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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I don’t wanna

Reasons why I don’t want to do my slice tonight:

  1.  My throat hurts
  2. Too much traffic
  3. It’s cold (60 degrees is cold, right?)
  4. I didn’t eat dinner until 8:30 PM.  (And it wasn’t even very good)
  5. Two minutes ago I had a cute little chub-a-dub-dub baby and somehow tonight I found myself registering him for high school…

Cooking with Kids

“Mommy, can I help you cook dinner?” My heart simultaneously soared and dropped (so I guess it pretty much stayed in the same place…).

Anyone who has kids or loves kids (or- I guess I should clarify-has them and loves them) knows that cooking with children is a lovely bonding experience.  Kids learn language, measurement, cooking skills, and it’s a nice time to hang out and chat.

Anyone who has ever cooked with kids also knows that it is not exactly the fastest, cleanest, or most sanitary way to make a rushed weeknight meal after work.  (It also means that I can’t watch Homeland out of the corner of my eye while I cook….)

But of course I said yes and we began to bustle around the kitchen, Lucy humming to herself as she worked.  My daughter is 8, and we have done this together many times.  I suddenly noticed how independent she has become.  She got the stepladder, cut the stems off the beans (“I like cooking with you better because daddy doesn’t let me use the big knife”), only dropped three beans on the floor, curled her fingers away from the knife blade without needing a reminder, carefully tossed the beans into the pan, added a pinch of salt, and helped carry the steaks out to the BBQ.

She then skipped off so she could play for a bit before dinner, leaving me to finish, watching Homeland again out of the corner of my eye, missing my little helper.

Quirks

  1. I will always, always, always carry 100 things too many rather than take a second trip.
  2. I wake up to NPR because alarms that buzz, beep, and scream ruin my day before I am even awake.
  3. I am physically incapable of doing only one thing at a time.  (Right now I am watching Homeland, typing this, and drinking coffee).
  4. I can’t relax when closet doors are open.  They are a reminder that something needs to be done.
  5. Digging and planting center me.  (Yes, the literal ground literally grounds me)
  6. Turning nouns into verbs when there is a perfectly good verb available feels like fingernails on a chalkboard to me (I die a little inside every time I hear the words conferencing and inferencing).
  7. I am sympathetic to people who get annoyed when people use ‘literally’ incorrectly, (although it doesn’t bother me in the slightest).  And I am also totally aware that I just did it.  Additionally, I realize that this is pretty hypocritical in light of the whole ‘conferencing/inferencing’ thing.  But I had to.
  8. I really want to correct people when they are wrong.  Even if I don’t know them.  Or they are not talking to me.  Or if it doesn’t matter in the slightest. “Was it Monday or was it Tuesday?  I think it was Monday…..”  “NO!!!”  I swoop in to save the day.  “It was Wednesday.”   I have enough self control that I do more of these corrections inside of my head instead of out loud, but some would say not enough of them…
  9. Book stores make me soooooo happy.
  10. I love smoothies in the morning because chewing is too much work before 6:00 AM.