The year 2015 seemed so far away… and it was. Surely by then we would be strapping jet packs to our backs to get to the grocery store and standing on a conveyor belt that carries us through a huge closet where miraculously we come out fully dressed on the other end.
If you suspect an obsession with “The Jetsons” here, you would be correct.
But here we are, nearly at 2015, and there is no jet pack by the back door. Here we are, 12 years since her first day of kindergarten, and my closet isn’t equipped with a conveyor belt.
Here we are at the start of her senior year, and I am sad. There is no other way to put it. Sad.
Excitement will come. Feelings of pride will flow. Laughter and tears and memories and stress and hearts so full of inexplicable love they risk explosion will weave their way in and out of the next 10 months. Life will go on. I know it will. You don’t have to remind me or tell me everything will be all right. I know it will.
You don’t have to tell me I’m being silly. Because I’m not. I’m being a mother. I can’t speak for all mothers. Just this mother. And this mother is sad. Not weeping uncontrollably sad, or a permanent melancholy look on my face sad.
A deep down on the inside, thinking that a year of lasts is about to begin, sad. A this time next year she’ll be gone sad. So let me be. Sad. If only for a little while.
This year, be patient with me, baby girl. I mean well. Don’t fuss at me for not wanting to miss a single second of anything you do, or anything you might do, or anything you don’t do, but you’re there and I can just look at you. Don’t be mad. I mean well.
It could be worse. I knew a mother who insisted on taking a picture of her child every single day her senior year of high school. Every day. No matter what. There were photos of her eating breakfast. In the school play. Standing by her car. Brushing her hair. Comatose on the sofa during a voracious stomach virus epidemic.
I won’t take your picture every day. But don’t think I haven’t thought about it. I wouldn’t even try because you would do everything in your power to avoid me. Sometimes I think you and your brother — and even the dog — are secretly in the witness protection program and can’t have your picture taken. Unless I threaten bodily harm. I won’t do that, and I won’t take your picture every day.
But know I would.
I will try not to hover or helicopter or whatever it is they call those parents who watch over their children’s every move, every breath, and won’t let them be. The ones who stare at their children while they sleep, which is kind of creepy but if I’m being entirely honest doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to me. So I might do that one. Just once … or twice … before you go away to college, but you won’t know I’m there because you’ll be asleep.
Okay, so that does sound creepy.
There will be one hundred thousand things I will do this school year that I know will probably annoy you. Or make you sigh. Or make you try to avoid me like the plague. But just know that each and every one of those one hundred thousand things is me meaning well. Me trying to be excited and happy for you because it’s a big year for you. Me loving you. Me trying not to be sad.
Because at one time 2015 seemed so far away.
But now it’s not.
It’s just me wanting to hold on tight as long as you’re still here.
If only for a little while.
Email columnist Mandy Flynn at email@example.com.