny. You’ve said it so well for the world of us mamas. Thank you for over thinking and making us all engage again in true moments of gratefulness in the here and now.
    And your line, “I love them outside of age.” Oh this one is a keeper, one I will have to write down in my book of Every Day Things.
    Beautiful, touching post.
    ps. I asked for garden things too…mine was a pair of British Wellies to muck around the garden with.

  4. I completely understand what you are feeling, Ginny. When our 4 sons were young, I could hardly allow myself to think about them all growing up and leaving the house to live on their own, it was unfathomable to me. Since we homeschooled ours, there was rarely a time in which I was at home alone. I distinctly remember though, one such time when my husband had taken all of them out for a few hours. The house was too quiet, I felt lonely, I did not like it at all — I could hardly wait to have them return. During that time I felt troubled, thinking that I can’t even imagine how I would ever deal with it when it came time for them to “leave the nest”.

    But then, much to my surprise, as each one reached the various levels of maturity and wanted more independence, I also had reached a different time in my life where I was older. Peace & quiet began to feel more comfortable to me, even becoming more of a necessity, than what it had been in my earlier child-raising years. So as I saw them “spreading their wings”, it made me happy just to see them happy, which helped make it easier to let go. Was it hard? Yes, it still was, though not as hard as I had imagined it would be. But looking back now, I always say that I believe there is a “built-in mechanism”:) in mothers, put there by God, where it is exactly that — “as we age, peace and quiet is a more welcome factor in our lives, which in turn makes “letting go” somewhat easier”. Then before you know it you have grandchildren who are lots of fun without the responsibilities of raising them. Life is still rich and full, watching your kids as they raise theirs — seeing the responsible parents they have become. I love watching it. I well remember how my mom used to always say about her grandchildren, “I’m glad to see them come, but then I’m glad to see them go again”. I never understood why she would even say that. But now I do. 🙂 I’ve come to cherish the quiet times as well, where I can actually hear the clock ticking away. 🙂

    I hope this helps so that the future changes don’t look so over-whelming. Believe me, when it happens, you truly do learn to just “go with the flow”. 🙂
    For now, just focus on enjoying your kids. 🙂
    You are a great mom, Ginny, I enjoy your blog very much.

  5. Being sentimental is a great gift. I think of things like when they are grown often too.

  6. My youngest just weaned. It is bittersweet. She is soon three, and I pray that she isn’t my last. But God’s plan isnt always my plan.

    Mother’s Day is hard around here, with one less child. My oldest would be 14. It started off a little sad, but then I hug my babies and I feel better.

    No matter what, God is good.

  7. jennifer bauman says:

    Ginny, I loved this post. It is something I’ve struggled with since I was your age. I loved, loved, loved the little babies my sons were, and I absolutely adored the little boys they became, but I was sad to see each stage end. I remember weaning, and how hard that was. I feel for you. I still miss the little boys that once lived with us, but I wouldn’t trade watching them become strong, loving men for anything in the world. We have to move on with the current of life., through tears and joy. I remember my husband’s grandfather telling us when the children were young that “now, they are in your hands, later they’ll be in your heart”.

  8. Richard says:

    I lost my Mom on Feb. 28th of this year so Mother’s Day was quite empty for me. She lasted 85 years and raised 4 boys and no daughters. You must be doing your mother thing very well Ginny, as your family seems to be doing just fine indeed. Count your blessings every day and keep up the good work. Take pride in all that you have achieved!

  9. I say this about all of your posts..I really loved this one.
    I feel this way everyday. I hate seeing the days go by taking them further away from babies. I had my kids years later than my friends. Every once in a while I will email them and say don’t you miss sidewalk chalk? Skipping ropes? The stool at the sink?…
    I miss nursing them so much it has brought tears to my eyes . I have 3 beautiful children who I love so very much but I want it to stay just as it is ..
    I yearn for another everyday and feel sad to know it will never happen. We would of had kept going but time ran out. I see women out with their babies and wish it were me, I miss the weight of them on my back, the smell of their heads the look in their eyes. I see pictures of them small and remember how amazing that whole time was and the thoughts of them growing up and gone, well I just can’t bear it. So I hang onto now, live as much in the moment As possible Experience as much as I can with them, for them, through them.

