Wasn't I just holding Abby's little hand as she jumped into puddles at Grayson's preschool? I was. I can see her little impish grin. She was wearing her tiny brown sandals that squeaked. Didn't I just have to figure out how to get green paint out of her bellybutton or decipher her cries when Grayson wasn't around to read her mind? Weren't we just hugging our friends and families goodbye in driveways of Virginia?
Time flies isn't really accurate. It's more like Time crawls, stalls, then lunges forward in one pitiful pile of tears at 8:45 one sunny Monday morning.
"Mommy, are you OK?" asks a worried graduating preschooler.
"Yes, Baby. I think it's allergies, all this pollen."
"I think I have pollen, too, Mommy." Oh my dear hearted sympathy-crying baby girl. You're my last shot at getting this right or wrong or just getting it at all. After you, I stroll into a new plateau of scary unknowns and itchy years of aching for these days. I don't want to ache for them and had convinced myself I would most certainly not but the twinge is already here - a pang of please come back and let me rock you to sleep, sweetheart. The new life won't be awful, I know I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth, but it's going to be different and right now, I just want it to all be the same. Why can't we ever rest in sameness?
The tissue-searching meltdown helped me get through Abby's program without one gulp of tears. She sang out proudly in tight jeggings and a rainbow zebra-striped tank top. She stood out and stole the show for me among her peers of summery dresses and neatly parted hairdos. My girl isn't like the others and my heart can hardly hold itself still when I watch her beautiful difference up there - signing with those little hands for all she's worth: "Yes, Jesus Loves Me." If pride feels like a panic attack then I was as proud as I've ever been. Vertigo threatened to take me down but I talked myself into a standing ovation instead.
Ah, Feelers and all their inconvenient Feelings.
I'm sure my real breakdown won't happen until the fall. The summertime still affords me many crazed and frustrated hours of aimless hours to fill. I cannot wait. It will be one of our last summers where they'll call me Mommy, where we'll have adventures in our backyard, or they'll be ok with not hanging out with their friends all day long. It'll be one of our last summers that this familiar trio will be connected at the hip for weeks on end. It will be sweaty but it will be cozy and good.
Soon after, I'll have to plunk them both down on the school bus and be useless to anyone for 8 hours a day. Is this the quiet I've been pining for when it's 4pm and I can no longer read a recipe to its completion in the din of living? Is this the sense of being benched and no long integral in the upcoming years? Am I bummed to retire my role as the nucleus of all of their sweet needy little molecules? Yes. Yes. And so much yes.
And the breach in my system is taking me by such surprise I can hardly think past it.
Oh sentimental me, didn't I know this is the whole point? It's not making snowflakes out of coffee filters and stacking Max & Ruby Save The Day back onto their bookshelves. It's not Tic Tac Toe on napkins in restaurants, building fairy houses out of cardboard tubes, or catching frogs in their good school shoes.
Didn't I know the better job I do, the less they will need me standing next to them for help?
Yes. I knew all of that. But somehow I thought I'd have more time.
The rub is that we always think we'll have more time.