Thursday, August 25, 2011

Too Quickly

Last week, as Ellie and I walked out of a store, she reached out to grab my hand. That is certainly nothing out of the ordinary, but for some reason, as we walked to the car holding hands I suddenly felt a pit in my stomach as I questioned, "When did Megan and Luke stop holding my hands at a store?" (I still habitually reach out to grab their hand if I'm in a parking lot with them, and they oblige me for the quick stretch amidst cars.)

I've been pondering the hand-holding question for a week now.
This morning, I sent my fourth child to preschool for the first time. He was as excited as can be, Ellie was just as excited for him, and the other kids gave him plenty of attention for his special morning. And me? I'm not quite sure how I feel.

But let me explain.
When my first two children went to preschool (for two years no less) I was thrilled. With Megan and Luke, I always seemed to be in a rush to move them onto the next stage. Diapers to underwear, tricycles to bikes, cribs to beds, and home to preschool. I was the excited one. I was the overly-anxious one. I was the one who couldn't wait to see a new milestone met.

This morning as Drew and I walked out of the preschool, Drew crying for toys he couldn't touch, and me blinking away tears at leaving a baby of mine that no longer is, a mom and dad stopped me and asked if I'd take a picture of them with their little girl. I knew it was their oldest child. I could tell. I flashed back to what seemed like yesterday, when Mike and I did the same thing; took Megan to preschool together when she was just THREE years old.

I wanted to give this young couple all sorts of advice. I wanted to tell them not to be smiling so big, not to look so proud, and not to be so cheery. Instead, I looked through the camera with blurry eyes and snapped a permanent reminder for them of a day they will always remember.

It was bittersweet capturing a moment for someone else, I didn't want captured for myself.

Even though Luke let me plant a kiss on his cheek after administering a test to him yesterday at school, Megan on the other hand politely requested on Monday morning, "Please let me walk to the junior high bus stop by myself."

I think I'm learning this principle all too well.


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