Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The future is (almost) now

I don’t mean to alarm you, but my baby is graduating from high school this year.

What I meant was I don’t mean to alarm myself… but, too late! I am officially alarmed.

I was doing pretty well pretending Rebecca would be around, oh, forever, because I was too focused on dealing with the desertion of her older brother and sister. For the past several years, I was consumed with Michael and Amy’s high school graduations, and then Michael’s college graduation. My attention was focused like a laser beam on the two older people who unceremoniously packed up and moved out. Rebecca was my steady Eddie. She wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. She’s my baby!

But this September I woke to find another high school senior in the house. And she started talking about where she’s going next year and all her plans and oddly enough, where she’s going and her plans don’t seem to include Michigan or me. Which, as you can imagine, has been quite unsettling.

I’ve said before that I am keenly aware I am not the first mother to send her children into the world. But I rarely heard anyone talk about it. My mom never brought it up, even though for her, each first was also a last, since she only had me and my twin sister. When we flew the coop to college within weeks of each other, I don’t recall any talk at all about it. I imagine my children wish they could say the same…

But this verbal processor is talking about it A LOT, and as I’ve talked about it I’ve run into other mothers who feel the same. It’s not that we don’t know it’s coming. It’s that it came a whole pickin’ lot faster than we could have imagined.

Days are long and years are short. I heard that when I was a young mom and thought it was complete garbage. Days, weeks, months AND years were long. I was feeding and cleaning and wiping mouths and bodies and noses and butts that weren’t mine, and I thought it would never stop.

Then one day, it did.

I have now become that old lady who tells new moms, “Enjoy it! Time flies!”

For those dealing with sleepless nights or picky eaters or kids who simply will not go poop in the toilet but will gladly do the deed in a diaper behind the couch, please know I feel your pain. Your days are long. And seemingly endless. Rest when you can and eat well and do your best to take care of yourself because you are doing hard, thankless work.

And when you can, find glimpses of joy. Maybe the picky eater eats a meal without complaint. Maybe Mr. Diaper finally uses the facilities. Maybe Miss Never-Naps actually sleeps more than 15 minutes. Write them down, with dates. That way next week, when you think nothing is going well, you can recall that something has gone well. And that can give you hope that more will go well in the future.

And the future is a whole lot closer than you can possibly imagine!