On Trying to Stop Time

The other day at school pickup a friend asked me if I was sad that my youngest would be done with elementary school next year. At the time I was pushing the buggy full of three kids, wrangling three walkers through the school parking lot (where cars fly in barely looking out for children who might actually be at the school), trying to greet my son and ask how his day was, and figuring out if our after-schooler had Girl Scouts or was with me.

I looked at my friend and said, “I can not WAIT for this to be over.” I’ve spent ten years carting my own kids plus any number of others back and forth to school. I’m more done than I could ever be.

So I’m patting myself on the back for not feeling sad about my little one growing up, when suddenly it hits me in ten other places.

On Saturday morning I was on my way out to drop the bi-annual dresser cleanout in the clothes donation box (it’s hard to keep up with a complete wardrobe change every six months) when I passed what’s left of the snow pile. It has melted to half its size, and that in itself is a sad moment. The sled runs have disappeared, and another winter has come and gone.

I thought about the snow pants in the donation bag and wondered if I’ll even need to buy the boys new ones next year. Will they still want to sled and build tunnels and have snowball fights? Or would they rather just lay around inside in their pajamas playing shoot-em-up video games?

Next stop was the bank, where the teller told me about his grownup daughters who don’t do Easter anymore. His young niece was coming over so he was happy about that, but he reminded me, “It goes by so fast.” I know that, dude. Don’t make me even more depressed.

Then while I was getting gas three boys came riding up on bikes. I always play the “in a few years” game – i.e. those are my kids in a few years. This trio could be Older, a friend, and Younger tagging along behind, roaming around town on their bikes and stopping for treats at the convenience store. My heart ached.

Pulling into the driveway back at home I noticed some eggs had blown off the tree that I decorated with the littles. Older can’t wait for me to take it down. I remembered we hadn’t even colored our Easter eggs yet, and the boys didn’t care or ask about it. Sadness.

But the worst came when we went to Grammy’s for Easter Sunday. Nothing makes you feel old like going home and seeing all the changes. My husband and I were both stricken at the sight of one of our early hangouts closed for good. It was a favorite diner, the perfect place for a bite after a long night, and a last few minutes together before we both had to go home. I loved this damn diner so much I actually wrote about it here once. Now – all gone.

Maybe we’ll drop what we’re doing, buy it, become restaurateurs, and change our lives entirely. Then again, neither of us has the faintest clue how to make spanakopita. And I’m far too busy with my cutting-edge physics project of trying to figure out how to slow the passage of time.

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