Freaking Out

imageI’m trying not to, but I AM FREAKING OUT!!  I’m wondering how to hold onto these precious and fleeting moments with my kids. I’m trying to hold tight, two hands. I want to etch these memories in my heart forever, because I know that soon enough there won’t be long days at the ballpark and weeks so full I’m not even sure what day it is.  The days when Thad and I have to divide and conquer just to make sure everyone gets to where they are supposed to be, those days are numbered.

I am trying to be fully present in each one. One hundred present, right here so that I can experience every smile, soak up every ounce of joy, and hear every laugh. And in the back of my mind I hear “tick tock Clarice.”

And my mind goes into fast-forward, and suddenly he’s driving a car and she’s a teenager. Boyfriends and curfews and college visits and proms and “Oh my goodness how can this be happening?” The panic sets in because I know there is NOTHING I can do to change it. Nothing I can do to slow down time.  So I try to reorient myself in the present moment in order to not waste a precious second mourning what is yet to come. But it’s hard, and it hurts.  I’m not sure I am prepared for this.

I wouldn’t want to keep them little forever. I want to work myself out of a job- that’s what I’m supposed to do, right?  If I do my job right, one day they’ll leave in order to find lives of their own, create a world that they design, and make memories that become the fabric of who they are. God willing, I’ll get to watch that happen. It will be a whole new level of joy. And the thought of it is lovely and frightening. I have the sense of total elation at the prospect, all while feeling pretty certain I might be sick.

While I want to hold on tight, I realize that this phase of life is a little like squeezing rising dough- my firm grip only causes it to push out between the cracks of my fingers, possibly even breaking down the very nature of what makes it rise. My best bet for enjoying it longer is simply to let it rest in my hands, palms open, hands together, so that I can support it as it grows. And try not to freak out!


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