I don’t normally wish away time especially when it comes to the growing up of my children. If anything, I wish I could slow it down. If I could, I’d live in perpetual slow motion so I could spend a little more time holding Lucille’s tiny hand, admiring her purple sparkly nail polish or watching Eliza climb to the top of the swing set in her skinny jeans and cowboy boots. Our days would amble along, with us sitting by some river or walking in the pasture. Of course, in my slow motion life, there would be no crossed arms, no stomped feet. No sisterly bickering or throwing of fits. We would linger with each other in time held still.
But we all know this isn’t how modern families exist. Unfortunately. We move from school to work to activities at a sometimes blistering speed. Seth and I try diligently to keep things as slow as humanly possible in our world but, even still, it sometimes feels as though I’m trying to pull a moving train backward, holding on with clenched hands, dragging my bare feet in the gravel.
We are only partially in control, it seems.
But, on the first day of school this year I felt a little more in control than usual due to one tiny, yet seismic, shift in our routine. As we walked into school that morning, both children bore backpacks and we moved from one classroom to the other. Both children, that is, at the same school. At the same time.
Can I get an Amen?
Without wishing away a thing, I was pretty happy to see this day come. I have been joking for months that I would be the one doing back handsprings out of the their elementary school on the first day of school this year because it would mean our super tight, sometimes tense, morning had just gotten a little easier. Both kids under one roof means one drop off, one pickup, one school schedule. It’s more than a little dreamy.
Every morning last year went a little something like this: wake Eliza up, get her dressed, feed her, shower, get dressed, wake the sleeping giant (Lucille), tend to her every uber cranky need until she finally decided to put something (anything, really) on that would pass the preschool dress code. Drive 25 minutes to Eliza’s school (referee near constant fighting along the way–pull over at least once or threaten to), get both kids out at school, drop Eliza off, pull Lucille from Eliza’s class circle (often with her objection), load her back in the car, drive across town, drop Lucille off, drive to work, park, walk 10 minutes to the office at the University then start working. At the end of the day, I would do it all in reverse. It was hellish. It was every day.
Now we live in town, which is unspeakably more convenient. And both kids are at the same school. There are not enough exclamation points or emoticons in the world to display my excitement.
I don't think that I can maneuver my 38-year-old body into a back handspring but, trust me, on that fated morning last week I was doing back handsprings in my soul. With one less thing to accomplish this school year, we've been taking bike rides in the evenings, I’ve painted Lucille’s fingernails each a different color, and I’ve watched Eliza take her skinny jeans to top of the swing set more than once. If these moments are the trade off for my children getting just a tiny bit older, I’ll take them. Every day.