Disclaimer: I wrote this in post in March of 2020 but never posted it. Time to get back on the blogging train…
Things are disappearing, I tell my husband. He looks at me with the arched eyebrow that says, “you’re losing it”. But there was an iPhone power cord that was always by my bedside that has disappeared and I can’t seem to locate it.
“Maybe the dog took it,” he says.
“Funny,” I respond. He may not see it, but I know that things are disappearing.
The collagen that used to make my cheeks plump and the skin above my kneecaps firm is slowly departing, leaving lines in its wake. The bounce in my step as I exit the bed in the morning has disappeared, replaced by careful planting of one foot, then the other, making sure my hip won’t pop as I stand.
My youngest left for college nearly four years ago and was scheduled to graduate this Spring. I hear parents bemoaning the fact that their graduates may have to move home if they can’t find a job that allows them to “get off the payroll”, and avoid dwelling in basements and those extra spaces that were already being turned into offices and craft rooms and libraries. It’s true: I want my daughter to find a good job and move on but that requires admitting that this time in her life – and mine – is over. The period of time between childhood and adulthood has completed for her and things will never be the same.
I’ve been through this disappearing act once before, so I know. It should be easy by now. My older daughter has been properly employed and on her career path since graduating college, and after living at home for about a year post-commencement, now lives with her boyfriend, just a few miles from us. I am used to her new life away from home and know that it will continue to contain less and less of me as she gets further involved in her career, her relationship, and perhaps, someday, her own family. The proverbial clock is ticking and all I can do is watch as things disappear.
Of course, given the current global crisis, we don’t know if there will be a graduation ceremony now this Spring. But graduate my little one will, bringing to a close all of the graduations of the past. Two elementary school, two middle school, two high school and now two college graduations…I still can’t catch my breath. Surely, there will still be visits and holidays and maybe like her sister, my youngest will need to come home to us for awhile – so very difficult for these college grads to make a decent living these days. But I’m not fooled by these fleeting thoughts. This life, too, is disappearing.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some things in life that are better left to the past and my memories, some things that I am not so sad to say goodbye to, from both my own childhood, teenage and young adult years, as well as those of my daughters. Middle school. Math classes. Dating. Finals week in college. Commuting two hours every day back and forth to work. Changing diapers. Lugging car seats and strollers and bags full of toys on airplanes. Teenage tantrums. Wet towels and suits everywhere. Waiting up at night for the sound of a car pulling into the garage. These things have already disappeared and I don’t miss them. Not much anyway.
But I do miss that feeling when you’re little and the summer seems to go on forever. The excitement as you get dressed before a special night out. Late night, shared conversations with best friends. The moment you know “he’s the one”. The feeling of the first rumbling kick in your belly. The sound of little voices laughing and calling “Mommy!”. Holding hands to cross the street. Reading time before bed, snuggled under the blankets. Watching soccer/basketball/plays/choral performances/volleyball and in our case, swim meet after swim meet after swim meet. Wiping tears. Hugs good night. These things are disappearing.
I am always one to look ahead, see the light, keep moving, keep living. But ever so slowly, that thought creeps in when you hit yet another milestone, that there are so few of those milestones left to hit and time is running out. You want to savor each moment just a little more, knowing that like all of these things, these moments are disappearing.
He thinks I’m crazy. I give the dog a belly rub. I write “new power cord” on my to-do list.