Senioritis

Senioritis. I’ve got it.

I am over 40, but that’s not the kind of “senioritis” I’m talking about. I have a child who will be graduating next year.  A senior in high school.

You young mommies and daddies out there with babies, preschoolers, even elementary school kids won’t get it yet, but I hope what I post here will sink into your brain as your days run together into weeksmonthsyearsssss. Older moms always told me, “savor every moment…they grow up so fast!” and I would nod as if I really got it.  I didn’t.  Not until now.

Somehow, without me realizing it, time has slipped away.  My sweet toddling baby learned to read and ride a bike and got student of the month and started middle school and took driver’s ed… and we just blinked…and she’s in 12th grade.

All those “mundane” afternoons of car line, going to the park, doing a little bit of homework, eating dinner together.  Gone.  She drives herself to and from school. She’s got a job.  She’s got things to do.  On her own.  Important things.

This summer my girl swore in to the United States Marine Corps. She’s only 17, and you might think we are crazy to have signed for her to join so early.  But she’s been wanting to do this for 3 years now, and it became apparent to us that she would have done it the day she turned 18 (5 months from now), and by signing early, she has a better chance at getting a big scholarship the Marine Corps offers. So she’s now a Marine Poolee, and will either go to college and come out an officer in the USMC, or go to boot camp and get a job in the USMC.  Either way, she’s officially in.

And either way, she’s leaving us.

It’s funny how last year we just went on about our days, not thinking about the fact that she would be leaving.  I guess you just don’t think about it until you have to.  And now, here we are, 8.5 months away from her high school graduation, and every event, every “first,” is now a “last”.

I want her to attend every football game, every dance, go to every birthday party, movie, and gathering she can. I want all her friends to come over and I want them to post videos of themselves laughing, swimming, goofing off…being carefree kids.

In just a few months her world as she’s know it will turn upside down. She will, in a sense, become an adult.  But I mean, it’s what we become parents for, right? To take these precious gifts from God and raise them to the best of our ability, pour everything we have into them.  Seems like a daunting task to take on for 18 years straight.  That’s the hard part, right?

Nope.

Letting go is the hard part.  The rest of it was a piece of cake.

So for now, I’m going to try to celebrate every moment, cherish every “last,” remember exactly who my girl is right at this moment.

She loves to fish.  She likes big trucks. She loves animals.  She loves to draw.  She’s quiet, but when she laughs, it’s infectious. She is crazy about her country.  And she’s a future Marine.

I can’t wait to see what she will become as she ventures out into this big world, but for now I’m just going to soak in all the nows. 

So my advice to you parents of younger kids is this: Cherish every second.  Even the bad ones.  Even the boring ones.  Even when they are disobeying and talking back and being horrible and driving you nuts.  Because even in those moments, they are yours. Teach them.  Even if you feel like you’ve said the same thing a thousand times. Hug them.  Take pictures of them at every stage.  DO things with them.  Go places. Make memories.  Enjoy all the “firsts” before they become the “lasts.”

Because it happens so fast.  They grow up so fast.

 

Hot Mess Mama

My son Chase is in preschool, and is there for 3 glorious hours a day. Glorious for him, even more glorious for me. We get a weekly newsletter from his teacher, and last week we got one that had the upcoming events calendar, and on August 31 it said “VPK no dropoff.” I just assumed they were telling parents they had to drop the kids off in the car line and not walk them into the classroom anymore (you know, to sort of cut the cord for those mommies and daddies who don’t want to leave). Look, this is my third child and I’m 44 years old.  Ya ain’t gotta tell me twice.  I pretty much slow to a roll before booting him out the sliding passenger door of my van to the waiting car line attendant. (I kid.  I kid.)

So August 31 came and we did our usual morning routine.  I was going to stay home and work on cleaning, so I didn’t bother getting ready.  We got in the car, drove to the preschool, and I thought it was strange to not see the big long line of cars waiting to drop off kids.  As a matter of fact, the parking lot was quite full.

And then I see it.

There was a sign saying, “NO DROP OFF FOR VPK. PLEASE GO INSIDE AND SIGN YOUR CHILD’S VPK ATTENDANCE RECORD.” No.  NO!!!  I was in my pajamas.  My old grey t-shirt and waaaay too short knit grey shorts (that believe it or not in NO way matched the grey t-shirt). My hair was like when you go 2 days too long without washing it, wear it in a ponytail, and it gets that bump from the elastic band? Yeah, that. I didn’t brush my teeth. I had no makeup on (and had just had a massive breakout all over my face). But the worst thing of all…NO BRA.

I slapped on some foundation that I keep in a little emergency makeup kit in my console. I grabbed the spare hairbrush from the pocket behind the passenger seat and brushed like a maniac.  Now, it’s a Christian preschool, and I’m pretty sure if I had bent over in the shorts I had on, they’d have been able to see clear up into my soul.  So I gingerly got out of the car, discretely pulling down the pj shorts so at least my upper thighs weren’t out and waving hello to everyone.  I ran around to the back of the minivan, looking frantically for the jacket I keep in the there for cold restaurants.  Maybe that would hide most of what was going on.  Well I found the jacket…I had placed it over a box of toys I was donating to hide them from Chase. I had two choices: 1) Yank the jacket off the box, exposing my evil secret to my son, who was standing right by me, or 2) Leave it and walk into that preschool proudly, owning the abomination that was me.

I chose #2.

I used my (thankfully) large purse to hide one boob, while grabbing my purse handle with the other arm across my chest to hide the other boob.  I grabbed Chase’s hand and speed-walked inside.

“Mommy, you’re pulling me too hard! You’re walking too fast!”

Gah.  I slowed my pace. His classroom is at the end of the ridiculously long hallway.

I went into the classroom…thankfully I only kind of know one mom and she wasn’t there yet. Chase ran to his seat, I signed the paper, kissed my sweet boy and ran for the door.  Luckily his teacher was deep in conversation with another teacher and didn’t even acknowledge me.

Long hallway.  His teachers from last year’s class. Parents coming down the hall toward me in droves.  I kept my head down, boobs still, thighs slightly concealed and practically ran to my van.

I made it.  I didn’t see one. Single. Person. I. Knew.

Praise the LORD.

And now I know what “VPK no dropoff” means.