The days are whipping by me at the speed of life

Two things happened yesterday which made me feel like someone picked me up, twirled me around, threw me down on my head and went all Benjamin Button on me, in reverse, at 95 m.p.h.

First, I picked Helena up from school. I watched her tall frame stroll down the hallway toward me, in skinny jeans and layered tees and new winter coat, with her backpack casually flung over one shoulder and hair billowing out over the other. Well, except for that one stubborn lock that hangs in front of her face just to spite me. She was waving to me and I caught my breath. I didn’t see a fifth grader excited about getting picked up early by her mom so much as I saw a high school senior sauntering out to her car, excited to head over to Wegmans to work her shift so she could go out with her boyfriend later that night. And ultimately make curfew.

Second, Helena and I headed over to the high school where we met Zoe and then the three of us sat through a preliminary meeting about the high school senior trip to Boston this coming November. As I sat there listening to the company’s representative prattle on and on about Fenway Park and duck tours and down payments with parents interrupting to ask about chaperones, chaperones and whether or not they insured against pregnancy, I glanced at Zoe and no longer saw an almost-seventeen year old junior texting her friend about HOW FREAKING AWESOME THIS TRIP IS GOING TO BE, WE ARE SO GOING TO BE ROOMMATES but rather, a thirty-something swiping on the iPad-gadget-of-the-moment, checking her schedule to see if she and her husband could get time off of work as bio-chemical engineers to go visit her parents. And bring them dinner. With her parents’ adorable, potty-trained, smarty-smart grandchildren in tow.

My girls are growing up so damn fast and I just want to stamp my foot and yell that it’s just not fair. IT’S NOT FAIR.

Helena no longer permits me to refer to her get-togethers with friends as “playdates.” Instead, I am required to describe the time she spends with her friends as “hanging-out.” She can just about wear my shoes. She’s almost as tall as I am. It’s her last year in elementary school. Middle school doesn’t have little desks or colorful alphabet designs on windows or cubbies with hooks.

I’m finding out how much our insurance is going to sky-rocket when Zoe gets her license. She’s preparing for the SAT and narrowing down her college choices. I now have to mark the tags in my clothes with a big DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT in black permanent marker because she steals them out of the dryer.

I only have a limited amount of time in which to make their lunches, help with their homework, sign their permission slips and catch endearing moments such as these for posterity. For only a short time longer will I have the opportunity to embarrass one by volunteering in her class and absent-mindedly referring to her as Peanut or Poopers in front of her friends and embarrass the other by leaving BJ’s Wholesale Club and bumping into her boyfriend because every sixteen year old girl wants her mom to make small talk with her boyfriend while clutching a jumbo twin package of Always Ultra Thin Super Long Pads With Wings and Leak Guard Protection.

I miss my babies.

I don’t miss the diapers whose stench could peel the paint off a wall, or hearing that first 3:17 a.m., squawk that could tense my body quicker than being dunked into a vat of liquid nitrogen, or fighting with a car seat and losing, or catching a mouthful of puke because I invented kids with freakishly good aim.

I miss being called Mommy. And getting big, fat, open-mouthed kisses on my cheek for no reason. And toothless smiles that peek out of a snowsuit. And neck snuggles. And rocking chair naps at noon for two. And almost being knocked to the ground by a running hug to my knees that came out of nowhere. And the powdery smell of a freshly washed and diapered human in footie jammies. And little fists curled around my fingers. And Christmas ornaments made out of fruit loops, glitter and pipe cleaners. And tucking little humans back into bed because they had bad dreams and needed some huggy squeezes and kisses. And being asked to sing Silent Night at bedtime in June. And having my shoes pilfered from my closet with cries of LOOKIT MOMMY! LOOKIT! I’M ALL GROWED UP!

They growed up so damn fast.



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27 thoughts on “The days are whipping by me at the speed of life”

  1. Avatar

    *sniffle* Thanks for making me all teary here…. This is a beautiful post about two beautiful girls.

    I’m heading back into the basement now to work on my “freeze the kid at her current age” machine. The “instantly zap all the fat in my body, gray hairs on my head and wrinkles on my skin” machine will just have to wait.

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    Okay, thanks for making me cry ;P I am right there with you…well, not RIGHT there as my kids aren’t quite as old as yours, but you know what I mean…

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    I was just feeling ok about the wonderful adults my children have become, or at least trying to convince myself I was ok with them being all growed up. I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat. What a touching post, though I am kind of mad at you for making me cry.

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    Thanks for this post. I have been on a high-stress streak lately (we are smack dab in the middle of paint-peeling diapers and 3AM wake-ups) so I needed the reminder about the great stuff too.

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    I’m sniffing too. I keep having moments like these. I keep saying to Pato can you believe Jordan is going to be 12 next month? In 2 years he can drive (with an adult). Can you believe Nano is going to be 2 next month? My God, Katiana is going to be 7 in April. I can’t believe Alyce is 4 already. I just look at them and it feels like they are growing up right before my eyes.

    Though I could live without Jordan’s drama growing into a preteen – I didn’t think boys did that crud. I thought I had years before I had to deal with that, you know when the girls are teens. Nope, boys do it too.