  10. Katharine Whitmore says:

    I like what your friend Ann said. It reminded me of this bit of a poem by Robert Browning:
    “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”

    I do agree about the heart ache of babies past, but I sure do love love love my big 20-30 year olds!

  11. As I read this, I am rocking my-month-old daughter, our first, with her head resting over my heart. This month this is all I have wanted to do. I just want to hold her and cherish these moments! Yet, life does not slow down. We are preparing to move across the country. We even flew with her when she was two weeks old to try out for the new job. Our lives have seemed in constant transition for some time. Yesterday, I found myself completely overwhelmed by everything I needed and wanted to do. We are trying to pack, I am trying to post more regularly on my blog after hardly posting this past month, and I am trying to finish making a couple wedding presents and think he presents for midwives. I am also considering taking a quick flight up to see my grandparents since they’re in such poor health. I really want them to meet Rebekah. Since my husband is in ministry, we still have a lot to finish up here. As well as many goodbyes to say. But I keep coming back to these simple wonderful moments of holding my daughter. They get me through the day. In just over a month, we will have left the dry desert for the green rolling Hills and tall trees of the Ozarks. I cannot wait to take our daughter outside to play in actual grass! Plus, we will be much closer to family. May God bless you during this busy but wonderful season of your life! I pray that amidst the chaos you find special moments to treasure. I understand the lack of writing things down. We have a baby book and a special journal for her. They have been sitting by my bed all month. We wrote in the journal before she was born, but I have not since..”maybe today” seems to be my motto…

  12. I don’t watch Grey’s anatomy to know the context of this quote but a friend recently used it with the announcement of her retirement, and I think it is fitting here as well:
    “When we say things like “people don’t change” it drives scientist crazy because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy. Matter. It’s always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting things be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change that’s up to us. It can feel like death or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.”

    • I agree with parts of that quote, but at the same time I think that the notion of being able to choose to totally accept change with open hands is unrealistic given the imperfections of life. I would love to just say that I am going to accept change starting today. Some of us weren’t wired that way, or if we were, we were re-wired somewhere along the way. I had an unstable childhood with a lot of trauma and this has led to me having a hard time with change. I had too much of it, too much of the wrong kind, at too early an age. But at least I recognize that and am able to work through my feelings. I try to keep my hands open! And when I do, it does make life so much better. Definitely something to always be working towards!

      • Agreed. I thought the quote timely, and yet I would not say “it’s one to hang on the wall”.. The concept though is one that I’ve often found God reminding me of when I am hesitant to “open my hands to change”.. When I’m kicking and screaming that “I don’t want to go” (to college, to the real/working world, to the stay-at-home mom world, to the new house – whatever “go” may be), He seems to continuously whisper to my heart, “..aside from My presence, the only thing constant in life is change”..
        May His grace find you in the process!
        Soli Deo Gloria

  13. This post touched me so. I am also 5.5 weeks pregnant with our 7th. I go through the thoughts you’ve expressed all the time. I think its’ normal. I am also loving my older kids getting older but am SO not ready for them to be grown yet. I pray that weaning goes well. I have also been pregnant or nursing for a very long time- over 11 years now.

    • Leah, congratulations!! It’s kind of crazy all the feelings. I adore my older kids and wouldn’t want to shrink/regress them, but totally find myself wanting to hold on to my younger children for as long as I can!

