Not to be Totally Depressing, But…

I’m suffering from some real anxiety lately. I am literally having little panic attacks and they are over the most frustrating thing: my boys getting older. This is something I can’t control! I’ve been aware of that for a long time! There is nothing I can do about the inexorable march of time.

I just looked up “inexorable” to make sure I was using it right and the synonyms were: unbending, severe, relentless, unrelenting, implacable, merciless, cruel, pitiless.

Yeah, that sounds about right. That’s what time feels like to me right now: merciless. I don’t really care how much you panic, Amy, your children will grow up and move on and leave you and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

Panic panic deep breath.

I honestly try not to, but I always have these mental calculations going on. If Older is ten now he’ll be driving in less than how long Younger’s been alive. I have Older’s age until Younger is college-bound. By the time Younger is Older’s age, Older will be a TEENAGER.

So much has already gone by. I can’t stop it. It’s going by as we speak. It’s too fast.

I had a nightmare a couple of weeks ago. We were in the stands of the same school where we watch our kids play basketball, and we were the same moms, but our kids were all grown up and playing for the high school team. I was literally gasping for breath when I woke up from that. (I am also aware that this is not a typical nightmare. There was no blood, violence, or danger, but strong, talented, happy boys playing sports. But it was just as disturbing I tell you!)

My good friend Dee has a daughter who is looking at colleges. When I met Dee, her daughter was Older’s age (a foreign “big kid” whose world I didn’t understand yet, what with my preschooler and infant back home). But I haven’t known Dee that long. It can’t be possible. Panic panic deep breath.

I didn’t know this until recently, but Dave plays the same game as I do. It’s when we see a family with two boys a couple of years older than ours, and think, “That will be us in two years.” I don’t know if this is a healthy game or just adding to my current neurotic state of mind, but it’s almost involuntary. My head plays despite me telling it not to.

Dave looks at the babies in my day care and notes, we’re in the next phase of parenting now. So far away from having real little kids, and soon they’ll be real big kids. I look at the mommies pushing strollers and think, was it that long ago? Mommies, savor those days, you’ll be here before you know it.

It’s not like anything I’m discussing here is new or shocking in the world of parenting. I’ve known about time being “relentless” since the days of first words and first steps. Lately it just hurts more for some reason.

I’ve always said I made my life choices to be with my kids as much as possible. I am here every morning and every afternoon. I stay with them on weekends. I rarely leave them, even for more than a few hours. It’s a little bit sick.

But, also, I think, it’s a little bit nice. Even though I can’t stop this time thing from rolling on, I can be here now and grab as much of it as I can. When we get “there,” that moment in the future that I don’t want to think about, when my kids are asking for the car keys so they can drive the heck away from me (and I look fondly at the elementary school mommies instead of the stroller ones), I won’t have to regret the time I missed. I can at least feel damn good about that.

Now excuse me while I go put Pokemon stickers in a book with my Younger Son, who won’t be so young in a very short time.

1 thought on “Not to be Totally Depressing, But…

  1. Yes, it’s all true what you say about the passage of time and it becomes more noticeable as one gets older (me, being older than you can say this with a little authority). The thing is that teenagers can be delightful and amazing and interesting to be with in between everything else. They help you deal with the passage of time, I think, because you see yourself alive in them. They keep you plugged into “modernity” for lack of a better word, so you don’t just become an old fart who never met a new idea. I predict you will love this phase with your boys more than you expect.

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