It is becoming stunningly clear to me that we are about to throw our first bird out of the nest in the next six months. I can't like this. I don't have to like this. She's not supposed to be old enough to make her own decisions. I need her to be dependent on us for a few more years, is that so wrong?
I have a couple of younger friends with multiple kids under the age of five in their house. They don't complain too much, because they love their kids. At the same time, I know exactly what they're going through. Part of me misses it. The little bodies, the goofy personalities, the bedtime stories - OMG I miss the bedtime stories - the trips to the park, dinnertime messy faces, swimming with them, and having them pass out on my shoulder. I miss that part.
We are in for an adjustment and, as I see it, it will take six months to prepare for that. Even though she is working or at school or hanging with her friends much more than she is around the house, I will miss having her around. She is part of the dynamic of the family.
When I was doing the Mr. Mom thing on Friday nights while Donna was waitressing or during the week when she was hawking Pampered Chef cookware, there were some great moments with both of the kids. One that will always stand out was when I put in the Trisha Yearwood song "Under the Rainbow" and the two of them would start to dance. I have it on video somewhere and let me tell you it is preciously hilarious.
At the songs peak, Trisha says "Under the Rainbow" and Sarah would form a rainbow with her hands and feet (picture the downward facing dog yoga pose) and Ben would crawl under the rainbow. Once in a while Ben got so caught up in his own shimmying and shaking that he'd miss the cue and Sarah would admonish him and say "Ben...you need to go under da rainbow."
How do you get from that to seeing her for no more than 45 minutes today between work and homework and bedtime?
How does 18 months turn into 18 years?
Oh, and I need to ask her forgiveness every day for the Chicken Nuggets. I am so, so sorry about the Chicken Nuggets. Your mother and I were in survival mode. We weren't thinking straight. Since we came out of our fog, I think we've hammered home the point and neither of our kids will ever eat another one.
But before long, she'll be gone. Oh, she'll come home in summer, but it won't be the same. She'll surrender her big room to Ben's smaller room. She'll be transient and even more grown up, and independent to the point of distraction. She'll have less time and patience for us, and want to spend more time with her friends that she's left behind. It'll be different for sure. And I can't like that.
We'll have to try and do our best to shoot our kids into the world like arrows, as mentioned by Khalil Gibran, but it'll be hard. Furthermore, we'll have to re-learn how to live with each other - and Ben.
If it wasn't for all of these changes, I'd be fine with change.
So instead, for the moment, I'll have to rely on look-backs like the video below. This was made when I was trying to get them to say hello to their grandma and papa. It about sums up the energy and goofiness of the time, and it is a time I will always cherish.