Most of the time, we move through our days with an idea they are never-ending. They stretch out into a routine of day after day, week after week, punctuated here and there with a few big events. That illusion has been shattered for me with one big milestone this year: High school.
It’s as if, all of a sudden, I am truly internalizing that my son is growing up. Growing toward gone. When the last four years of childhood started to get chunked up into grade levels… Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior… I woke up to how little time we have left with him here at home. How fast it all has gone.
In the blink of an eye, from seedling to full grown tree.
I was talking to friend at work with a young daughter, having the typical “it goes so fast” conversation. But I told him parents with older kids don’t say this to give advice so much as they are in shock. We can’t believe it ourself. We are dazed and surprised that this seemingly endless phase of life is nearing an end, ending, ended. We utter the words in the hopes we can make sense of it, for ourselves.
My son is finishing up his freshman year in high school right now. With this year, we started talking seriously about college. Prep courses and requirements and grades and activities. What he might want to study. Where he might want to go.
And in the back of my mind, this dawning realization that there is so little time left.
In the last few months, I’ve started to shift my thinking and priorities around the idea that he has about three years left at home. What do I want that time to look like?
It’s an interesting shift. I’ll own it…. Up to now I haven’t been the most “involved” Mom. I’m there, I’m supportive, but my kid has never been the center of my identity or my world. I have a career (two!) that matters to me and a partner to share the load.
But now, maybe more than ever, I find myself turning toward my son. Realizing career can wait, art can wait. I want to be there, on the front lines, seeing him transform into an adult. I want to be available, when he wants it, to listen or advise. To nudge him in he right direction.
Control has ended, influence is all I’ve got left. And three more years of time.
It goes so fast.