  14. I am a grandmother of nine. I was a reluctant mother. My own mother did not want kids and convinced me that motherhood would ruin my life. Mind you, there was never any abuse, just an unhappy mother. anyway,
    God surprised me with an unexpected sone and then I chose to have another and then my last surprise, my second daughter. I gave up my career as my mother had but for me it was a happy choice. I had so much fun with my babies that I thought growing up would deprive me of all that fun and I had many sad nights. but then life got so busy with their activities, soccer scouts, dance, gymnastics, student government, debate, blah blah blah. I enjoyed every minute of that as well and couldn’t imagine letting them leave me for college. but of course I did. I make jokes now that you shouldn’t raise your kids to be strong and independent and self reliant cuz you might succeed and then you’ll regret it. raise clinging vines instead. but I found out that in adulthood my strong, independent children need me more than ever, mostly as a break from their own kids, haha. I also found out and here, finally is my point. As much fun as I had with my children and it was lots, I have more fun with my grandkids. I can accept their flaws easier because I’m not responsible now for raising good, compassionate, moral, responsible citizens. that’s my kids job. My job is to have fun, just have fun and not undermine my kids disciplines of their kids. I’m the shoulder to cry on, the wimpy video game player, the old woman trying to learn Pokemon and chess for the different drummer. I have to teach them marbles and jacks because tablets can’t do that and they need unplugged time. My husband has to take them on adventures when they visit because we have a sort of rural home and they all have city homes. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had and if my kids had not grown up I would be working now instead of having all this fun. In fact I retired a year ago and wish I’d retired a long time ago. stupid me. but I loved my job and the 60 years have flown by and I can’t wait for the great grands. I hope these old bones will still be able to get down in the floor and pretend to be a bear or a lion and chase them around on my hands and knees like I’ve been doing and hear them squeal and run from the room and then come back for more. T
    He poster that wrote the best is yet to come was so right. It only gets better and better as the time goes by and they grow up, shop for prom dresses, and that special tiara because at her wedding she WILL be the princess.

    don’t be sad. you need that energy for later.

  15. I am in such a different space as a mother than so many mothers on the blogs I read: I struggled when they were babes, and I enjoy them more all the time! Even so, I know that I will miss them when they are gone. But, that’s not the purpose of my comment. I just wanted to say two things:
    1) I totally empathize with over-thinking things.
    2) I am the youngest of 8 and my mother now has 12 (mostly grown) grandchildren and 14 1/2 great-grandchildren (one’s on the way!). Though there was some “down time” without small ones around, babies have been a part of her life most of the time since she was 21… and they still are even now that she is almost 89. So, my wish for you is that, like my mother, you find yourself in a position to delight in new life into a very old age. Maybe it will be like her, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Or maybe you will find another way, one that you can’t see your way to yet. But I suspect that the path is there, if you want it.
    (I hope this makes sense!)

    • I struggled with my first few when they were babies as well, but at some point a switch was flipped or something and now I am able to enjoy my babies so much more than I used to. But, I truly enjoy my older children too!

  16. Oh Ginny! A few things I realized after I had weaned my last was how much a picture of me nursing her to sleep would mean to me. It was a gift really. I had wished I had captured that moment and then my oldest had taken one! She popped into the dark room and both Josie and I were almost asleep. I treasure it!! I also realized that weaning, even if I was only nursing 2-3 times a day, could throw me into post partum depression–which it did. Once I figured out what was going on, I was better. Prayers for you Ginny, especially this week!!

    • Betty, I was just thinking the same thing! I have to get some pictures this week!! And weaning also throws me for a loop depression-wise, but at least I am expecting it this time around.

  17. Thank you for sharing this. My youngest (of 6) just came home for summer break. It is hard to let go of those sweet little babies but the next stage is fun. Just when I really needed it, God blessed me with a grandson. Another new stage that is so perfect.

  18. I believe it’s all about graceful transitions. Mate to Mother to Mate to Grandmother…….Do my husband and I still miss all the soccer games and our children’s youth? Yes. But we are watching our grandchildren grow and see the results of the time and love we gave our children……the parents they have become. Life is a miracle…all the seasons.

    • I really like the image of graceful transitions. I need to work harder at that. I wouldn’t describe myself as graceful!!

      • I laughed at your “graceful” reply Ginny! When I was little my nickname was “Grace” because I SO wasn’t!! I’m still not but in other ways it’s a “learned & practiced” state of mind!

  19. In regard to this particular sadness, I have often thought that in heaven (where all desire ceases) we will experience our children in every stage of their life. For example, I will sit with my grown son and experience him as a baby, toddler, child and adult all in one. Does that make sense? All that longing to remember this grown child as a baby will be gone because we will experience our children in their fullness – all of their ages and stages simultaneously. Sort of like one big photo album! Of course, these are only thoughts, but they bring me great comfort.

