Weaving time in a tapestry
One concept, two readings:
Natalie says: Whoo! I'm done with junior high today!
Mom says: My daughter is starting high school three months.
My. Daughter. High. School.
Fear strikes my heart. Thoughts invade my brain.
It's a mantra that's been haunting me for weeks and now it's just like one big word that invades my brain every time I try to sleep. And when I'm not fearing the future, I'm mourning the passage of time. Can someone explain to me how three years can feel like one day?
Natalie's whole stint in junior high has been documented right here. Maybe that's why it seems to have gone so fast; I've been writing this weblog even longer than she spent in that school.
Some of you have been around here since the beginning and thus, you've watched Nat grow up. Together, we went through the trials and tribulations of her first boyfriend, her first smackdown, her cell phone poetry, the frank sexual discussions, her Katie Ka-Boom tendencies and everything in between.
On her birthday this year, I wrote:
But oh, how right they are. Believe it when they tell you that time goes so fast your head will spin. Everything goes by in a blur; trying to recapture all the moments is like trying to catch all the scenery on a car trip while you're doing 80mph. Vroom. Swooosh. Firststepstoilettrainingnurseryschoollongdivisionpubertyhighschool.
When she was crawling, I wished that she would walk. When she was walking, I wished she would stay still. When all she could do was cry, I wished she could talk. Now I wish she would just stay quiet for ten seconds at a time. When she was four, I couldn't wait until she was older so we could stay up late drinking tea while she told me about her first date. Now, I wish she was four again.
Yes. I want it back. I want all that time back. The days spent lounging in the backyard looking at clouds. The mommy and me classes. The story hours at the library. Sesame Street. Disney on Ice. The lullabyes. The walks with the stroller and the fussing in the car seat and the crying in the middle of the night. The scrawled Mother's Day cards, the lopsided pigtails, the innocent questions about everything.
I'm sure that four years from now, when she's graduating high school, I'll be waxing nostalgic about the present time. Well, maybe. How much can one miss the Great Eye Roll, the snarky remarks, the sarcasm, the feeling that no matter what you do, you'll just never please your child?
Ok, so there are the good things about my child getting older. She's more independent, she doesn't need me as much as she used to.
Wait? That's supposed to be a good thing? Then why does it make me feel so sad at times?
Fear of high school keeps me awake at night. The fact the she doesn't fear it all and, in fact, can't wait until September fills my dreams with the monsters known as Boyfriends and Peer Pressure. Nevermind the SATs and regents exams, at least those she can study for. There is no guidebook for dealing with sweet talking high school boys or friends dangling beer bottles and cigarettes in front of you.
I know, I worry too much. It's my job to worry, though. I can't help but look at this:
and feel my hair blow back as the woosh of time rushes past me.
I suppose I should take a lesson from myself. When she was five, I lost sleep over sending her to kindergarten. Each rite of passage brought new fears and more hand wringing. Three years ago, when she graduated from elementary school, I was terrified of what fates awaited her in the dreaded middle school. She seems to have gotten out of there ok, and most of my fears were unfounded, products of reading too many alarming articles about what teenage girls are up to these days.
I look forward to her future with uncertainty, I look to her past with a twinge of nostalgia. I need to do some deep breathing. Relax, let the summer unfold and September approach without all this overwrought trepidation or teary-eyed reminiscing. I hear the concept of living in the present is a pretty good one, if done right. I just might try that. I just might concentrate on who she is today and grab those few moments where we are getting along and enjoy them without those fears or regrets or nighttime monster sharing the stage.
I should take my own advice: Pictures, videos, memories. Hold them all dear because one day they are sleeping soundly in a crib and the next they're getting a job and you need something to keep track of all the days in between.
That's kind of hard to do when you're spending so much time fending off the future. So I hereby vow to concentrate on today, not yesterday and not tomorrow. At least for the summer.