I probably write about this sort of thing a lot, but I think it crosses every parent's mind whenever they have a brief moment to stop and think clearly. We get so caught up in life that when we have that brief moment, we suddenly realize how time marches on...and quickly, at that!
This morning at work I happened to look at the full year calendar on my wall. I looked at today's date and marveled at how little of the year is left. I took note of the four yellow days left on the calendar (holidays off) and tried to envision where the rest of my unassigned vacation days might fill in. And then I looked up at the months above and shook my head at the way this year has gone. My eye moved up to January 13, the day I got let go from my old job. The year had barely started and it was already totally not the year I had planned. I came into the new year thinking that for once we had no big plans or milestones or changes in mind...and then life went right ahead and handed us one less than two weeks later. I spent the following 11+ weeks in the ultimate game of limbo. I tried to recover my sense of purpose, tried to refocus on the things that made me great in my old job, and tried to do it all while taking on the stay-at-home mom role that I wasn't sure I could ever really do. That period of time was transformative in so many ways, my own personal cocoon. And fortunately I was able to come out of it a beautiful butterfly...one headed right to a job that sounded perfect and was definitely an upgrade from my old one, at least as far as salary, benefits, and stability were concerned. But I had more than two months of the year off, away from work. I lost my job in the depths of winter, and when I finally stepped back into an office full time, it was spring.
In less than two weeks I will have been at the new job for five months. FIVE! That's almost six, which is half a year. And slowly but surely I've gotten more comfortable, but as I mentioned a week or two ago, I'm still finding myself stumbling through those worries about what I simply don't know because I haven't stumbled across it yet, or what I should know but may not have fully sunken in yet. I've been given a lot of freedom lately with the projects I've been given, which is a great feeling but one that comes with a side of fear. The last person got let go because they weren't good enough. What if that happens to me? Based on feedback at this point I don't think it will, but now that almost five months have passed, the pressure to succeed is only going to get stronger. I've got a long road and a lot more responsibilities ahead.
Oh, and now that I've gotten this far, I know how the next four months of the year usually go. We go from the first day of school to the throes of fall to picking Halloween costumes, then we'll complain about the first rounds of crappy weather before Thanksgiving hits, and then it is full-on fast-forward through December and the Christmas season. And before we know it, I'll be right back to January 13th, even more amazed by the events of the previous 365 days.
Carter is already 2-1/2, which means that his third birthday is now closer than his second, which only seems like a month or two ago. When Jacob was three he felt like a full-fledged little boy. Carter still seems so much like my baby boy with his soft hair and chubby cheeks, but now when I pick him up I realize he's more than half my height! He's still a peanut compared to most kids his age, and when I look at pictures and video of Jacob from this age he seems so much older. I watched a video over the weekend of Jacob's play-by-play when he was three months younger than Carter is now, and so much of what he said and did seemed so much more advanced. Carter is right on target and we always knew Jacob was a little ahead of the game, but it's becoming clear to me that he may be taking after his mama (and both of my parents before me) as the smaller, younger-looking kid in the family. It'll serve him well later in life, if nothing else, but he might hate it in a few years!
And then there's Jacob. Two weeks from tomorrow he starts second grade. When the heck did that happen? Some days I feel like I can barely reconcile the memories of the baby he was with the big boy he is. He's tall and lanky. He's got four permanent teeth and a couple more baby teeth on their way out. He's got little biceps on his skinny arms from playing lacrosse. We may not love the attitude and opinions he shares with us on a daily basis, but there's no denying that he's growing up. I'm definitely nervous for a new school year, since last year's teacher will be tough to beat and I have no idea how he'll respond to a less-than-ideal teacher. I tried to explain to him that dealing with a difficult teacher can be part of growing up, but that learning experience won't get us through the hours of homework that he won't feel motivated to do. Fingers crossed that his last teacher put in a good word for him.
And then there's me. Nineteen years ago yesterday I moved into my freshman dorm and met Mary, who was the most perfect roommate I could have asked for. We just meshed perfectly and became nearly instant best friends. I said on Facebook today that when Jacob asked me where I'd go if I had a time machine, I said I'd go back to that day. Instead of the crankypants I was that day, I'd love to wake up that morning knowing the amazing things that awaited me later that day. I can't believe it's been that long now. Time really flies. Speaking of which, I'm officially in my last week firmly in my mid-30s. In one week I will be teetering on the edge of my late 30s. Another birthday, another end of August, another trek into September, which hasn't been the friendliest of months in the past few years. Two open heart surgeries (one per father), one Celiac diagnosis, one rice intolerance, and lots of behavior issues, among other things. Forgive me for being apprehensive, but we don't have a great track record. On the bright side, I have two three-day weekends coming up, so hopefully I will get a little recharge heading into the start of the school year and my upcoming 10-day stint as a single parent when Craig goes to work the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.
So hard to believe it's the last little bit of summer already. It seems like it just started. We've crammed a lot in, for sure, but I think it's time to re-examine the summer bucket list before it's too late...