Monday, June 6, 2016

Time passes quickly

I was driving to the grocery store on Saturday in the rain. I really don't like grocery shopping, and I like it less in the rain. I didn't have the kids with me, so I guess it could have been worse.

I came to a stop light and noticed something in the car ahead of me. I hadn't noticed that the rain had stopped. From the rear window of the car in front of me, a tiny little hand reached out toward the sky. Curious little fingers reaching out, probably trying to see if they could touch the clouds in the sky, the car in the next lane, or maybe even just to feel the breeze. The little hand had sweet, chubby little fingers with dimpled knuckles. I caught myself with a huge smile on my face.

After the smile, I began to find tears on my cheeks. Where did that shit come from? It's a Saturday afternoon. My son is at a party for three hours, my daughter is at home with my husband, and I AM ALONE TO GROCERY SHOP. What is wrong with me? I waited YEARS to have this kind of implied freedom!

What's wrong with me? Exactly what I said. My son is old enough to be at a party without his parents. My daughter is old enough to be home doing something that doesn't require constant supervision by her parents aside from making sure she doesn't escape or light something on fire. Escape? I digress.

The small child in the car in front of me is a reminder that those days are long gone for me. My kids' hands are almost as big as mine. They're creeping up to nearly as tall as I am. They are finishing fifth and third grades in less than 48 hours. It wasn't that long ago that I was a blubbering mess trying to grasp sending Ethel to kindergarten. Now I'm a blubbering mess watching those cute little matchstick fingers wave in the air from the window of that car. I flashed back to the days of long distance commercials that would reduce me to a small puddle on the floor in a mere 28 seconds.

I finally gathered my blubbering mess together and got my shopping done and drove home. You'd think the whole thing was over at this point, wouldn't you? Think again. As I opened the door and entered our family room, my daughter turned and looked in my direction. There stood this beautiful, gawky, long-limbed tween that has inhabited the being of my first born. She's more praying mantis than child these days with growth spurts forcing her arms and legs to unnatural looking lengths. There is a confidence in her face that I'm envious of. She is so sure of herself as she looks to see what she hears, then rolls her eyes as she realizes it's just me. She is caught between the toothless little girl without a care, and the tall drink of water who thinks she's OK to call her parents by their first names and sling insults at them like it's sport. She is teetering on that fine line between sitting in Daddy's lap and slamming her bedroom door for privacy. She is a skilled eye roller, "NO" yeller, and foot stomper. She is fighting for independence while trying desperately to hang on to the last threads of early childhood.

The hits keep coming. It's now time to collect Fred from the birthday party I deposited him at earlier. Gone are the days when my kids would run to me and cry, "Mommy" and jump into my arms. Today they'd knock me down and I'd be in traction if they did that, so I guess I'm OK with that part being over. Clearly, the hosts were pretty done with the room full of eight and nine year olds, as I heard, "Fred, your mom's here!" before I even got to the door. The collective groan from the kids was not exactly silent, and then I got "the stare". You know, the "why are you here already?" look that's tossed at you from behind innocent little eyes. He just looked at me with such disgust that I would dare come to pick him up and take him home when he was having a perfectly good time with his friends. Sorry, Kid, you're coming home with me. Seeing him in a room of his peers was all I needed to see to know that this boy is no longer my little guy (the size of his shoes should have told me that, duh). He looked older, grown up, more, well, grown up.

All in one day, I had this gross realization that my kids are getting older. Recently, Ethel reminded me that I am, too, by telling me she looks nothing like me because...wait for it...."you have wrinkles". Thanks, girlie.

In a couple days, Ethel will leave the halls of elementary school and enter the big bad world of junior high school. Fred will become a fourth grader and be near the top of the food chain of the grade school. Holy hell, how did that happen?

I am so glad that I had a little money in the budget for a bottle of wine to enjoy that night. I'm more glad that we had the evening free and could nestle ourselves on the couches to try to watch a movie together...until the kids picked something I just couldn't stomach, even with wine, so I left them to watch their movie. Just the two of them. Enjoying a summer night together at home. And I know these nights won't last forever.

June 5, 2013
June 5, 2016