Sassy eye rolling and endless complaints mixed with clingy hugs and kisses. One minute they are holding my hand and the next they are storming away muttering things I don’t want to hear anyway. While I realize this song and dance complete with jazz hands is just the prologue to a future filled with push and pull of maturity it still tucking hurts.
It hurts because its confusing and exhausting. It hurts because its like a slowly pulled bandaid on a tender road rash. I feel bruised and raw unprepared for their evolving journey into independence.
Its blurry and just makes me want to go to sleep and go back in time to soft cheeks and small feet.
The first day of school is always so exciting and fun but this year feels a little different. Spawn enters 8th grade this year and despite his armpit hair, deep voice, zits and surly attitude it seems impossible that the uncooked wee chicken I held on the day of his birth is the mostly manly boy who stands before me. There are certain times where the fast forward button seems to be stuck and some sort of special effect is in play to change the small, weird, funny and affectionate little man in to the large, weird, funny and affectionate young man who asks me in too deep a voice if he can have a popsicle.
Our boy’s changes felt like they were never going happen because he grew so dang slowly for the longest dang time. He was always little and at times his littleness stuck out as everyone else shot up and out around him. He is average now which seems enormous. His feet have grown at a phenomenal rate and they have been bigger than mine for over a year now. He is a teenager, officially.
Spawn’s changes keep overshadowing the physical and emotional changes in his sister, 3 years his junior because we expect her to change. Our chica has been a marvel at advanced behavior and growth her entire life and I take it for granted. Luckily for her and for me she is excited by her body changes and giggles about her boobs starting to grow and is fascinated by her older BFF’s body changes and not especially scared of them as I was at her age. I would like to think that it’s because I talk to her about them constantly-hazzard of being a nurse I think-so she feels prepared for what happens. Our girl has more inner turmoil going on and frets constantly about what will happen to her when she dies, what else is out there, what is reality and was is just a dream and how do we know what is real and what matters because we don’t believe in god.
First day of school and all I can really think about is how they are closer and closer to walking away from me into their own grown up lives.
I may have to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. Or go crazy with longing and love. No one tells you when you sign up for this that you would all the time feel like you are teetering between the urge to push them away and the desire to hold them so tightly.
With my feet on the air and my head on the ground I accept the sleep deprivation that come from having a sick child. You think after 13 years that it will go away and you can sleep through the night regardless of illness except for puking but no, small hands with bed head hair stand in underpants outside my door.
I feel less powerless in my powerlessness as they get older as I can reasonably tell them I can’t make anything go away and especially at 230am. Luckily I can convince them to try to live through it as our alternatives are the emergency room or I can kill them and put them out of their misery. They usually choose going back to bed.
After periods of being able to do whatever I want I feel offended and constrained by the promise of fixing it all in the morning. Doctor visits, co-pays, medication I have to remember to give and other activities that will have to be canceled is exhausting to arrange.
And i am already exhausted from being awakened at 230am by small people who need me. So, I feel lucky and pissy and that seems about right.
There is just too much going on in our household. Chica is getting boobs and a waist. Spawn has so much leg and underarm hair. Our bathroom smells moldy. I am changing jobs. Spouse is making goats. There is an endless stream of crap all over our coffee table. The cats have fleas. The dog won’t stop biting his ass. It’s hot. It’s muggy. The kids are NOT in school and the summer is just going by too fast.
Every year at some point since the kids each turned about 5 years old there is this fast forward button that seems to be pressed and I just don’t know where all the time goes, what we should be doing and how I am supposed to manage it all. Too many changes, too much that makes me feel like I have no idea what to do.
I look at older adults, strangers around my town and resist the urge to constantly ask them how to manage it all? How did you survive and seem so dang happy now? Change is exciting and fun mostly but I find myself wanting do-overs for most things. I try to practice my yoga-be-present-in-the-moment thing but it just doesn’t work the way I think it should.
When do you reach the age where you feel like you aren’t going to keel over from the weight of all this adulthood?
Anyone, anyone? Buehler?
Sunday marked our 22nd anniversary. We were 21 and 22 when we met and moved in together. Neither of us really felt anything much changed when we got married and I just count the date from when we met because-we have never not lived together and how is the piece of paper obtained in Martha’s Vineyard make us any more together? It doesn’t, so whatevs.
22 years is a really long time and I can say honestly that I can’t believe it has been that much time. Like, smacking my forehead as in I coulda had a V-8 style. I mean, we have owned 3 houses, have lived in two states, had two children, have finished school, people have died, other people have gotten married that were children when we first met-you know, the whole life thing has gone on.
Some days it is a glory to behold-our love. And some days I can’t believe I haven’t run away yet. Or killed him. Or myself. Or the children.
Everyday that THAT does not happen feel like I am winning this marriage/family/children/life bullshit.
One point for me, since we all still live and no one is in jail.
I know that doesn’t seem romantic but romance is for amateurs. We are pro’s at this living together shit. I want love and laughter and for the most part, there has been lots of that.
Walking the dog in the twilight hours in this late spring burgeoning summer season with the inky blue sky gradually lit by far away stars I wonder how I can stick right here on earth. I understand the rudiments of gravity, feel its invisible force upon me sticking my feet to the earth.
I feel like a cactus in the middle of a desert standing still, dew forming and burning away as the sun rises, birds perch precariously on my spines, feeling the wind whip around me, rooted to the spot.
Otherwise I am a stone in the middle of the creek, sticks pushing up against me resisting the rush of water, leaves resting on me, fish hiding behind my edges and then swimming on.
Possibly I am a bird with short wings that allow me only to fly short distances like a fat turkey who can get more quickly across the road if I were to just wobble across rather than flinging upward and forward with effort and air.
We don’t feel the earth spinning and that is a blessing as the life you live on earth shouldn’t be one where you have to squeeze your eyes shut to keep from throwing up. The earth turns around in space with all of us on it and it is wonderful with your eyes open, staring at the stars.
He didn’t even come right up to me to hug but he called me 3 times while he was away at camp. Got flustered trying to find some kind of yum welcome home lunch to get and drove in a couple of circles which gave us some time to chat in the car. The boy was full of baby turtles, frogs, eagles, osprey, vultures, ropes course, lemon cake, watered down apple juice, wearing the same dang shirt for 3 days, his Indiana Jones type hat and a few bumps and scratches. He didn’t smell too badly and looks about an inch taller, voice deeper still but hugged and kissed me all I wanted.
Until he walked in the house, ignored the amazing sub on homemade italian bread I just went and got him, went up the stairs to his room and shut the door.
And here I sit, the living room all by myself but happy because he is where he should be. Near me enough that I could command him out of his room to kiss me again. But I won’t and learning to give him space is really hard because all I want to do is reel him in closer and closer like a fish and stick him in my tank. Forever.
At least he loves me and I know it.