It goes by too fast

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

Mothering is very, very hard work.

For those of you with older kids, do you remember when they were little wondering “will I ever get 15 minutes to myself again”? Escaping to go to the bathroom uninterrupted was wishful thinking. I recall (vividly) setting the timer on the stove for a mandatory “rest” when my boys refused to take naps (much too early, I might add). I just wanted to soak up some peace and quiet before the chaos resumed for the remainder of the day.

Those of you with small children must be nodding. You are in the thick of it, right? Well, let me let you in on a little secret….

I wish I could turn back time.

My youngest is off at basketball camp this week, something he has done since he was in middle school. But it hit me : this is his LAST ONE. This time next year both of our sons will be in college and the house will be empty.

All of those years of packing lunches, and driving to games, and endless loads of laundry are winding down. I know, I know….chances are, with the economy the way that it is, they will be back. But, it won’t be the same.

We took an amazing, family trip to Italy in June because we wanted to be able to be a part of their first European adventure. And, as I sat on the beach in Positano watching my sons in the Tyrrhenian Sea, I thought that my heart would burst. I will remember that moment forever.

Eighteen summers.

That’s not a lot when you think about it. Childhood zooms by in the blink of an eye.

It got me thinking….would I do anything differently? Probably not. Growing up, my kids had the perfect balance of family outings and time with friends mixed with the long, boring days of summer break when there was “nothing to do, Mom!”

I think the only thing I would change would have been to recognize how fleeting it was while I was in it. Which, I’m sure I did on occasion…it’s just extra palpable now that I’m at the end.

So, as I sit here writing this article, in a very quiet house, it feels strange. I will enjoy these dwindling weeks until the last hoorah of high school begins for our family. And, moving forward, I will be extra appreciative of our time together under one roof.

Happy Weekend

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