I feel too young to hear myself say it, but as I drove to pick my son up from play rehearsal at 7:30pm (gasp!) from HIGH SCHOOL (double gasp!) I inhaled deeply as I pulled off the exit and exhaled loudly, as my mind, obviously plagued by too many Hallmark cards, commercials, and TV movies, thought, “Wasn’t it just yesterday that my father was picking ME up from high school? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I sat on the passenger side, craning my neck towards the back seat to gossip with my best friend?”
How did it happen that parenthood became a one-way ticket to every cliche? “It goes by so fast; in the blink of an eye. I wish I could hit pause, I wish I could slow it down.” I’m feeling the same thing every mother in the history of time has felt: shock, nostalgia, longing, impending mortality, and a clock which ticks louder with each day the children grow.
My brain queued Sunrise, Sunset, and I teared up as I pulled into the car line with other parents, idling with their hazards on, waiting for their extracurricular kids. He’s so grown up. He was born wise beyond his years, his large brown eyes born to peer back at me, challenge me, keep me honest, and keep me in perpetual awe of him. He’s always been mature, but his demeanor is evolving; he’s transitioning slowing into a man and I’m witnessing it in a slow motion, fast forward.
Wasn’t it just yesterday I brought him home from the hospital? Less than seven pounds of warm, soft human I didn’t understand. I didn’t comprehend the intensity of love my heart can squeeze until his first cry. Before he was born, I didn’t entertain false romantic fantasies of motherhood; I imagined, quite realistically, hard days and gritty days and days I’d want to speed up as much as slow down. While I contemplated the physicality of the human I would create, I never envisioned the journey, the life lessons sprinkled throughout the road, insightful bread crumbs your kids leave for you.
Wasn’t it just yesterday I worried about breastfeeding, about percentiles, about tummy time? Wasn’t it just yesterday he learned to crawl, to walk, to ride a bike, to swim, to ski, to surf? Wasn’t it just yesterday I carried him on the bus ride after a full day in Disney World? Wasn’t it just yesterday he wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning without asking? Wasn’t it just yesterday I sang John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy to him every night?
It wasn’t yesterday, it was 14 years of yesterdays. He comes into the car, donning his black leather jacket, backpack slung over his shoulder and smiles.
“How was the dress rehearsal?” I ask.
“That was the shitiest run through of all time,” he says, and I beam proudly because he sounds just like me, “But the good news is, I love my costume.”