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The First One

When my friend Jen had her first baby in Y2K, it was before smartphones and texting. I got a phone call from her husband that Tyler had arrived and was healthy and perfect. This morning, I checked FB and learned he got accepted to college. COLLEGE. The first one of our little group is about to leave the nest and he’s knocking over the first domino. Next year, another senior. Then another. Then another. Then two in one year (not twins, just friends who had simultaneous babies). Then another. For the foreseeable future, our spring and early summer weekends will be spent attending graduation parties, the way we attended weddings and then baby showers and then baptisms and then first birthdays.

Can someone please tell me how and when this happened? Because my tiny girl is now 12 – she can do a dutch braid in a minute flat, and sings her heart out in her school chorus and local volunteer theatre. She doesn’t need to be tucked in at night any more. Countless hours of laying down next to her in her bed while she settled in for the night, telling me about her day and things she forgot to tell me in the kitchen or the car … yes, many of these minutes I wished she’d wrap it up so I could get back to laundry/netflix/email/grown-up conversation. I don’t remember the last time I laid down to snuggle with her at bedtime – I think I would have insisted on staying an extra few minutes.

The twins – almost 10 – will still take the snuggles. But I know it’s waning. They will get deodorant and face soap in their Christmas stockings alongside the lego figures and candy canes. They will not be 9 for much longer, and not be 10 for much longer after that. I know the moms of kids like Tyler will agree … and the moms of the littles will say “promise? Because the no sleep / the food issues / the potty-training is getting OLD.”

Yes, promise.

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