You’re gonna miss this, You’re gonna want this back, You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.
— Trace Adkins
This week I, the woman who embodies the phrase, “if it’s not in the scrapbook, it did not happen” missed a very important middle school awards program. GirlWonder was awarded for being on the honor roll the entire school year and we were not in attendance. Not the honoree. Not her family. We missed it. I don’t know how it happened, but we did.
Actually I do know how it happened. We were at our son’s last track meet of the year. Regionals. A very big deal.
I didn’t know I had missed it until, of course, the opportunity was gone. The photos appeared on Facebook. Our daughter’s friends squished together in snapshots and posing stretched out across a stage.
Social media is so good about letting you know as soon as possible about all the fun you are missing out on. My heart sunk. I can never get that moment back. If I could clone myself, or perhaps split neatly in half, these things would not happen.
If it is any consolation to Girlwonder, her brother missed his academic honors program too. We were at HER track meet at the time and BoyWonder had an earlier commitment to Boy Scouts. All good, all necessary, all going by way too fast.
Time flies when you’re having fun.
This weekend was a milestone. We became — if only for three days — a broken family. Boywonder stayed home while we accompanied Girlwonder to the state track meet.
I’m supposed to say I was worried about him, but in truth I never really was. Thanks to his father, Boy Scouts and his own unflappable nature, he currently possesses a better survival skill set than I do. If anything tricky had gone down at home, all involved would have been in good hands with him. Better than with me, if the truth is told.
Still, the weekend spent requesting a table for three of us rather than four when we dined was strange. The texts from him detailing where he was and how well things were going were appreciated, but bittersweet. He — and our home — made it through three days without his parents here to guide him — or drive him. I feel my own planned obsolescence looming. It’s a good thing – but frightening too.
Leaving the hotel I watched a mother escort her toddler down a steep flight of steps. She gripped his hand firmly as he stomped down in that heavy, flat-footed way of people new to the art of walking.
He was so sassy and sure of himself. Most importantly he seemed completely unaware — or unfazed — that he would have fallen on his face or tumbled to great harm more than once on the way down without his mother’s firm, unwavering grip on his hand.
I, teared up right there. I, the taker of photographs and keeper of memories, cannot remember when my son was that small. I understand that he was in theory, but to picture the strong, capable, strapping young man I adore as a joyfully careening toddler who needed my help for each step eludes me.
Today I want to hold his hand and he cannot wait to drive. Even the threat of my slapping a sticker family and “My Mom is an Honor Roll Student at Weight Watchers” bumper sticker on the faded family minivan does not dissuade him from wanting the keys.
I think back to the days when my children needed me for everything and both fit in my lap. I can recall, chuckling now, long lazy days and seemingly endless afternoons. I remember sitting on the porch steps mid-day wondering how I would fill the many long hours until bedtime. How many books? How block towers? How many pails of sand dumped out of the sandbox, seemingly into an hourglass that ticked off our days on inexorably long second after another at a time?
Now I feel the world speeding up. We have so much to do and limited days to do it, enjoy it, and experience it all. Filling time is not an issue. Living in the moment is.
I read a wonderful, inspirational quote recently that said “One of the greatest responsibilities of a Mom is to keep her finger on the pulse of her family. If it is racing, slow down.”
I look back at the days, weeks, moments and years and wonder what else I missed from back in the days when I swore they would never grow up and then one day — they did. We love busy but we need to appreciate a well earned slow-down too.