    • Yes, that makes sense! I keep thinking that we love our children’s souls, not simply their aging bodies, and in heaven I can’t even imagine what it will be like!!

  20. Teary here. You expressed this so well, and oh!-how it resonates.

  21. Dear Ginny,
    This post is so beautiful and true – thank you for writing it. I feel sometimes overwhelmed by my tasks – juggling motherhood with working full time, being a wife and not forgetting myself in between – and it is easy not be in the moment. I’ve been trying to be more mindful (getting into a daily routine of 15 minutes meditation has been quite helpful) and present. I’m sad because I have my last baby with one year already (and I can’t accept it in my heart, even though in my head I know it. I’m happy because my boys are growing strong. My job as a mother is to give them what they need to thrive and be themselves, and that means letting go. Bittersweet, as motherhood is.
    I don’t care about gifts on Mother’s Day. As you say, my children are the most wonderful gift of all.

  22. Lovely words and thoughts from the heart.

    I am a grandmother and loving them all. Visiting from Sydney, Australia

  23. I’m glad to know I’m not the only mom out there staying up late, feeling depressed about these things! Ann’s words are very comforting though, as are all of these wonderful comments; thanks for sharing everyone.

  24. I’m one of seven kids. My parents had four kids and then realized one day that we’d all be on our way to adulthood in another decade. They decided they’d learned so much they wanted more kids. Being young parents and being older parents each have their ups and downs, but having so many children over such a range of time means that now that only the youngest is living at home and finishing high school, the oldest four have families of their own and I don’t know offhand how many grandchildren there are!

    As an adult now, my mom and I are best friends and she is the most amazing Grammy. She has been involved in most of the grandchildren’s births and is always there when she’s needed. So although it’s a ways down the road before your mothering lots of little ones is coming to a close, when that day does come, it’s a little bit closer to being Grammy to your children’s children, which is also a pretty amazing life! : )

  25. Totally understanding your feelings{{}} Just starting to wean my baby too, she’s 17mths and could well be my last (I’m 43) and I’ve been b/feeding on and off (mostly on) for 21 years. And well.. it’s time to get serious about weaning here.. I guess

  26. Oh yes. Almost every night as I put my three-year-old to sleep (after his twin brothers are already in bed), I am in this moment that I’ve been looking forward too for the past several hours–kids all asleep! But as I tuck him in, I look at him and ache for all the moments with him during the day I didn’t fully appreciate or live in.

    • I feel exactly the same way when I put my 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter to bed. I look forward to the quiet of them being asleep, but wish for all the moments of the day I missed with them because I was “busy”. My 2 year old says “i’m so busy” and I am sure she got it from me responding one day to her request. That makes me sad too. Motherhood is exhausting physically and emotionally. I just want to relax with them and be fully in the moment with them and not think about what I “should be doing” instead.

  27. My youngest is five and my oldest is graduating high school this Thursday night. I am loving my life right now. I know the teen years can be tough, but I am loving my teenagers (we have three of them at the moment). They are so funny and smart. I am enjoying watching them grasp at independence and make good choices (so far). So in my opinion, this is the best. I enjoyed my babies but teaching my teens to drive (while terrifying at times), applying for summer jobs, looking at colleges and talking about the journey into adulthood, these are good times. I’m trying to breathe it all in and enjoy it because I know we will be onto the next phase in the blink of an eye.

  28. Oh, I know just what you’re talking about. I regularly feel that same sadness, when the realization hits that my children are growing up. We have 5, and our oldest is almost 16. It seems like the sadness always hits at night for some reason. I often think of things I could have done differently, things I can’t remember clearly, etc. And it really does take my breath away if I let it. I’ve found the only thing that helps me is to give thanks and to praise God. I think this is hardest for those of us who tend to be a bit more introspective/sentimental/melancholy (describing myself!). But I am enjoying my teenagers, too! Each season has its own joys.

  29. Ginny,
    I love your words here today. I get so sentimental at Bracken growing up! And I felt the same way when it came time to wean. My body was screaming for a break and I finally listened.

