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We Turn Back The Clocks

We’ve got the Sunday Scaries over here. The Halloween costumes have arrived and are in their amazon packages sitting in the foyer, waiting for a little bit of homespun attention to half-ass the homemade Halloween costume concept that I was raised on and worked hard at for about 6 or 7 years.

But another 7 years have gone by and here we are, applying to high schools. We know what happens next: the costumes get assembled, we turn back the clocks, and we’re off to the races of Thanksgiving and Christmas and then we wait to find out where our infant daughter in her homemade ballerina costume will attend high school.

How I wish we could turn back the clocks. Three middle schoolers arrive home daily to our house and grab a snack, a device, and head off to do their thing on their own with barely a response to my peppering of questions about their day, their homework, the state of their heart and mind. This routine gives me plenty of time to glance at my FB memories or TimeHop and wish we could go back to the Halloween when they were The Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two and they all went to bed at 8 after one lollipop.

I remember thinking that it was hard, then. Giving baths and kissing boo-boos and dicing grapes and keeping tiny unaware humans alive and safe from all the dangers of the world … yes. It was hard. I do not want to diminish how hard it was. In those days, just the turning back of the clocks was hard - they’d get up at 5:30 and you felt like you had been drained of all energy and will to live, as you’d dole out cups of cheerios in the dark and park them in front of Dora the Explorer so you could have a cup of coffee.

It was hard, but I think I look back and think it wasn’t so bad because in fact it was so rewarding. You could teach them a new trick in an hour, in an afternoon. Daddy would come home and it would be like the best surprise party ever, every day. They’d get out of the bath squeaky clean and snuggle in your lap for a story and your brain would release all that good oxytocin and you’d clean up the dishes and still have an hour on the couch for a grown-up show and maybe (usually) a glass of wine.

Now? The rewards are few and far between, the snuggles even more rare (hugging my daughter is like hugging a chair), and they go to bed at the same time we do. I can say with the certainty and conviction of a person who has friends with older children - we will never look back fondly on these years and wish we could turn back the clocks.

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