Slipping, Slipping, Slipping
I can feel time slipping through my fingers almost always, but especially on my kids’ first day of school. It’s the great equalizer of Kids Growing Up and We Are Getting Older, isn’t it? Everyone’s kids start school at basically the same time, every kid’s grade increases by 1 in late August/early September (well, the kids you hear about, anyway). I saw no fewer than 35 pictures of people’s kids in their First Day of School outfits on Facebook this week, and while I love seeing the new hairstyles, the sassy outfits, the too-big uniforms and the specially chosen backpacks and lunchboxes, it reminds me how quickly it will all be over. I have friends putting kids in every grade from Kindergarten to grad school and it feels like that wave of aging, happening all at once, threatens to drown me.
This is my older daughter’s last year of elementary school – and she and I and her friends are already talking and plotting and planning where they want to go to middle school – and feeling the pressure of 5th grade getting you into the right middle school, which gets you into the right high school, which gets you into the right college which gets you into Harvard Law. Or…RISD, because she either wants to be a judge or a fashion designer. You know. As one does.
But I feel keenly the process of her pulling away already. And it should be that way. She’s mature, independent, confident. I raised her to be that way. I actively pushed her to be completely and wholly herself. But now that she is, I miss the little girl that she was. And I know soon she will be a young woman, and then a woman, and I will miss even this pulling away process. I will miss even this pain, having traded it for something more cutting, something more ripping, something more.
I think because the beginning of school is such a common denominator, it feels more substantial, this slipping away of time. And there is nothing to be done but watch it go, surrender to its power and hold onto those moments, those sweet and beautiful photos of two girls on my front porch, one with a pink and purple plaid backpack and a pink lunchbox, the other with a black and gray checked backpack and a Darth Vader lunchbox, both standing in the midst of possibility and newness and the future, swirling silently and compellingly around them, propelling them forward, propelling them to step into time and just see what there is out there.