Sunday, August 29, 2010

Time in a Bottle

One last sweep through the kids' rooms this afternoon, on the eve of back to school, clearing out old backpacks, beat up shoes, and clothes that have been outgrown. And suddenly I find myself crying. I am having one heck of a time this year with the kids going back to school. For weeks now, every time I think about it, I feel this emptiness, this feeling of loss.

I've been trying to figure out what's making me such a mess about it this year - a far bigger mess about it than I have ever been before. I think Michael having faced down cancer last year has made both of us keenly aware of everything we have, and therefore everything that can be lost. I think, too, that the fact that I've had a new baby every other year since 2002 until this year is contributing to this feeling of loss; I'm still grappling with the fact that there will be no more new babies for us, and so suddenly not starting over with another new baby this year is making me feel more intensely than ever how quickly all of my kids are growing up.

So many changes in all my kids lately. Kevin has entered that early teenage awkward stage. He grew several inches over the summer, and his face is losing its little boy softness and becoming more angular. Joey has become more interested in baseball than anything else, and I can see him struggling in the limbo between little boy and big boy. The twins will be six soon, and already I see glimpses of them as young women. Lilah is starting preschool tomorrow, and there is a part of me that wants to say, "No! Stay home and be my shopping buddy and watch Blue's Clues with me for another year . . . please." And Finn took his first steps this morning.

You hear it all the time from other parents: "They grow up so quickly." It's true. What nobody tells you, though, is that no matter how difficult the stage is that you're in right now with your kids, you will one day look back and wish you could have this time back. Nobody tells you that one day you will be gazing at your baby's sweet, pudgy face, utterly unable to fathom him as a "big kid," and you will go to sleep and wake up what will seem like the next day, and that pudgy little baby will suddenly be as tall as you. Nobody tells you that sometimes you feel like you have whiplash from how fast it all goes by. Nobody tells you that one day, you will bury your face in your son's old jeans with the knees blown out, and you will cry silent tears and wish with all your heart that he would be little again so you could appreciate it and savor it like you didn't at the time.

I swear, the older they get, the more it breaks my heart.


The Sanchez Family said...

Crying with you Lisa....I so understand!!!! My kids drive me crazy and one minute after they are out the door to school I MISS them like crazy. TOO fast life moves....

diane rene said...

I'm feeling it too, Lisa ... I don't want this evening to end because I'm not ready for a new year of school.

Jennifer Zener said...

So true Lis! My "baby" went off to Kinder this morning, while Emma started a new chapter with Middle School and Sophie is suddenly a big 3rd grader. So many changes for us Moms! I had to hide my tears as I walked Ellie to school...she was so excited and I didn't want her to see my sadness:-)