By: Cayla from Running, Recipes, and Reading
This morning, after my eyes popped open at six, I hopped out of bed, made myself a cup of coffee, and baked banana bread for my kids’ breakfast. While this may seem normal for many of you, it is anything but normal for me. Especially on a morning when, for the first time in a looooong time, I don’t have to get up early and I have a raging spring cold.
When I woke up, I had these butterflies in my stomach, but not the good kind. The kind you get when something you are dreading is on the horizon. For the life of me, I could not figure out why I was feeling so anxious. Report cards? Done. Track and Field? Done. Kids packed for camp? Done. Son graduating from elementary school today?
Oh yeah. That’s it.
Now, normally, I am not an outwardly emotional person. Actually, that’s not true. I do cry when fighting with someone, or in movies, or when reading Guess How Much I Love You?, or when I’m sad or frustrated or scared or overwhelmed. Come to think of it, I cry quite a but. What I don’t normally cry over is happy things; I didn’t cry at my wedding, the birth of my children, their first day of school, or their first day of camp. I am usually so excited and smiley that crying just doesn’t enter the picture.
Until this morning, when I found myself welling up while squishing a banana into a bowl and I started thinking about how even when B finally figured out at the age of 10 that the green dots in my banana bread were not candy sprinkles but in fact, zucchini, he continued eating it and even remarked that it added a special “moistness”.
Why was I crying over my son’s graduation, which falls into the happy and exciting category? Because the tears are not about today but about the 11 years that have preceded it. When you have a baby, you have all these ideas about what your lives are going to look like and what kind of mom you are going to be. You tell yourself that you are going to make all your own baby’s food and read together every night and be there for every first word and make pancakes every Saturday morning. But then you go back to work and frozen chicken fingers are so much faster than fresh. And he wants to read his own books, alone. And you are shocked when he tells you the “new words” he learned today from his friend’s older brother. And Saturday pancakes get replaced by tennis, ski, and swimming lessons. And you realize that without your permission, life fast-forwarded through 11 years.
That is why I am crying today.
People told me that time would fly and that I should savor every moment because before I knew it, they would be grown and gone. But when you are fighting about why it is inappropriate to wear a swim trunks and a Spongebob t-shirt to a fancy restaurant, that day seems a million years away. I should have believed them, because its true. I want those years back. I want my shoes to be too big for his feet, instead of the other way around.
When he was born, my goal as a parent was to raise a happy, kind, and independent child. And today, as he polishes his own shoes and ties his own tie in preparation for graduation, I realize that so far, I have done my job well. He is (too) quickly growing into the amazing young man I hoped he would be.
Am I ready for this?