I can’t say the words out loud. My voice cracks and my eyes get teary. I get a lump in my throat and my lungs get tight. My stomach drops to my toes. Panic sets in and I try to force it out. N.O. I cannot come to terms with the fact that I have less than a year before my oldest leaves for college.
There’s not enough time left and I can’t stop looking back.
I worry I didn’t enjoy the younger years enough. I was too stressed about changing diapers and sleep training. If I didn’t have two boys that were sleeping in their own beds, I felt like a failure (don’t even get me started on the mommy-shamers). I moaned and groaned about being tired and never getting to do anything for me.
What was I thinking? Why did I want him to hurry up and rely on me less? How could I have wanted for him to be older? My selfish desire for sleep and my whining that I NEVER get to go out both seem quite silly now.
Fire up the DeLorean and TAKE ME BACK! I just want to do it all over again. I want the days when-
No one got out of pajamas.
Peanut butter and jelly satisfied 3 meals a day.
It was impossible to leave the house because someone kept falling asleep.
Bathtime lasted for an hour.
I could read bedtime books without even looking at the words.
The monthly grocery expense was not greater than or equal to the mortgage payment.
Little arms wrapped my neck and a little voice whispered “I love you mommy” no more than one inch from my face.
I can reminisce and hold on to the memories, but it’s time to start to slightly turn towards the future. I’ve put 17+ years into this kid. While I love the end product thus far, I feel like I need to provide a disclaimer.
To his future roommates, girlfriends, and hopefully someday my daughter in law-
I promise that I really did my best. I told him to pick up his wet towel. Put the clothes in the hamper. Put the clean clothes away. I told him to brush his teeth and wash his face. I swear he knows how to operate a washing machine. He knows dirty dishes go in the dishwasher (and yes he knows darn well if it’s dirty or clean). The milk goes back in the fridge. Forks, not fingers, are for picking up food to eat. He was supposed to make his bed every day. I told him to plan ahead and not pack a suitcase of dirty clothes with the intent of washing them once you get there. And shoes should never be in his bed. Toothpaste blobs should be washed down the sink and splatters wiped off the mirror. If he leaves a peanut butter covered spoon on the table and you rest your arm on it, I’m sorry. Really. I told him to clean up after himself. Seriously. He knows, but he just isn’t concerned with any of that yet.
Now I realize that there is a day quite near in my future when I will walk into a quiet and orderly bedroom. Nothing will be on the floor. The bed will be made and the garbage can won’t be overflowing with empty water bottles and granola bar wrappers. When I open the cabinet under his bathroom sink, there won’t be a bowl and spoon (seriously that happened). It will all be neat and clean, because he will no longer live here.
This year is not going to be like the younger years. I will be thankful for every day we have left. I’m going to enjoy it all and no longer scream “PICK UP YOUR SHOES!” as I trip over his shoes that he simply stepped out of and left in the middle of the room. I’ll still remind him the right way to do things, but I will not let myself think for one second that I would be happier if he could just put his shoes away or make his bed. No more yelling. No more “If only you would…”
Instead, wet towels and dirty clothes on the floor will just be reminders that he’s here. For the next 11 months, that’s just fine with me.