It’s Sunday night after Thanksgiving. For a lot of us, that means a quieter house. It means the college kids have gone back to school. It means I don’t have to wait my turn for the washing machine.
It means there’s another countdown to when I’ll have a full house again. It also means that we won’t be wearing our matching PJ’s together for a while.
This actually wasn’t even my idea. It was Oldest Daughter’s. We were out shopping at Target after getting our Christmas tree because well, we love Target and for some reason I always seem to need another string of Christmas lights… or two. And there was the display, MATCHING PJ’S FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY. Just past the mini aisles of dollar bins that everyone gets sucked into. (You know those bins.)
I found all three of my kids there, but only Oldest Daughter seemed excited. I don’t know how, but somehow she persuaded all of us to get matching PJ’s and to also wear them. Husband was not present for this discussion so we made the (unfortunate?) decision for him. It took some effort to search through the Buffalo Check, the Dress Stewart, and the Royal Stewart patterns to find sizes that would- sort of- fit us all.
Full disclosure: I did not know the names of all those plaids. I just spent way too much time Googling images because I thought it would add good visual details to the essay. Apparently there’s also a difference between plaid and tartan. I did not have the patience to dig deeper on this, though.
Oldest Daughter also convinced her boyfriend to participate. It is unclear if he was enthusiastic about this or if he just didn’t care enough to say no to the idea. He did leave his PJ’s in our car though and she had to bring them to him later. You be the judge.
We aren’t really a “matching PJ’s” family. Whether it’s from lack of planning or lack of effort, I don’t know. I did, occasionally dress just the kids up in matching PJ’s or shirts from Old Navy when they were little, but it was more a result of the store displaying all the sizes together. Smart marketing there.
I’ve been made to promise that no photos of this will be shared on social media. Even though we do look really cute. Even if Oldest Daughter and I had to buy a men’s size large so we could all match. (We went with the Buffalo check pattern, in case you were wondering.)
We all put them on while we unwrapped Christmas decorations and trimmed the tree. We played “Christmas Classics” on Spotify and had hot chocolate and mocha lattes. We watched a movie with fuzzy blankets all around. We spent the whole day together and it was the best.
Days like that are rare with teens and adult children. They come home for short bursts, and we don’t want to admit we’re on borrowed time. I’m not the one doing all the planning anymore; I’m not in control. (Apparently not even of my own PJ’s…) Actually I haven’t been for a while. Their time isn’t “our time” anymore.
By the time I’ve realized this, I’ve already lost so much control that I can only hope and pray that they’ve learned enough from us as parents about how to be a good and kind human. Even when I see them enjoying each other’s company, and getting along and laughing… I will never stop second guessing myself. Or worrying. Was it enough? Did I do enough? Or did I do too much? Did I set the example?
I’m watching my kids learn to adult before my eyes. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s messy and a little chaotic. But it’s beautiful and amazing and makes me cry and laugh and burst with pride. I’m so excited for them to find their passion and create their own joy and learn new things along the way. I hope they know I did my best. Day after day, after day after day… turned into all those years, I did my best and love(d) the hell out of them.
Because underneath all the control and the worry and the second-guessing there is the Love. Always present, always the strongest.
Were they ever really “mine”? Or was it just a beautiful temporary illusion? That’s the greatest risk and reward of motherhood; the risk of losing them, the reward of loving them.
I am learning how to breathe a sigh of relief in letting go; letting go of my ideas of how things ought to be for them, or how they should do something. (Also letting go apparently of what I wear for pajamas on certain days.) There is beauty in the mess, there is joy in the unruly and the wild.