I took down my May kitchen calendar yesterday and wrote in our dates and appointments for June. When I was finished, I threw out Ava's school calendar and hot lunch dates, and felt like I was going to burst into tears. It seems like I just put both of those sheets above my dry-erase wall calendar, but it was actually last September, and I simply cannot believe how fast the last ten months have gone.
I must confess that it's a pet peeve of mine when people lament how old their kids are getting, and how time is zooming by, because the reality is that time passes at exactly the same rate for everyone, whether you are young or old, a parent or not a parent, or working or in school. The same twenty-four hour day applies to every person who is alive, but there is something about marking time with our children's ages and stages which feels different somehow.
We see a baby and we remember how it felt to hold ours in our arms. We watch a two year old having a meltdown in a store and we thank God that our children are past that stage. We grin when a kindergartner smiles and we notice two front teeth missing, and we remember how sweet our kids were at that same stage.
The truth is that we can't ever go back. We have the moment we are in, and the memories of what has gone before, and the hopes for what is yet to come. There is no sense pining over what can never be again, and I would prefer to put my energy into the next thing instead of weeping over the last one. But emotions are tricky things. They lurk inside of us, and surprise us when we least expect them, and we must let ourselves feel them deeply in order to move on.
I love June. The promise of summer is just around the corner, and I find I appreciate the last of the school days because I know that soon I will empty the lunch boxes for the last time and kick the backpacks into the dustiest corners of my children's closets. It's a time of endings, and easing into the slower pace of summer, where we can re-connect with the kid that lives inside all of us.
I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also mourning the sweet girl in grade two who will never be again. And my five year old boy will finish preschool and don a tiny cap and gown and graduate with his friends. So much growth happened for all four of us this year as a family, and I realize that I'm sad to watch it wind to a close.
When one thing ends, another begins, and now we will transition into the next adventure. This time has been good, in every sense of the word, and we will carry it with us wherever we go. I want to move past the sadness and into the excitement of the next stage. The key is to be present, as much as we can, to enjoy it while we have it, for we can't hang on. Eventually it will slip through our fingers, and we want to have lived it to the best of our ability.