I’ve heard people say “you are going to miss your kids when they go” or “hold on to those little ones tight, they grow up too fast”. I can now tell you from experience that these statements are a GROSS understatement! I don’t think all the warnings and admonitions in the world can prepare you for losing a piece of your heart.
I also wonder if the homeschool aspect made it just a little worse? My oldest wasn’t gone all day at school. He was home, with me, all day long, and whoever he wasn’t at work. He would stop by wherever I was as he would leave for work, and then when he returned, just to check in.
He is also a communicator. He would talk to me, or text me, or call me if I wasn’t close by. At times, I would even feel frustrated at his long stories, or the sudden story/tale he wished to weave in my presence.
The time really began to feel “short” when I sat down to schedule his freshman courses and find the books needed for 9th grade. It hit me: I only have four more years. Only four more years to prep you for adulthood. Four short years to teach you to drive, balance your checking and savings accounts, to warn you not to take any wooden nickels, to learn how to ‘look both ways’ when navigating the streets of adulthood, how to sniff out deals that are ‘too good to be true’.
Graduation came way too fast! How can four whole years just disappear like that? It was a wonderful celebration for a guy who just didn’t like school and a huge accomplishment for a guy who failed his freshman year. This was a guy who had fought hard to get to this point with an amazing GPA. I was so proud of my son!
Mom, I’m going to join the Navy.
Military service wasn’t a huge surprise for me. Both hubby and I served in the Army, my dad was a Navy Vet, hubby’s dad was a career Army guy. We can track military service all the way back to the American Revolution. Daniel had grown up in the military, it’s something that is “known” for this boy. But it gave this mother pause to think of my son heading towards trouble instead of running away from it.
I was so proud of him as he raised his hand to swear into the Navy, but a part of my mind still screamed “too fast”! This time, I listened to the voice screaming in my head. We started doing special ‘lasts’ with our oldest. We did family trips, we played games, we spent more time sitting around the living room sharing family memories, and simply made the most of every last moment.
We dropped him off the night before he flew to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center on a Sunday. From my own experience, I knew he was getting his game face on. I knew his heart and mind were already on the task ahead of him, because he hugged us without any tears and walked with confidence into the hotel lobby. I was a mess internally and when I got home, I cried into my pillow. The time, even well spent, just went too fast.
It’s a bit crazy all the little things you miss when your kids fly away from the net into adulthood. I miss having coffee with him in the mornings sharing our dreams from the night before. I miss walking by his room and seeing him dancing around to his music. I miss having a semi-adult in the house that can drive and run to get me things I forgot at the store. I even miss hearing him holler across the house “ma-maaaaaaaa” when he wanted my attention. But the moments I miss him the most are when we are singing hymns as a family, either at evening devotions or in church. He loved singing loud and well. It just doesn’t sound the same without him.
So if you have little ones, and you are actively counting down the days when they will be independent and gone from the house, please, take it from one who now understands: the time goes fast. You don’t have to fall in love with messes and dirty diapers and cooking yet another meal for you family, but know that all that comes to an end faster than you are expecting!!
This is the second part of a series Too Fast. Click here to read part one.