On Tuesday we had one last magical day of summer vacation. We didn’t do anything exciting. After a long weekend we decided just to stay home. I had mentally made a list of all the fun things we could do with the time on Tuesday before a Wednesday of back to school errands and sports and Thursdays back to school. There was a farm that we could go apple picking at or the boardwalk or the beach. I felt like we needed to do something with that last free day but Jack ignored all of my suggestions and instead set about pretending that the kitchen was “Chef Jackson’s Restaurant”.
When the restaurant “closed” he went into the living room and he set off an adventure with his Mickey Mouse stuffed animals (we have about a dozen). And as I listened to his little voice imagine helicopter rides and dinner reservations, for the first time I started to feel sad about him going to Kindergarten.
Because it isn’t the big days out that I’m going to miss, its these little moments at home when he doesn’t even realize I’m listening that I will miss the most. It’s the moments when he’s playing and laughing and singing, the moments when he thinks no one is watching and his imagination explodes in our living room. That is what I will miss most about him being at school every day, for “six hours” as he complained to the woman at the checkout at the grocery store.
So I lay awake in bed that night wondering where the time went. I remember my Mom saying that “you have them for 5 years, school has them for 5 years and then their friends have them”. Just like that.
I remember thinking Kindergarten was the end zone, I just had to get there, things would be easier once I was there. But now that I’m here I know things have been easier and harder in varying degrees since he was born. I know that there really is no end zone in parenting.
And it’s easy to go down the road of Mom guilt and wonder if I made enough of those first five years. If we went to as many parks, play dates and museums as we could. If we had enough adventures and cuddles and spontaneous dance parties. It would be easy to lay there and wonder, did I do enough. But there isn’t time for that.
Yesterday morning was a whirlwind of shower, get dressed, pack lunch, “do you have your backpack”, “put your shoes on” and hugs as we headed out the door. When I got home the house was strangely quiet. I put Grace down for a nap and sat down at my desk to get some things done. There was no “mom”, no “what are you doing”, “can we play” or “I’m so bored”. Phineas and Ferb wasn’t playing on an endless loop. There was no lunch to prepare or requests for snacks. The silence was nice and it was weird.
But the silence will be short-lived. Soon it will be summer again, soon Grace will be a toddler, that fickle-friend time will keep marching on, no matter how often I scream, “slow the fuck down”.