Last weekend I was in Las Vegas, the City of Lights. Before you conjure ideas of a weekend filled with flashy shows, incredible restaurants and glitz and glamour, let me clarify. I was Las Vegas supporting my 15-year-old daughter at a 3-day long volleyball tournament. Not quite the same visual I’m guessing.
Each day I spent 6-8 hours sitting in a very loud convention center filled with the sounds of whistles and cheers. I sat on uncomfortable chairs and schlepped around a backpack full of granola bars, fruit cups and Cheez-its. I woke up at 6:30 am to be sure she was out of the door on time to be at the court by 7am. I ate “dinner” at 11pm one night because the games ran longer than expected and there was no time to eat a real meal. I stayed in a hotel I would never have chosen (ugh!!) because she wanted to be with her team. (Side note: None of the other parents would have chosen that crappy hotel either, but it was the hotel “assigned” to us by the tournament). And I would do it all over again if I could because I know that all too soon time like this with my daughter will be over.
The big hourglass of my parenting days feels like the sand is running through faster and faster. Time will not stand still for me, dammit. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve tried flipping that hourglass over when no one was looking just to buy me more time with my precious kids, but it didn’t work. Another dammit. I look at that hourglass now and ask myself “How did the years slip by so fast with, so few grains of sand left at the top and so many in the bottom?” All too soon the grains will be done falling and I will be forced to let go.
All too soon she will start driving herself to school and we will no longer listen to the morning radio show and laugh about how truly stupid some people are.
All too soon she won’t play sports anymore and I won’t have the ability to cheer her on. Regardless of whether she starts or sits the bench, wins or loses, hits the ball or misses a serve, there is nothing better than cheering for your kid and their team. And while I know I will always be my kid’s cheerleader, all too soon I’ll cheer from a different sideline—the sideline of her life.
All too soon she won’t tell me how starving she is when I pick her up after school and tell me about her day as I drive her “for the last time” to get food.
All too soon our rushed and hectic mornings asking each other “Did you feed the dog?” or reminding each other not to forget our lunches will stop and my calmer and quieter morning will feel lonely.
All too soon we won’t be leaving the house when it’s dark outside and coming home when it’s dark because we’ve been gone all day at a tournament. Those early morning car rides, even if we aren’t talking and just listening to music, feels sacred because the older she gets, the more special time together is.
All too soon I won’t know the daily details of her life and I’ll only know what she choses to share with me. On those days I’ll be so grateful for social media because it offers us parents a glimpse into the lives of our kids.
All too soon I won’t walk out in the morning to see her cuddled up on her spot on the couch starting her day looking at her phone and giving me a good morning smile.
All too soon my busy days, jammed packed schedule, hectic life will slow down and there will be a void because I will no longer have such a supportive role in their life, I’ll become more like an extra watching and admiring the person she is becoming.
All too soon I will have to watch The Bachelor alone and Lord knows it is so much more fun to watch with someone else than watch by yourself. Having someone to discuss how crazy they are is the best part.
All too soon her messy and disorganized room, a lived-in little nest, will be neat and tidy and her clothes and shoes that are scattered throughout our house will be scattered in new and uncharted territories. I’ve learned from my older boys that a nicely made bed and an empty clean room do not fill this momma’s heart.
All too soon the sounds of her humming or singing will not fill our house with noise and the hush will sting.
All too soon the laughter and giggles that comes from her nest when girlfriends are over and they sit huddled up on her bed talking about life and boys and school drama will quiet and the stillness and peace will be unwanted silence.
All too soon her nightly hugs and tuck-me-in’s will become text messages or phone calls saying goodnight and somehow that just won’t feel the same.
All too soon she will be off on an amazing new journey, creating a life of her own and creating new memories with new people and I’ll be left asking “Wasn’t she just in kindergarten and how did time fly so fast?’
In my mind I’m realizing these “all too soon” moments are slipping away, like my child’s little hand slipping away from my protective parent grip. They are launching, moving and creating their own lives and identity. I’m left feeling nostalgic and looking at the hourglass filled with so many wonderful grains of sand representing so many wonderful childhood memories I have of them of them.
The hourglass, as painful as it is to see, also represents the role in my life that I have treasured the most. Watching them grow up has been my greatest joy and my greatest sorrow. The fuller the bottom looks, the more I am reminded of this gift I was given to be their mother and how I blessed I am that they chose me to help them navigate life with and create memories that will stay with both of us for a lifetime. And I realize the best thing about memories, is making them and storing them in our hearts forever.