One thing about being a parent is everything changes. First steps, preschool, first day of kindergarten, middle school, high school graduation and first year of college—which is where I am at. All the changes along the way, some subtle—barely perceptible—some announcing themselves loud and clear. It’s the sneaky little changes that make me nostalgic—the last open mouth wet kiss from my chubby, happy baby—did I know it was the last one before she learned to pucker her lips? The way the new pants I bought my daughter for the first day of fourth grade were capris by the end of the school year. Slow and steady is the change. Born at 19 inches and landing at 5’7″ was an 18-year-process and I was there almost every single day of it. Now it feels as if the time just raced by. I love being a mom, it is my greatest joy but I miss so much of what accompanied it.
On St.Patrick’s day, one of our Alameda Arts families invited me to have dinner with them and two other families. There was a table of adults and the 5 kids doing what kids do best: playing, laughing, dressing up, and running all around making a racket. It was wonderful. After dinner we moved outside to enjoy the warm evening. Kids checked in from time to time—they were watching a movie, the evening wore on. At nine, the parents were thinking it was time to head home but conversation was lively and another hour passed before sleepy children, up past their bedtime, needed to go home.
It was this observation which caused me to want to share my thoughts. The everydayness of what was happening around me. I no longer had to get my sleepy girl home, our group of family friends when she was little are not people I see every weekend like I used to. It changed. It was gradual. When she was little, our Mom’s group plus one Dad met every Tuesday like clockwork. We continued hanging out through elementary school but by middle school gatherings were farther apart, by high school almost never. This close-knit group of families with children had moved on and are busy with their own pursuits. The ordinariness of meeting all the time slowly fizzled out. Things changed.
Life is good and full in other ways now. I work with children and it never feels like work, now I am watching them grow. Thank you families for this gift of time with your children, be mindful and enjoy every minute because all too soon it will change.