Thursday, March 18, 2010


Iceland: 2006

I woke up this morning with a sense of dread. I just couldn't shake it. I didn't know where it was coming from and what exactly I 'should' be worried about. I was just feeling like I was walking on shaky ground.

It finally hit me when I pulled up to our public high school with my youngest son. A huge sign screamed, "Welcome Class of 2014!"

I turned to Will, "Is that the year you'll graduate high school?"

"Yep, that's my class," came his response.

And so there it was.

Will remarked that the school reminded him of all the high schools he sees on television. Cheerleaders in cute little practice uniforms, surly kids with heavy backpacks, popular girls posturing for the cute boys. A random red converse sneaker flanked our path to the gym where we were asked to register for the fall semester.

I don't know if this is what was making me nervous this morning, but it sure got to me this afternoon.

In the fall, Will will be entering another stage of his adolescene. I know he is ready for it, but I am most certainly not!

I still want my little boys. And I'm fully aware that I can't stop time. But where did all those precious moments go? The first taste of chocolate, the first steps, the first words, the first day at the beach, the first time catching snow flakes as they fall from the sky. There are so many firsts. Now, I'm looking at the first day at high school. And soon there will be the first day of college!

So who am I now? For so long, I was defined by my children. They will always be my world. But their world is getting bigger and bigger and my role smaller and smaller.

And I know that's how it's supposed to be. But I don't have to like it, do I?

Don't get me wrong, I love just where they are right now. But I just wish it all hadn't gone by so fast. And I wish that I remembered more.

On these beautiful, almost spring days we have been experiencing in Northern California, I open all my doors and windows. And I hear the sweet voices of the little children who live near me. They are starting pre-school, kindergarten, 1st grade. They have a litany of firsts ahead of them.

So do my children and so do I. And I'm not talking about my first facelift, my first walker, my first hip replacement. What about my first novel, my first trip to Africa, the first time I watch my youngest son walk into high school or my first time I say good bye to my son as I leave him behind in his college dorm?

What firsts do you remember? What firsts are you looking forward to? Does time feel like it is speeding by?


  1. Oh, Terry, I wrote a poem about this a while back. We celebrate firsts, but we never realize when many lasts come. Last time I picked up one of my kids (physically). Last time my daughter crawled into my bed during the thunder. And maybe that's as it should be. We get caught up in firsts, in the sweetness of what is new.
    Like you, however, I'm feeling like there's just so much change at this stage, between my life and the's a lot. When my son was born I remember thinking he'd graduate HS in 2006 and it seemed so far away. 2014! Wow!

  2. Terry, My son is also the class of 2014! And, get this, he's going to be at the same high school I graduated from in 1978! Never did I think that would happen.

    Maybe I ruined my experience of my kids' childhood, but I always felt like I was raising (potential) adults. To see my son now so tall and (kind of) mature, with thoughts of his own in his head and ideas of what he wants to do in high school - it's really exciting. I'm absolutely determined to help him have great high school years, not flounder around like I did. We'll see how bad I flip out when he goes off to college!

  3. I got a little teary reading this. My girls are still relatively small (4 and 8, respectively) but I can already feel them slipping through my fingers in small ways. Bittersweet and heart-wrenching ways.

    I love the picture--your boys look so genuinely happy.

    On another've been to Iceland? Hubs has a conference there this summer and I'd love any insider's tips you might have?

  4. I could have sworn I commented last night but as tired as I was I probably forgot to hit submit.

    Terry, I share your anxieties. My sons are also the classes of 2011 and 2014. Right now I'm stressing more about eldest son graduating than I am about youngest starting high school. Time does go by way too fast. Rather than looking forward to the next "first" I'm trying to hold onto each and every moment.

  5. My older son is only 2 1/2, but I already feel like the pace of change is accelerating. He is increasingly content to play by himself and he can do so many things alone. Obviously he still needs me - just as your boys still need you - but I can never escape the reality that the process of growing up is really all about individuation and their growing away from us. So the trick, I guess, is to figure out the ways that we can still grow - both with them, and as individuals.

  6. My daughter gets more and more independent every day, and I see my role getting "smaller and smaller," just as you said. We both cried the day she started preschool; I have a feeling it will be just me when I drop her off at kindergarten. College? I can already imagine the mix of sadness and joy.

  7. I have four sons and my baby graduates from high school this year. I've done this over and over, and maybe it does get just a tad easier. There is so much great stuff to look forward to -- seeing them step up and do well is just so affirming.

    It's a bittersweet thing, that's for sure.