i never appreciated the difference between a revolving door, the kind when you can keep going in and out of a place…and a turnstile, the inventive yet diabolical device that allows only a one way journey.
this morning, while i waited in patient line to drive through the high school lanes, the kiss goodbye from my youngest child fresh in my mind, i took it all in.
washed suddenly with one of those darned epiphanies that come more and more frequently, i took a trip back in time through the years that i’ve been making this very same early morning drive.
corey is a junior. her brother is a junior in college. her big sister, a sophomore. with sips from my coffee, the cars chugging in place to make their all too familiar loop, i did the math.
this is the 7th year in a row that my job is to drive my car to this place, watch the teeming teens stream from their range rovers, impalas, jeeps, bmws, explorers, minivans and pick up trucks. it’s a veritable merry-go-round of sameness, the only variations are the weather and the mood of the particular teens sitting in my car. it’s an early morning clarion call, so crabbiness is always an option.
so, for 7 years, i’ve been fused to this task, this first peek at the day of thousands of high school kids. the slide show played in my mind…the kind of car i drove, the outfits of the students filing into the building, the energy of each of my children as they reached for the door handle, bracing themselves to join the throngs of high school academia.
my children need to eat. it’s no secret that i’m a night owl, so this 7:20 bell call of the start of first hour has my alarm here ringing way too early for my own good, and yet, it’s the job i signed up for in 1990 and there is no clause for excusing myself from the start of the day. nor would i want to, despite what my kids would think after much texting and whispering and calling, “mom…it’s 6:30…”.
if i’m in my good form, thanks to the clever child who pushes the start button of my little coffee maker, the aroma will start to kick me awake before i’m on my feet. automaton-like, i’ll make way way to the kitchen (luckily, a mere 9 steps), and pour the magic elixir into my mug and open wide.
next up: a blatant ignoring of the warnings about cholesterol. we’re a bacon and eggs kind of family, or an egg and ketchup sandwich clan, or best of all, an egg in the toast gaggle. so, with my java attached to my left hand, i’ll risk the safety of all by flipping on the gas burner and cooking up something hearty for the teen who is about to make their appearance at the kitchen island.
these are good days.
why is it so satisfying watching your children eat the food you’ve made for them? who knows, but it is. it’s the first joy of the day, the first tick in the to do list of being a parent and sending them off with a dose of goodness & attention.
you matter to me.
so, as i was in the que, heading out of the vast parking lot, i wondered why it took me so long to realize that, this raising kids thing, rather than each experience being like a revolving door, revisit, relive, redo….it is just like a turnstile where there is only one direction to go: forward, never back.
so, maybe this caboose of mine is feeling a bit more tended to. and not for any personal, specific reasons (really, kids, trust me: i love you all the same, and i like you like that, too): it’s more about my getting it: this is the last of the line. this is the final bow. this crawl out of bed, inhale my coffee, flip the egg, grab the car keys, head out the door, lean over for that goodbye kiss: it’s the last frontier of my daily bread, my view, in the not too distant future, of that oft talked about empty nest.
i’m soaking it up, every last crumb of it, as the best years of my life.