The Years Are Short

The saying is true: the days are long, but the years are short.

abstract watercolor illustration of a toddler with black hair playing by the lake, picking up rocks and stones from the shore

A few days ago, my oldest son, Theo, was "promoted" from 8th grade to high school.

I found myself on the verge of tears all morning, though I kept a happy, smiling face for him. He wore a suit jacket, dress pants, and a fedora to school – though a t-shirt underneath the jacket. After the promotion ceremony at school, he hung out with some friends and went to a party at someone's house. Things that Big Kids do.

I took a photo of him with one of his good friends. We were trying to remember how long they'd been friends and the mom said she knew: second grade. She remembered meeting me when Autumn was an infant.

I searched my photo archive, looking for a picture from the first day of kindergarten. Theo's face was scrunched up, probably because of the sun. I remember sitting in his kindergarten classroom for orientation, about four months pregnant with Nelle. I remember being uncomfortable because the classroom was so hot and I had to sit on a tiny kindergartener's desk chair. A few weeks later, Nelle died. The first email I ever sent directly to his teacher was to tell her that we'd lost a baby, because I wasn't sure if Theo would say something at school.

Now, my little boy is off to high school. Well, not so little. He's several inches taller than me. I remind Ger that even though he may have the body of an adult, he's still a kid.

Who knows what he'll do after, but we may only have four years left of him living at home. Four years left to teach him things about the world. He's a kind and thoughtful human, but still learning how to navigate the world.

As we entered the school building for his promotion ceremony, the song "Stayin' Alive" was blasting through the speakers. In his speech, the principal told a story of an eagle that believes it's a chicken. The eagle-chicken sees other eagles overhead but is told, "You can't do that. You're a chicken." Eventually, the eagle-chicken realizes that it's an eagle and flies away with the other eagles.

The principal ended with: Don't let anyone tell you that you're a chicken. You're an eagle. You can soar.

Like Kindergarten All Over Again
I have felt frustrated. Like I am failing my kids.
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