Friday, January 31, 2014

Time and Transition

So often I feel like time is barely moving at all, and the future seems so far off and distant that it's not even worth acknowledging. Then sometimes I feel as though time is moving too fast, and I'm hurtling through time at an advanced speed, things happening before I can even register it; the past a far-off memory, hazy at best.

I have stayed at home with my boys for four years now.

Four years is not really that long, in the scheme of things. And it feels that way, while at the same time stretching on for an eternity.

Four years of caring for a baby, then a toddler, then a baby and a toddler, then a preschooler and a toddler, every day and every night. They tell you that when you're home with a baby the days are long but the weeks are short, and this is absolutely true. Often I feel like I'm trapped in Groundhog Day, because each day is remarkably similar. Except that it's actually not. My days now don't resemble my days four years ago, or even one year ago. This change has occurred so slowly that I didn't even notice it, but it happened anyway. The days that once stretched out so overwhelmingly are suddenly flying past without giving me a chance to catch my breath. Hypothetical, far-away ideas are suddenly here, right now. School, for example, was once a vague idea planted so far in the distant future that it seemed like I was pretending whenever I thought about it. Now, suddenly, it's here. Seriously, Felix is off to school next week. Luckily for me I have Victor at home, so things can retain that little bit of normalcy.

Felix's first day of school has come too soon, but at the same time it can't come quick enough. How can I describe the turbulent feelings I have when I think about it? Eager to send him off, to watch him explore the world independently. Excited for this next phase in our lives. Sad that things are changing, sad that it won't be me and my two boys and endless days of freedom. Nervous that things won't be as idyllic as I've painted for him. Confident that they will be.

This time of transition reminds me of the other major time of transition we had: Victor's birth. The feelings are so similar: excited to be having a new baby, yet sad that things were changing. It wasn't just going to be me and Felix all day; there was going to be this other person now, this little intruder. Another person requiring all of my attention.

Of course, everything turned out excellently. As soon as he was born, I stopped worrying about how things had changed. I was just anxious to get home and start 'real life' again, out of the hospital. I'm hoping that this transition will go just as easily. I'm hoping that Felix will love school, that he'll have a kind teacher, that he'll make friends, that he'll fit into the routine there. Most of the time, I'm positive he will.

I'm also excited about the fact that having Felix at school will mean I'll have time to do things with Victor. He's never really had time with me to himself, although I suppose that's how it is for all subsequently-born children. We'll be going to playgroup on Thursday mornings, right after Felix goes to school.

The other major realization I've come to is that in just two years I'll be sending Victor off to school as well. And as I now know, two years is hardly a blink. It will feel like a long time as we're living it, but looking back I'll see that it's not. Funny how that works. What happens when both of them are in school? I suppose I'd have to actually go out and find a job? Interact with adults every day? Shower?!

Right now, I'm looking forward with an almost bittersweet feeling to this new step in our lives. Time is rushing forward too fast, and I can't catch my breath, but I have to try to run along with it because there's no way to slow it down.

I never thought I'd be the type to cry at my child's first day of school.
Maybe I am after all.

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