This one time, I blinked. As hard as I tried to keep my eyes open, my involuntary reflex took over and my eyes shut. Just for a micro-second.
Then, they opened.
There stood these kids. They looked really familiar. I knew them so well. Yet, there was something different about them.
Gone were the finger dimples. Gone were the pudgy cheeks and folds within folds. A couple were a split second away from towering over me. Others had a bird’s eye view of my grey roots.
It just happened. So incredibly fast.
This upcoming school year is marked by firsts and lasts.
My oldest daughter is headed to college while my youngest is starting his last year of elementary school. The three in the middle of them, they are creeping closer to the exit. I’m worried that when I blink again, they will all be gone and all I’ll be left with, besides their residual messes, will be fading memories of mothering.
So, I try really hard not to blink.
I don’t want to miss anything during these final moments of our soon to be ‘old normal’. Which is one of the reasons I haven’t been posting much this summer. My family is changing and I wanted to be in the thick of it.
When my oldest was born, I was warned that they grow up and move out so fast. But, I was in the throes of mastitis, sleepless nights and constant diaper changing. I wondered, back then, if it could go a little faster.
I didn’t mean for it to go this fast.
There were so many things I wanted to do with my kids. So many memories I never had the chance the chance to make with them. Funds were always too short, timing was always off.
I wonder if other parents feel that way, they didn’t get to do all the things they wanted to do with their kids. Because, as my world is changing again, I am having guilt that I am a total mom fail.
I wanted to give them the arts. I wanted to give them travel. I wanted to give them everything.
I don’t feel like I was able to give them enough.
Because, I blinked.
And they suddenly didn’t even want to be bothered with their parents anymore. They were more interested in hanging out with their friends than going to see a ballet.
I blinked again.
They preferred to go with their friends than have a family dinner and movie night.
And I blinked again. And again.
I missed them somehow. Yet, I didn’t.
Starting this year, our life is in a new phase.
From this year forward, we will be one less kid per year as they move off to their new phases.
It doesn’t matter if I blink or not. Life keeps happening. They keep growing.
It’s how it goes, I suppose. The way it’s supposed to be.
But, I wasn’t ready for it. It still shocks me when I open my eyes wide to look at my children.
They aren’t children anymore.
Any traces of their remaining babyhood are long gone…except for my 5th grader. There are still hints and whispers of babyhood but they are getting quieter.
Children growing happens.
Both are involuntary.
Both are something I have to live with.
Now I just need to catch my breath.
And embrace our new normal.