Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Don't Wish It Away

My teenage daughter has an iPhone app that automatically counts down days. So, at any given time, she can recite how many days until the end of ninth grade, how many days until the equestrian clinic in Vermont, how many days until the Imagine Dragons concert at the Bank of America Pavilion.

I tell her, "Don't wish it away." 

Between now and all of those important dates, there are things she has to focus on, like final exams, her term paper on Athenian Women, and practicing her dressage tests. But, there are also things that are going to be fun, like a trip out to Amherst to attend a good friend's graduation, cousins visiting from out of state, the first warm days of summer. 

She doesn't really believe me, but the time will fly. She's already three quarters through her first year of high school.

Where, oh where, did the time go? Please, don't wish it away.

I still remember being on maternity leave. Like all newborns, my tiny daughter was beautiful. But, like all newborns, she wasn't very responsive. She ate, she slept, she woke up, she ate, she slept, she woke up. In between, there were diaper changes and sponge baths and walks in the Snugli and short breaks in the lilliputian swing we had set up in the living room. I read to her from day one, and while I'd like to imagine that my doing so contributed to her current love of reading, in reality it was more for my own sanity. I was completely in love, but the days went by s-l-o-w-l-y. 

Truth is, back then, I couldn't wait for her to grow up. At least a little.

Truth is, today, I would deplete my savings and max out my credit cards to get a single one of those days back.

As new parents, my husband and I eagerly awaited all of the firsts: first tooth, first word, first step. Each of those milestones came and went. And, others followed: first year at sleep-away camp, first concert, first time she tried sushi.

The years between her first day of kindergarten and her first day of high school are a blur to me now. And, we have new firsts on the horizon:

First time she drives (next September!)
First time she goes out with a boy
First time she and her friends go to a party and find alcohol (or worse) there
First time she gets accepted (or rejected?) by a college
First time she moves away from home

All of these things — the good, the bad, and the truly terrifying — are looming. And if I thought the last fifteen years flew by, how quickly will we get through the next three?

Maybe I need a countdown app. Then again, I'd rather stop, breathe, really be here while I can, and take my own advice ...

"Don't wish it away."

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