Thursday, April 03, 2008

Growth spurt

I'm not sure if this is true of all children, but I can always tell when one of my offspring are entering into a growth spurt. Lots of food. Loads of sleep. A little edgy. Then suddenly their pants don't fit, and we are pulling out the boxes in the attic to see if we have hand-me-overs to fill in the gap.

I feel as if I have entered into a Mama Growth Spurt in the last few weeks. I am not growing out of my pants (please, Lord, NO!), but I am being stretched beyond what is comfortable. If life is a highway, we are in the fastest lane of the autobahn in a convertible. The vistas are breathtaking, the wind is messing up my cute hairdo, and the radio is playing our favorite songs. It's a trip we will never forget, but it is going terribly, terribly fast. Every now and then I start to panic. What if we get lost? What if we crash? And more probable: what if we run out of gas?

When I was pregnant with my fifth child, my wonderful OB asked me, "Um, did you realize they are all going to be teenagers at the same time?" I thought he was speaking of the societal expectations of ratty teens who rebel and mouth off and make life miserable for adults. Now I am beginning to think he was just speaking of the demands that delightful, hardworking, interesting teens can make on their parents. In the last week alone, I have helped one girl set up a checking account, an ATM card ("What is an ATM card, Mom?") and a credit card so she will be ready for her six-week travel adventure to Virginia. I also worked with my son to get his work permit and his "white polo shirt without a logo" and his "skid-proof, hideously expensive work shoes" for his new job at Jamba Juice. It's been a wake-up call to Mom and Dad about our filing system for little things like social security cards and birth certificates. Then there is the driver's ed, driving instruction preparation for Jamba Juice son.

Learning to drive ** with a peanut gallery ** and heading off to work

Somehow, having all these things crash into one week has brought home the transitional phase of my life, and I am exhausted. Don't get me wrong; would I want anything but these things to happen in my children's lives? My daughter's job and travel opportunity to Virginia is a dream come true; my son is equally excited about working hard at Jamba Juice. And driving? Well, he has been asking how old he has to be to drive since he was two years old.

I was sitting on the couch the other day, in a stolen moment of quiet contemplation, and my mom stopped in for a quick visit. She took one look at me and said with understanding and kindness, "This isn't easy for you, is it?" No, Mum, it's not. It's good. It's all good. But, I'm still struggling with the transition.

So what's a woman to do?

* Sleep like a growing child.
* Pray.
* Be deeply, deeply grateful.

And I need to be a little patient with myself. I'll go ahead and make easily-accessed files for important documents, and I must create organizational systems in order to remember who needs to be where and when with what. But, I'll be patient with myself, too.

And then we'll just fill the gas tank, buckle up and check the map. I plan to enjoy the feel of the wind in my hair.

A view of the autobahn

One thing is certain: these are the good old days, my friends.

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