As a mom, I’ve always wished a postcard would come in the mail informing me that I was about to experience some daily task with my kids for the last time.
It would have been nice to know that the fall day in 1999, as I was rushing to get us out the door for a playdate but quickly decided to feed my crying baby at the last minute before we left, would be the last time I ever nursed him. He only wanted a bottle after that.
Or that the Christmas of 2013 would be the last time my American Girl Doll obsessed daughter would ever want one again.
Or that on a spring day in 2016, when my youngest son and I had a little time on our hands and decided to stop at the playground, would be the very last time I ever had a kid who wanted to go down a slide or swing on a swing.
These seemingly little things that make up the hours of my crazy, busy mom life don’t seem even remotely monumental . . . until they are gone.
This morning, as I was running around like a chicken without her head, my youngest child informed me that he only had 38 more months of high school left.
“What?” I said, as I quickly went for my coffee as he put on his sweatshirt and backpack.
“I have only 38 more months of high school.”
“OK, it’s 6:30 in the morning. I can’t deal with this right now. “
“Peter, is it really only 38 more months?”
A sadness came over me at the same time my mom-brain was busy ticking off my daily to-do list and thinking that his bus really does pick him up ridiculously early for a school day that doesn’t start til 7:55.
Thirty-eight months? Is that really it? Thirty-eight months and then my last child will be done with high school?
Peter started chatting away about a movie we just saw and a test he had coming up.
“I’m going to wait for the bus outside.”
“No, honey. It’s pitch black outside. Stay in the house until you see the bus.”
He gave me a look I’ve seen many times from his older brother and sister that he just recently perfected. The look that says, You must be joking, Mother.
“Hey, I worry about you. Let me do that. You’re my last baby.”
“OK, Mom,” he said, flashing me a smile that makes me want to grab him and never let go. But of course I don’t.
With that we see the light of the bus turning the corner, and he bounds out the door.
“Be careful. It’s still dark. Don’t run,” I yell.
The bus stops.
I call out the door, “Have a great day. I love you.”
“I love you too, Mom,” he calls back.
The bus door opens and he’s off.
As I close the door, it occurs to me, my kid just gave me one of those postcards I’ve always wished for.
I have 38 more months until he’s done with high school.
It’s not nearly enough.
This post originally appeared on My Dishwasher’s Possessed by Kathy Radigan
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