Friday, April 24, 2009

time flies...and other mysteries


Surfer Dude was student of the day at his elementary school today, an honor that each student gets once during the academic year. They get to bring in their treasures from home and put them in a display case by the front entrance, so all of the other students can ooh and aah and make them feel like the Big Kid on Campus. This morning we carefully took the box full of his special stuff to school and arranged it neatly in the case, Surfer Dude hovering closely to make sure it was all done to his specification. When we were finished, he took one last look, gave me a hug, a kiss and an "I love you mama", and then flew up the stairs to his classroom to start his special day.


It didn't hit me until I was dismantling the display at the end of the day that this was my last go-round with this in elementary school. Surfer Dude is in sixth grade, and with right around four weeks of school left in the year, is already looking at Gumby's junior high with a proprietary eye. I've had at least one kid in elementary school since Sasquatch started in 1997, and it's a really disquieting thought to realize that we are just about at the end of an era. Time flies, all right, and when kids are involved it moves at warp speed. Sasquatch will be a high school senior next year- and the year after if his grades don't improve. How did that happen?


I'm not one of those moms who tearfully laments the baby days and wishes for a house full of toddlers again. With three boys five and under I barely got through the day the first time, and really don't have the inclination to do it again. But you can't escape the fact that my kids are growing up, and even though for the most part I'm okay with this, sometimes it feels more immediate than others.


When they were little my favorite part of the day was when they were bathed and powdered and cozily in their pajamas. There was genuine contentment in those times. Another day survived, fat little well-fed bellies tucked into terrycloth sleepers, a glass of chardonnay with my name on it. Everyone was present and accounted for, healthy and sound. I slept really well in those days, partly because I was chronically sleep deprived, but also because in about three minutes I could make the rounds and make sure all was well with my brood.


I remember the Christmas I was hugely pregnant with Sasquatch and my mom, the FX and I went to Alabama to spend the holiday with my mom's family. At one point my grandmother gazed around her house, looked at her two daughters and three grandchildren, and she sighed this big huge sigh of contentment. "I just love it," she said, "when you're all here and I know you're all safe." I knew jack about the maternal feeling then and thought she was overstating her case, but I get it now. Oh god, do I get it.


The younger boys are gone every other weekend and Sasquatch is rarely seen on any weekend. He comes home to touch base, raid the fridge and change clothes, but that's about it. It's very rare these days for all of us to be home to eat dinner together. Everyone has their own activities and plans, and my house for the most part resembles the airspace above LAX, with people coming and going at all times and in all directions. The nights when everyone is home and accounted for are few and far between, and I love every single one of them. I have a feeling they're going to become even more rare as the years go by.


I've been out of school for years, and yet I still think of Spring as the time of endings and Fall as the time of beginnings. Next Fall will be a doozy around here. And the Fall after that - the college Fall - well, I can't even go there. Not quite yet.


After all, I've still got four weeks of elementary school left.

15 comments:

lv4921391 said...

,,,the nest empties quickly...good

luck with it as does...

my two cents said...

You know I can't even think about the fall, next spring, and the following fall. They grew up so quickly, how did that happen? Ok, now I am all teary.

ped crossing said...

Even as I am eternally in elementary school (my record keeps skipping at 5th grade you know), I can already see that they are growing up faster than I am ready for. I don't want to go back, but can't we go just a little slower so I can savor these days a bit more.

softinthehead said...

We have all had these moments and they really do stop you in your tracks for a few minutes! It amazes me that my baby is about to have a baby :)

Cath said...

I'm crying and I'm right with you.
DS-Kid is in his final weeks of Primary school. Last sports day, last football match, last everything...
He is looking forward to high school, and I am for him. But these days are soon gone, and gone forever except in my head. :)

Cath said...

Oh! and like you - I don't yearn to have toddlers again, but I loved that powdery smell and the "all well with my brood" feeling...

Frances said...

One of my friends told me she regretted giving birth because while she was pregnant she knew exactly where her baby was!
I only have one, so I know that whenever she decides not to be my spoilt child, and to seek independence -I will be bereft. No more being Mummy.

Katy said...

My daughter turned 10 last week and I'm still getting used to that. I can't even think about leaving elementry school yet.

Rudee said...

What? The nest empties? I have yet to experience that and I don't have a child younger than 18.

In case nobody has forewarned you, you need to start saving some money for your senior's outrageously expensive last year in school. I wish someone had told me.

Maggie said...

You write so eloquently about thoughts and feelings I have on a regular basis myself. Thanks for today's smile.

Mimi said...

I went through this last year,tho my 3 are much closer in age, so I had only been in the primary(=elementary) school for 11 years total.
My experience was that it was exhausting, physically(loads of "the last" everything). We were part of a small(only 12 in the class) close-knit community, so we had "the last supper, the last lunch" etc. I was emotionally wrung-out at the end of it, but it was also good to mark the transition.
Your description of your favourite part of the day when they were little is pure poetry- beautifully written. mimi

Maggie May said...

They grow up amazingly quickly. Even my grandchildren seem to be whizzing up so fast.

I loved your description of the toddlers all clean and powdery cozying up and ready for bed.
Nearest I get to that is when I have an early shower and put on pyjamas and snuggle in front of the TV. Tonight the granddaughters are sleeping over so they did get all clean & into nightwear & had a long cuddle before bed, which we all loved!

Devon said...

I treasure each minute with my family and know how fast it goes by! My hubby will retire in 4 1/2 years. I remember when he began his career!

I've a 7th grader and a 4th grader and I'm fortunate enough to stay home with them. Everytime I think about breaking out the scrubs and heading to the nearest hospital, I just imagine how soon they will be gone and put the scrubs back in the closet!

Iota said...

I've got 4 more weeks of having a preschooler. I've had a baby or preschooler since 1997. That's a long time to have a little hand pressed into yours as you walk across the parking lot. That's a long time to have painty pictures of people with big round bodies and stick arms and legs on your wall. That's a long time to have someone telling you how big they are all the time (when they patently aren't). I could go on...

Kaytabug said...

I know that I'm reading this late but I just posted about this very topic, and your post reminded me of something else I need to be thankful for now. Even though my oldest is in 6th grade and the youngest is getting ready to "graduate" preschool I'm glad to get this insight now. I think I need to listen to We're alright for now by Tom Petty.

Hugs to you!!!