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It Goes So Fast

Sometimes when we’re driving, I get this feeling like I’m in one of those movie montages at the end of the film where you hear the maudlin, jangly guitar music welling up in the background, and you are reminded of the passing of time and enormity of life and the fact that we are all just food for worms.  And then the kids will ask one of their bizarre questions and it breaks the spell.  We go back to being just three plain people traveling on a small town road, going home.


I love summer and I hate summer.  I am most melancholy during the summer months.

(Hence the poignant movie montage scenes playing out in my head where we see the parent smile wistfully at their child, a grimace that says, “yeah, the world is fucked up, but we’ll get through it” while the music from a band full of middle aged white males with shoulder-length hair and soul patches plays soft, repetitive guitar rifts that make you feel very very sleepy.)

I’m happy in the winter when everything looks bleak, and I feel like a telescope collapsing inward on itself in the summer when everything looks so sunny and green.

I think it’s because I feel the passing of time most acutely during this season.

My life has circled around the school calendar since I was four.  June is the end of the year and September is the start of the next year, and in between is this no-man’s-land that belongs to neither school year.  From June to September I think about how we’ve finished another year, and how the twins are that much closer to leaving for college.

(I told you that I’m melancholy!)

I really like this.  I like this age.  I like this whole childhood thing.  I don’t think I’ll ever be full of it.  But one day this stage of life will be over, and knowing that’s somewhere down the road makes me feel weepy.

It just goes so fast.


Our school has this wonderful tradition called the Clap Out.  On the last day of school, the oldest children and their parents walk the halls one last time, and the other grades line the hallway and applaud them as they leave.  The twins have done this every year for the older grades, but it hit them this year that next year, they would be the ones being clapped out.

It’s like the end of Lucas, except instead of the slow clap conveying that the main character has finally come into his own and will now be respected and included the following year, this slow clap is like several hundred hands offering up exclamation points.  We won’t see you again!  You won’t be here next year!  Goodbye!

Whenever I get too overwhelmed thinking about that end point, I mentally go back to when they were preemies and I had no clue how I was going to make it through the witching hour when they’d both be howling, their heart monitors going off at the same time.

That Melissa would be stunned to see how everything has turned out.  That she didn’t mess things up too badly.  That she raised two really nice kids who are mostly polite and definitely smart and pretty funny, too.

It makes me think that one day I will look back at how overwhelmed I am in this time period and realize that everything I worried about turned out fine.

I think.

At least, I hope so.


1 Susan { 06.16.15 at 7:37 am }

Oh yes. This is our first real year where summer is the time of transition–PreK to K–and it’s hitting me already. There will be more and more of these summers, they’re already coming faster & faster, & honestly, I’d prefer to just pause right here for a while. ‘Here’ is such a good place, it’s hard to imagine any other time in our lives measuring up. (Of course I said that his first year, and his 2nd, and well, yeah…)

2 SuzannaCatherine { 06.16.15 at 8:48 am }

It’s the changing of the seasons. I believe we are always transitioning either into or out of something. And the next something feels unfamiliar and how will we ever get to a comfortable place again?

Life goes by so fast. I know it has been said billions of times, but it is so true. “Yesterday” my son was a toddler. On his next birthday he’ll be 47. It’s a very sobering thought.

I hope the remainder of your summer is full of wonderful days with your family. Truly, these are the days you will remember fondly as the twins drive off to college.

Sending good thoughts to you as you navigate your melancholy season.

3 Cristy { 06.16.15 at 9:04 am }

This past week I’ve been going through photos from 2-3 years ago. It still amazes how much changed in such s short period of time. But I also have those moments where I wondered how I would survive when the Beats were so little. Still wondering, but now the problems are different.

Hope the summer offers more joy than sadness.

4 Delenn { 06.16.15 at 9:14 am }

Interestingly, I feel the same way–in the Fall/Winter. I feel the time passing far more in Fall/Winter than Spring/Summer. Perhaps it is because my birthday is in winter?

I do have this love/hate relationship with watching my children grow. I love each stage (well, was happy when 13 years old was passed—almost jumped for joy at age 14!) But each stage of their lives means they are growing further away from me. And lately, I have also realized (albeit only in the recent four years) that as they age–so do I!

There is this neat animated short I saw again recently called Day and Night–really struck me as saying the same thing about time. I guess we need to enjoy both the Day and the Night–both Winter/Fall; Spring/Summer. May a little bit of my joy at Spring/Summer rub off on you–and may some of your happiness in Winter/Fall rub off on me!

I like the idea of a Clap Out.

5 Rachel { 06.16.15 at 10:02 am }

I have a love hate with summer for similar reasons. I don’t know what to do with summer… I mean, I do all of the normal summer things but I have always viewed it as the bridge to the next phase. While growing up I loved it, now I see it as my nephews childhoods slipping away far too quickly. I can’t imagine what it will be liked when I have my own kids!

6 Justine { 06.16.15 at 10:54 am }

Maybe I’m bimodal. I’ve been feeling maudlin this week, too. Almost like February, but there wasn’t a reason I could put my finger on it, like I can for that month. Maybe this is why?

I think I could completely fall apart during a Clap Out. Which doesn’t make it any less of a wonderful tradition…

7 Peg { 06.16.15 at 11:03 am }

Multiple times in the last few days I have wished I could freeze time and keep my guys exactly the age they are–especially our 8 year old Liam. I love this age. He still likes toys, cuddles, and being read to. Damon has only one year left of our school and he’s off to high school with the big kids…the big kids who are one year closer to college…STOP TIME NOW! I’m universally poor with the “end” of things-books/series, sports and school. You are certainly not alone in these feelings.

8 Tiara { 06.16.15 at 3:23 pm }

I love this post & how you write what is in my heart. Thank you

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 06.17.15 at 11:58 pm }

Love this post, the perspective of looking forward as you look backward. You have done such a fantastic job with the twins. I look up to you in so many ways (ha!).

It’s a day of last. My last child lost his last tooth. Clapping one out tonight and feeling a bit wistful.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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