Monday

Halfway

One day last week while driving home from school, eight-year-old Knox had a lot of questions for me about driving.

"Will I go to driving school?" He asked this question more than once.

As I patiently answered question after question, a thought struck me: Knox is halfway to being able to drive. He is halfway to sixteen.

He has shot up this year. He is almost as tall as me (at a mere 5 feet, three inches, it won't take my boys long to reach me). He is growing up before my very eyes, so the thought of him getting behind the wheel of a car and driving off with his friends really shook me.

But not for long because then I starting thinking about how Slim is ten now - TEN! - which is halfway to twenty and halfway to being gone from the house. Actually, more than halfway. We're halfway done raising him! Have we screwed up? Is it too late now?

I didn't have time to answer myself because then I started thinking that if Lil' C is six, almost seven, he is halfway to becoming a teenager. And Oh. My. GAH! That kid as a teenager is going to kill us. Mr. Personality Plus Plus and all of his friends - how will I ever handle the teen years?

And then there's Edgie who, at two-and-a-half, is halfway to trotting off to kindergarten all day. Pretty soon he won't even be here in the house with me, and holy hell, Have I played enough Hungry Hungry Hippos with him?

Have I spent enough time with any of them? Because, you know, my birthday is in a month and a half and I will be 44, and let's face it - that's just halfway to death. Half of my life is over and what have I done? And more importantly, have I done it right??

I'll tell you what's not halfway done: packing up this house for our upcoming move. In fact, the sheer enormity of the task paralyzes me so much that I have forced this house's time to stand still.

Only its inhabitants keep marching forward - toward leaving, toward driving away, toward preferring their friends, toward all-day school.

And here I stand, one foot in the grave surrounded by the pile of rubble life keeps piling and piling on me. I don't know how to stop it. I don't know how to stop time so I can catch up, soak it in, slow it down, make it last longer.

It makes me feel panicky.

I wish I would have known about that feeling when I was wishing for everyone to be able to tie their own shoes and buckle their own car seats, and pour their own cereal in the mornings. All that is nice, but it just means they are getting bigger and bigger and moving farther and farther away.

I don't like change. I often wish for things to stay just as they are.

But I know that's not possible or logical or helpful.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." What band sings that song - Semisonic? It might have been their one and only hit, but how they hit it right on the head!

We can't move ahead unless we're willing to leave where we've been.

If my boys weren't growing up, I'd never see have far they've come - Slim's fierce loyalty to us, Knox's grown-up helper traits, and Lil' C's vast improvement in school since starting kindergarten.

It will happen whether I want it to or not - time will keep marching ahead, halfway, even all the way toward something else. Some other moment besides this one.

I realize the morning is halfway over as I am about to publish this, and I've gotten nothing else done. Edgie grabs my face with both of his hands - the toddler version of Look at ME, Mama. Listen very carefully to what I'm saying.

"Can we sit together and watch 'Winnde da Pooh'?"

"Absolutely," I say as I cup his cheeks with my hands.

I may not be able to stop time, but I can slow it down a bit. I can stay stuck in Halfway for a little while longer.





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