My B+ Attempts at Being All That

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The last times you didn’t know were the last times until they’re done. When you melt down.

on August 31, 2014

This business of raising kids just pushes me to the limits some days. When they’re little, your energy is poured into throwing the fun parties, chaperoning the impossibly hot or incredibly exhausting field trip, finding the best Christmas surprise, sending the cutest snacks to school. Then they grow up, and the goal is to not lock them in their rooms until they’re nice. But what about that time in the middle, the transition, the last times?


But, but, but . . .

Last year, I received an invitation to only send healthy snacks to my 5th grader, my baby’s “Friendship Party.” The one I signed up to bring snacks, attend, and run the activities. Okay then. I knew it was coming. My daughter disinvited me in no subtle terms when she let me know what time to deliver the warm snacks for her “Fall Gathering” – a time at which she could ensure her classroom would be devoid of friends to see her mother at her school. Message received. But my boy, my sweet boy, my baby, was still okay with his friends knowing we were related. And I was ready to let them know with charades and prizes and creatively crafted fruits and cheeses. And then I got the note that welcomed my snacks but left out any mention of my presence. And when I asked if the lovely teacher needed any help, I was thanked profusely for the offer but, “By the time they hand out their Valentines and eat, that should be about it.” Yep, that should be about it.


Not in My House

For my weepy emotional “I’m not ready for this ship to sail” self, this didn’t sit well. It just wasn’t going to happen to me, you see. My children would always need me, would always delight in my creative efforts to make their school parties memorable. My son wasn’t going to become the cranky old man of an 11-year-old who gets annoyed when I ask him if he took a shower. This week. My daughter wouldn’t start avoiding me and would continue confiding in me about her joys and troubles.


But Wait!

I didn’t know the Fall Gathering would be my last school party. And it hurt to realize that. It may not seem like much. There are so many other beautiful moments that don’t involve purple icing and kids who are just a little too worked up to play the games properly. But I was not ready to say goodbye to that chapter, to move on. I was foolishly thinking I had all the time in the world to stress out over details like bingo cards and plastic prizes. And yet, it became one more entry in a long list of the last times that I didn’t realize were the last times until they were gone. Like my sweet boy coming in to our bed when he had a bad dream. Or loving a stuffed animal because it was so cute. Or the sleepovers the kids and I had when dad was out of town. Or when I knew the perfect gift that was just the right amount of quirky and fun. Or when a hug fixed just about anything.


Keep Moving or Cry

So now I look for the next thing to not know is over until after it’s over. I’m pinning my hopes on the daughter and our shopping/bonding days. They have to stay nice as long as we’re in control of the debit card, right? And I’m sure that even after she learns how to drive, she’ll still want me to take her places. She won’t get all independent and not need me anymore. That’s not going to happen to me, I’m sure. And if it does (which it won’t, I tell you; it won’t), I’ve got my dog, and she doesn’t seem to understand this game of growing up and moving on. God love that dog.


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