Sometimes is just seems like life is flying by. Before you know it, it’s Friday again. Maybe it’s a function of having a big family, or maybe it’s just the phase we’re going through. For some reason, I expected it to be different.
They say that when you hit age 40, you’re over the hill. So I guess being two decades past that, I must be slipping down that slope at a pretty good clip. When I was younger, I wondered if it would slow down some, you know, as the hair thinned and the knees creaked as much as my rocking chair. But no!
Which brings me to our youngest child’s graduation. Yeah, The Joanster, little Joansie, Joana Wee, has finished high school with flying colors and is soon to be a Tiger. Our baby is a woman!
How did this happen, all of a sudden? Wasn’t it just the other day she put on her sisters two-piece, plucked the resident cards from the junk drawer and strolled 3 blocks down to the local pool. At two years old. Jill came home and said, “Hey, where’s Joanie?” Did we panic? Is the Pope German? Running along Halls Ferry like we were on fire, pleading with people walking their dogs, hearts constricted like the Grinch’s. Thank God the life guards knew us and didn’t turn us into Social Services.
Then there’s the next one up. Mary Pat is marrying in November. Huh? Little MP, the kid who regularly donned pink snow boots and stocking cap to watch TV… in June. The athlete who should have never been allowed to run cross country, since her face always turned redder than Mark McGuire’s before Congress. THAT Mary Pat?
And did I mention the wifey is retiring. Wait just a minute here, sports fans. I got four years on her! Just kidding, since she has fought the good fight for a long time, and is definitely in line for this move.
The flip side of all these significant events, once you get past the amazement and the tears and the “Huh?’s”, is that me and that retired lady will be empty-nesters in a couple of months. The recent grad thinks that maybe we’re being a bit too giddy about this prospect, even as she “stresses out” about moving on and out. And maybe we are, but it is hard to contain our glee. It feels like a long, slow, deep breath, followed by a smile of gratitude, and accomplishment. Theirs, and ours, really. Just a memory are the years of doing the happy dance after finding a dollar in the dryer, or cashing in the coin jar to get milk and formula. Gone but not forgotten are the long nights of wondering if one child would ever stop throwing up, or another would ever get home, or still another would ever find their path.
At 60, I guess I’ve put in a good 75% of my allotted time. A glance at my own high school classlist shows a few who can’t say that. So, trust me, I’m not complaining.
But maybe I need to borrow a line from Captain James Kirk of the Starship Enterprise if things are going stay at this warp speed.
“Scottie, I need more power!”
(COURTESY THE SUBURBAN JOURNALS OF ST. LOUIS, MO MAY, 2009)