    The girls are gorgeous Andy!!! (((hugs)))

  6. Avatar
    Sue Strathearn (McAtee)

    Andrea – I love this blog(I think that’s what you call it) Your daughters are beautiful and I see a lot of you in Zoe. I would love to meet them and see you – Let’s tryto have a get thogether this spring before Zoe is off to college. We have a lot of catching up to do. Let’s do it. !!!

  7. Avatar

    This made me cry.

    And since I still am in the ‘open mouth kisses for no reason and mom please clean my butt’ phase and I going to get some of both and enjoy it.


  8. Avatar

    *sniff-sniff* My oldest is finishing up her last semester at community college and will be moving on to campus at her four-year in the fall. You last paragraph made me cry, it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten any kisses for no reason from her. *sob*

  9. Avatar

    I love those photos, especially the goofy ones… =) I still have much of this to “look forward” to, although a certain reticence to being kissed by Mommy is already peeking out. SIGH.

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    My 15 year old clinbed into my lap yesterday and asked me to hold her like a baby. Seems I am nnot the only one who thinks she is growing up too fast.

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    Um, what about Oliver? Isn’t he growing up too fast? Or is he not growing up fast enough? (i.e. potty training) 😉

    P.S. And just curious if you took any of my suggestions about putting stuff behind the sofa.

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    Boy are you right on the mark. But don’t worry they will always be our babies. I have 4 boys, and as my second one is a senior and heading out, following the 20 yr old, I have been having those moments also, ALOT.
    The greatest feelings is when my oldest still comes down the stairs and calls for “mommy”. Brings tears immediately, he almost stopped doing it because he thought he hurt me.
    Can’t fall to pieces yet, got two more coming down the pike but they are 10 years behind so by the time I get over the first set I will be older and less able to control myself (in all physical matters) and will shirley be a babbling idiot for the next two. Got to save some of those “mom is losing it” moments for the 6 year old.

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    Man oh man can I relate, except I now watch my three beautiful daughters bringing their wee ones to Nana’s house and I can’t believe they are old enough to have wee ones of their own. Sigh!

  14. Avatar

    Oh, goodness….and now I’m crying. My daughters are 19 and 10 1/2 yrs. old. I was fine, at first, nodding in agreement, relating to everything you were saying. But, then you said this:
    And tucking little humans back into bed because they had bad dreams and needed some huggy squeezes and kisses.
    Exactly what my youngest, (the one who fell and scraped her knee today and didn’t even ask me to look at it and gave me a death stare when I said something about her boo-boo) used to do.

    Then you said:
    And being asked to sing Silent Night at bedtime in June.
    Exactly what my oldest, (the one who will graduate from the 2 yr. community college this winter and move away to a 4 yr college next year), used to do.


    P.S. Zoe and Helena are beautiful. 🙂

  15. Avatar

    They are beautiful girls! Today I sat wondering where my baby went too…now mine is only 3.5 and not in school yet – but she really isn’t a baby anymore 🙁

  16. Avatar

    *sniff, sniff* Will you STOP? I have girls almost exactly the age of yours (with a bonus boy in between) and you are SO right about everything!! The no kisses, don’t embarrass me in front of my friends, the snuggles, everything. You’re really making it hard for me to keep up the “remember you’re going to college when you’re 17 because I need a sewing room!” pose!

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    My baby is 4. I haven’t slept in 4 years. Wanna borrow him? I like the baby stage because they don’t talk. I’m a better big kid mom than little kid mom. Candyland makes me want to stab my eyes out with a spork. I much prefer the stuff my 9yo is into than watching Toy Story over and over and over with my 4yo.

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    I feel this way more and more as each day zooms past me! Whenever I truly stop and “look” at my 10 yo daughter and 15 yo son I just marvel at who they’re becoming and like you want to be able to stamp my feet and say just STOP for a minute already, mom’s not ready! 🙂

  19. Avatar

    So true, so true. My 14 y/o daughter is my sweetest little girl one day and a sarcastic, hormonal, bi-polar mess the next. And my 19 y/o son looks so much like a man. It’s just not fair. Love this post, love your blog!

  20. Avatar

    Wow, that brought a tear to my eye! My 13yo son is now officially taller than me – but it seems like only yesterday that I can recall walking out of hospital, holding this tiny bundle snuggled in my arms. And surely it wasn’t that long ago that he would take a flying leap into my arms, chuckling madly as I spun him round and round…..I want that little boy back again, and yet, as I look at him now, I catch glimpses of the man he will become and my heart is full to bursting…

  21. Avatar

    Dang, you’re supposed to make me laugh, Andrea, not cry!! My 14 year old is nearly as tall as me. My daughter just started COLLEGE. This isn’t fair. Unlike you, I didn’t get to experience those sweet precious baby and toddler moments. Alesia was a gawky 13 year old and Michael was 10 when I got them home. I like to joke I never had to change diapers, but I also never got to hear their first words, or see their first steps, or any other “firsts” most parents experience. I try not to be bitter because it’s not helpful. I hold onto things like the first time I heard “I love you” in English, and the first McDonald’s Happy Meal that made them grin big time.

    Treasure them while you can, my friend, and treasure your memories.

  22. Avatar

    We just need to “slow down” and be more present. It is so stinkin’ easy to get caught up in the little things and miss the big things. Coming from a mom to two beautiful little girls (1 and 3 years old). I need to practice what I preach!!

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