Life is moving fast.
You are in first grade now – a metric mile from the delicate kindergartner you were a year ago. You are either finding fewer conflicts with your classmates or have found ways to navigate their unbridled terrain. I no longer hear about rabid children spoiling your inquisitiveness.
I am pleased.
But do you know how some people have flashbacks? They are rarely charming – sad and tear-provoking, most of the time. I get those a lot, these pictures of you as a baby, toddler, princess who’s completely unconcerned with time. Even after you developed the capacity to understand time, you seemed to live for the present. I have always envied that.
Worse than flashbacks, I see nowadays, are flashes forward. I see you now, in clothes designed for young adults or too absorbed with friends to notice me, and envision you at 10. 12. 16. 18 and leaving for college, 21 and graduating, 25 and marr- … marrying. I suppress these visions as much as I can, but like the stains in our car under your booster seat, they will not go away.
It is inevitable these days will happen. If we’re lucky, they say, I will see you attend prom, wave goodbye as I drop you off at college and cry as we dance at your wedding. If we’re lucky, I won’t miss a significant milestone in your life until you’re taken by the man of your dreams.
That son of a bitch.
The worst part about school is it chronicles your impending flight from the nest I have created for you. It’s like enduring a wonderful dream next to an alarm clock in snooze mode – an alarm clock that hurls feces in your face every 9 minutes, at that. Except school does it every year. Before I know it, you’ll be in second grade, then third, then fourth. What happened to first?
You, however, will likely keep tip-tapping along with the same grace you’ve always had – the same grace that keeps you in the present, the same grace of which I am deeply envious. This grace has speed I have not harnessed.
I am incapable of doing so.
The guy whose wife owns the after-school daycare you attend told me this morning talking to you is like talking to an adult – a shameless attempt at a compliment, I presumed. I couldn’t help but be a little saddened by his statement. After all, there was a day – etched deep in my forever memory – when your vocabulary consisted of grunts paired with one-syllable words.
I also recall one year ago today – a day when you were still orientating yourself with the structure of school. A day one year before you had homework assignments and spelling tests. A day 20 years before you’ll probably be married.
Twenty years is all I have from that day. I’m down to 19. Next year will be 18. Then 17, 16 …
Tip-tap. Tip … tap ….