Monday, August 24, 2009

Yesterday... not the Beatles version

I swore I would never be her.

You know the one.

The one you haven't seen, well, ever, as far as you can remember.

She's the older lady at the family picnic. The smell of her gardenia perfume arrives just before the screech of her voice. "It seems like only yesterday I was changing your diaper! You had the cutest little butt ... just like a couple of dinner rolls!" She pinches your cheek with her chubby fingers, completely disregarding that you're 19 now and might file assault charges. You try to smile, and hope the smear of macaroni salad she left on your cheek isn't as noticeable as it feels. She waddles away, but the gardenia stink isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Of course, this was made all the better if your teenage boyfriend du jour was there with you. Better still if she waddles back so she can tell the story about how you got bored once waiting for your mom to show up after a nap and took your poopy diaper off, exposing your cute little dinner-roll butt, and used the diaper's contents to express yourself artisically on your bedroom wall.

Good times.

And though, as I have aged, I now see the merit in -- and have every intention of -- sharing every ridiculous and embarrassing anecdote with my kids future boy- and girlfriends, I swore I would never do the "It seems like only yesterday ..." part.

But, holy kids start school tomorrow as a sophomore, 5th grader and third grader. And I'll be damned, but it DOES seem like only yesterday.

I remember being a sophomore...ohhh, do I *remember* being a sophomore. And that? Is one scary thought now that Alannah is that age. She is a beautiful girl, inside and out, with a concrete definition of right and wrong. I hope and pray that all we have tried to teach her sticks with her through this time in her life. The next few years is the time when it becomes evident whether or not all those talks took. You know the ones on drugs, drinking, sex, smoking, responsibility, never getting in the car with someone who is drinking, you can talk to me about anything....etc, etc, etc. It is our job now to hold her really, really tight, while letting go a little and to let her know that we all make mistakes at that age, but to pray silently and fervently that none of those mistakes are catastrophic for her.

Fifth grade...the beginning of that inner circle of hell to parents known as adolescence. Zachary is a really good kid, with a heart of gold. But, I have funny feeling his snarky sense of humor(I don't know where he gets THAT. *snort*) is going to get him beat up, or something close to it, sometime in the next 3 years or so. He has a rock hard exterior and is a big mush underneath it all. It is our job to raise a MAN, and all that entails. That is not always easy. It is so much more than teaching him to open ladies doors.... Thankfully, he seems to know a lot of it by instinct. Adolescence is a horrid time. He would never let you know it, but his heart is easily broken...I hope and pray that his adolescence is kind to him. AND to us.

Mandy has been through more by the time she has entered third grade than most people go through in a lifetime. In some ways she is incredibly mature and wise beyond her years. In other ways, she is very young and somewhat behind her peers socially. She can talk a nurse through accessing her port in the most grown up of ways. She can explain to a doctor that she can have propofol as an anesthesia, but not any inhalant due to malignant hyperthermia. But, being 8 comes a little harder for her sometimes. She is an amazing little spirit, with a mothers heart, the strength of an army and a bossy streak. Soon, her only job will be to be 8, I hope. And our job is to try to reteach her how to do that.

So, I swore I would never be her...that it-seems-like-only-yesterday lady. And though I won't say it out loud, as I send them all off into the world tomorrow, I will think, "It seems like only yesterday that you fit in the crook of my arm and puked breastmilk on my shirt at least 8 times a day. I hope the world is kind to you, my little dinner-roll-butt babies."

I will only think those things.

I won't say them out loud.

Because, really? To launch into the whole it-seems-like-only-yesterday speech, I would need macaroni salad. Plus, I don't waddle and I really don't like gardenia perfume. But, I WILL tell every ridiculous and embarrassing anecdote at any and every opportunity. Parenthood DOES have some privileges after all.

Love to all~


Tammie McGoldrick said...

Wow, so profound! How many tissues did it take to get through this story? It touched a very deep part of my heart. I wish your "little dinner roll butts" best of luck in the upcoming school year. Here is something that is totally scary. When I was Alannah's age I was two years away from being married.

Rachel said...

Girl you need to write a book! You got some real talent with words. I loved reading this!

Sarah said...

Great post! I remember how annoyed I always got as a kid when adults would go on an on about how fast time goes by -- it was CREEPING by for me! But now? Yes, it's flying .....!