    Your children climbing all over you like puppies? The best. 🙂

    Love to you,

  30. I have five grown and out of our house children. Four are married and our youngest is single. I loved having a houseful of teens. They are great years but I have to say that adult children are pretty great. It is nice to sit down and have a real conversation with them. I have to say that God is so gracious in regards to the seasons of life passing by. He gently allows us to Mother through each one and with multiple ages of children we are able to adjust. It is really hard to have them go off to college. I found myself listening for their footsteps and not hearing them upstairs since each sounded different. That was the hardest part of letting them grow up. Now that they have their own homes we really enjoy visiting them. On Wednesday morning we leave SC to travel to Boston to visit our son who is in the Air Force and his wife who is a wonderful hostess and fantastic cook. Our oldest son and family are about to move house in Alabama so we have a trip to see their house to look forward to and they have three sweet children. I get to visit my daughter who lives 30 minutes away and has two littles just about any weekday that I want to go. It is a different life but it is good, too. Mother’s Day is such an emotional holiday that I just wish we could do away with it. I think it is a way for people to feel guilty or sad and retailers to make money. I will take the box of chocolates that hubby buys for me though. 🙂

  31. I found myself in tears today over the same exact thing. Sometimes the though just hits you has fast it is going, and panic seeps in and I just feel so out of control. I’m decluttering my whole house right now, and doing the deepest spring clean yet. While it’s looking less and less likely that we will have more kids, I couldn’t get rid of the baby stuff. My baby is only 2, and I just can’t do it. While I’m starting to adjust to the fact that we may be done, when I think of going through the little clothes, panic strikes me, and I can’t do it. I’m not ready to close the door to that yet.

    I love your fences. Knut put a fence around my garden so the chickens don’t get it. That’s not quite as cool. We really want to fence in our pasture this year. We’ll see how productive these summer months will be.

  32. Caitlin says:

    It’s sucha good reminder. We are listing our house, it’s too small. But it’s where my babies came home, first walked. It the house I’ve lived in the longest, ever. It’s our first home. I don’t know where we will end up. I don’t know if it will sell. Will finding a new house be too much? It’s all so undecided.

    Thanks for reminding me that change is ok. Even good maybe. Usually. It’s in gods hands. I just have to keep it there!

    Your words are wise. Thank you.

  33. I was wondering whether we have documented enough, but I think I’m afraid watching it will be too hard sometimes. Yikes, now I am overtaken also. I think about all of these things a lot lately, wondering how to hold on and let go at the same time, and feel it all. Lovely words Ginny. And yes, it can be good to embrace change. I mean look at those goats Have a good week.

  34. And to top it all off, for me at least, my hormones go wacky as I wean; I’m a constant mess.

  35. love this; yes living in the present is so hard and so important; this was a beautiful post; you are very loved and your family too! yay for Mom’s Day gifts!

  36. love to read your thoughts, thanks for sharing and letting us ‘in’
    I love your photos of everything that is going on around you

  37. Beautiful.

    My daughter turns 18 in 6 months, and your words really hit home. It’s her last year to be here learning at home with us, and I am determined to make the most of it. I am so very grateful for her!

    I’ll be printing this out for encouragement. I’m going to need it…

  38. Will be thinking of you Ginny. Your post has given me a serious lump in my throat as my beautiful son sleeps on me.

  39. Yes, Ann is so right, the best is yet to come. Really it’s true Ginny, and you are going to love it, promise.

  40. Oh, Ginny. I know exactly what you’re saying. I often kick myself for not making enough videos or voice recordings of my kids. I have photos galore, but it’s not the same as hearing them or seeing them move, both of which are very distinctive and changeable as they grow. I wish you all the best with the weaning. I only have two children, but I was pregnant, nursing or both (including a year-plus of tandem-nursing) for six and a half years when my younger one finally weaned at three and a half. I didn’t try to rush it, but I was more than ready to be finished nurturing them so closely with my body by that point. I hope it all goes smoothly. I know you know this, but it’s okay to step back and try again later if you have to. Job may surprise you, though. I hope it’s easy on all of you. Take care.

I love to hear from you!