The Opposite of Dog Years

He leaned over to his barely a teenage daughter, pulled her close, and kissed her on the cheek, then took off his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes.

I don’t know him, but in that moment, I did.

We were at high school freshman orientation, getting our eighth graders ready for this transition.  And I didn’t realize ahead of time that I was the one who wasn’t ready.  The years came rushing back to me and bowled me over on the short drive to his soon-to-be-new-school.  I felt tears prickling the corners of my eyes as I searched for a parking space.  “Hold it together” I told myself, hustling the kids out of the car and joining the crowd of parents, all looking more shell-shocked than their children.

If dog years means “one year that feels like seven,” what do we call parenting years?  Because there is something about being a parent that makes this thing  we call time alternate between frozen and the fastest fast forward option on your DVR.  There are moments- random, tiny, everyday moments- loose teeth, bruises and cuts, tears and time outs- that happened years ago but feel like yesterday.  Like the time I clicked you into your tiny car seat just as you looked down to watch me and I pinched your lip in the seatbelt and made you bleed.  And the first time you sat in the baby swing at the park, squealing with delight.  I remember how bad I was (am?) at cutting nails and how I made you cry for daddy.  I can recall every second of the morning before the first day pre-school- the roller coaster of ecstatic to excited to happy to nervous  to really really nervous to wait-they-have-food-here-bye-mom!  And now I look at these high school students, excited to greet you and welcome you to their world instead of mine and they look like young men and women and I can’t believe that will be you in a few short years.

I’m not ready…what if I did it wrong?  What if I messed you up?  What if I did too much/too little/simultaneously too much and too little for you and have ruined your future because of it?  Can I rewind and do it again just in case, just to be sure?  And this time, don’t make the time fly by in parenting years.

Give me a few dog years.

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5 thoughts on “The Opposite of Dog Years

  1. Wow.

    Our school entered into a whole grade sharing agreement with a neighboring district, taking our high school and moving it into the other district. That pulled my oldest daughter away from me and her in a totally new school. Two years later, my youngest daughter followed. Suddenly, I had no children in a place where I saw them grow up, day by day, having the chance to both teach and coach them.

    Now, we are my oldest is a freshman in college, the youngest is a junior, so soon, they both be gone.

    i understand your slice, and feel for you! But as your see those memories, smile for the memories yet to come, because those are pretty awesome too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You made me tear up a little bit too- both for my first tiny baby nephew suddenly being a high schooler, and for those moments yet to come in my parenting journey. I can’t even quite face the prospect of 2nd grade in the fall!

    Liked by 1 person

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