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.
At least, I hope so.