I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my children growing up and away from us.
When they were born, I never wanted to let them go. Sliding their precious bodies into another’s arms was reserved only for moments desperate for solitude. Sleeping side by side, we monitored their every movement, every breath.
When my son started kindergarten, I was excited. He was so ready to formalize his education – he loved learning, loved socializing, and eagerly anticipated learning Spanish like his big sister had. He smiled all the way to school, and babbled about his adventures all the way home.
When my daughter started middle school, I was elated. Finally, she would be on my campus, and all the regrets I had about not volunteering in her classes or driving on field trips might be soothed by knowing I could see her every day. She immersed herself in friendships, studying, and never missed a dance.
When my son left elementary school, I was saddened. Eleven years spent between the two suddenly evaporated without even being able to take one final bike ride to pick him up from school on the last day. He was so ready to move on with his education – he loved his friends, loved socializing, and couldn’t wait to ride his bike with his friends all the way to the middle school.
When my daughter started high school, I was nervous. This is when it all comes down to the end, the grades, the transcripts, the test scores and college admissions. She would get her driver’s license, go to the prom, and before I knew it, leave home.
The clock in my heart began counting down.
When my son starts middle school this year, I am still half-way holding on. I can’t quite let go, can’t pass him off to what’s next even though I know it will happen despite me. I squeeze my eyes shut and hope for it to happen painlessly, for it to slip through my awareness without having to feel the drop of my heart, the skip of my breath.
I’ve been thinking about them both lately. I’ve been hoping that the days will stretch on endlessly, the mothering will just shape-shift into some kind of form that I can still cling to even when they’re not here. I’m not ready to let them go, not eager for that kind of solitude. I’ve been trying to cast every moment in bronze, and not let them slip through my fingers.