I am happy to report, in case you don’t have a calendar handy, that there are only six more days of May. If you have kids in the school system, you know why this is a good thing. If you don’t have kids, you’re probably sick and tired of parents complaining about May. “What‘s the big deal?” you ask.
Well, the big deal is that us parents are worn down by the sheer volume of end-of-year-appreciation-merit assembly-achievement award-dress up in costume events.
And of course, each of these happens at 1:45 in the afternoon on a work day, so hopefully your boss has kids and understands, or you’re screwed. No bonus for you.
I’ve determined that this bee hive of activity is designed to distract us from the real issue at hand: our kids are another year older. Another milestone has been crossed. Pre-K babies are now Kindergarteners, 8th graders are now high schoolers, and…gulp…some precious little babies are heading off to college.
It’s kind of like the parenting finish line. Ok, maybe not the finishing line, because we still have to get them gainfully employed, but it’s a pretty big road marker.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as one of my best friends has a child graduating from high school this weekend. I’ve been living it with her for months, the lead-up to the inevitable, the bittersweet send-off from the nest. I cried along with her when she carefully folded his freshly laundered baseball pants and put them away in his drawer for the last time. Those same baseball pants that she no-doubt cursed many a time while scrubbing out the red dirt until her arm felt like it might fall off.
But this is what May does to us. It steals our babies and sends them to college, whilst blinding us with a flurry of activities so hopefully we won’t notice.
I sat at the computer this morning and opened Facebook to take a quick peek before starting my work, and lo-and-behold, what should pop up but a memory from my older daughter’s last day of first grade. I had posted a side-by-side picture comparison of her first day and her last.
She’s the same age that my younger son is now, and I recognize the joy and innocence in her face that doesn’t make much of an appearance in the teen years. I absolutely love who she is now, but I ache for that sweet little smile that only shines from the simplicity of childhood.
So. I want all of you Mamas out there who have babies graduating, whether it’s Pre-K, 8th grade, or high school, I’m with you, thinking of you and knowing that you’ll get through this, with maybe a soaked hankie or two, but that’s okay. You’ve earned every single one of those tears.
And thank you for reminding me to take a step back and look at my own children, really look at them, every single day.
Because we’ll never get this day back.
I will be in your shoes sooner than later with my older daughter, and I don’t want to look up at her on the stage accepting her diploma and think, “where did the time go?”
I want to know where it went.
I want to have a deep catalogue of moments ~
~ her swimming with her dad and brother in the pool
~ her lounging on the couch watching her favorite show on tv
~ her on stage doing what she loves
~ her first school dance
~ her first time going away to summer camp
~ her learning to write her name with a chubby crayon
~ her grabbing onto my legs, not wanting to go into preschool
~ her little scrunched-up peanut face as the doctor placed her into my arms, all those years ago.
I want to know where it went.