Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones when you’re being the worst possible version of yourself? I was a bear: grumpy, short with the kids, annoyed with every little thing. The worst part was that I recognized my bad mood, knew it was ridiculous, but still didn’t pull myself out of it. I suppose I could blame it on PMS and absolve myself of guilt, but that’s a cop-out as far as I’m concerned. I’m a firm believer in self control, even if I don’t always practice what I preach. By the end of the afternoon I was no more pleasant than I was in the morning, and daydreams of taking off for a day (all alone) were floating through my head like beautiful, elusive clouds.
Shortly before bedtime, the time I’d been looking forward to all day, it dawned on me that the next day (today) was Eli’s last day of preschool. Now yes, I’ve known for over a month that May 31st was his last day of school, but Spring is a busy time of year with our anniversary and all three kids’ birthdays happening within a month of each other. So although I knew the end of school was drawing near, it wasn’t until last night that the full import of what that meant hit me. Full force.
The end of preK means the beginning of ‘real’ school. Which means… we will never have another school year when I have all of my kids home during the day. We will never again get ready for bed and say, “Hey, let’s all go to the children’s museum tomorrow! It won’t be too busy ’cause everyone’s in school!” We will never have another leisurely weekday morning where we stay in our jammies until noon because we have no plans for the day.
As I cuddled Eli at bedtime, another thought hit me right between the eyes. This is going to happen over and over again. It’s kindergarten now. But then it’ll be middle school. And the start of high school. And the end of high school. And college. And, oh my word, he’ll move away for four years! And then he’ll get married and maybe move away forever. No one tells you about this part of parenthood. Sure, they all say, “Enjoy it because it flies by!”, but they don’t tell you what they really mean. That every part of your child growing up will tear a tiny piece of your heart out. I feel like there should be some kind of warning sign on the labor and delivery room door: “Caution: You are about to enter a love you never knew existed. It will forever change you and could be harmful to your health. Proceed with extreme caution.”
Needless to say, that little wake up call made me realize that even on my grumpy days (the ones when I’d like to send my kids away for a bit) I still don’t want them to grow up. So this morning, when all three woke up earlier than usual, and Annelise was screaming because I put her down to get the boys some juice, and the boys were arguing because one wanted to watch cartoons and the other one wanted to play MarioKart, I took a deep breath and asked God to help me enjoy every minute I have with them. Because college is coming much too soon.