Years ago I thought time passed slowly, too slowly some days. When the girls entered our world I wanted time to move slower so they could stay young for as long as possible. Well, I felt that way until they hit the terrible two’s, and then I thought that stage of life couldn’t end fast enough. All too soon the years turned to days and the days turned to seconds. Once the girls hit middle school time hit warp speed. Now that both girls are in high school all I want to do is slow down the clock and hit rewind, especially with the past twelve months.
Twenty-fourteen rushed in and brought along life changes and family bonding moments that has spilled over to the current year. Teaching the rules of the road to our first teen driver was a huge learning curve for us all. Hours of parallel parking instructions between boxes and garbage cans supplied comedy relief galore. A teenage crush, which by all appearances is a mutual one, has kept one daughter walking around with a goofy grin plastered on her face. Then there was the first job interview for one teen, the first job aside from babysitting, and the first of many long evenings for this momma as she waits up for the older teen to come home from work.
Recently my parents and I conversed about these very topics. They commiserated with me about how these events unearthed certain emotions; especially the job. Then my mother and father both reminded me of the time I came home and informed them they were looking at a newly hired employee of McDonalds. Stunned! Yep, that’s the expression that appeared on their face. They didn’t even know that I was thinking of looking for work. Neither did I.
Who knows what possessed me to go out and get a job without even discussing it with them. As a high school student still living under their roof, you’d think I would have talked to them first. Especially since the car I was driving was the family car. Because of this impulsive decision, there were many times my parents had to drop me off at work and then return later on around the time I was supposed to clock out. I have no idea how many hours my parents spent out in the parking lot waiting in the car for me. This was long before cell phones and text messaging, so they did a lot of guessing as to when I would emerge from the building. Then later on when I did have a car of my own, one of my parents still waited for me. I’d come home late at night and find whoever drew the short straw asleep on the couch or just “resting their eyes.”
Life has come full circle and now I’m the person waiting on my daughter to get home from work. The other night my husband asked if I wanted him to wait up so I could go to bed. I declined. For some reason I just couldn’t picture myself going to sleep without knowing she was safely home. While talking this point over with a colleague, my coworker assured me that in time my feelings would change and I would relax about this job. Maybe I will, but at the moment, I don’t like this at all. As a mom I feel better about my chicks being in the nest. While I know they need to grow up, and I really want them to, this is still difficult for me. I don’t want to be known as a helicopter mom, but I also don’t want to kick my kids out the door too soon. So, finding that balance between the two is a work in progress.
The other day I pondered just paying my teenager minimum wage to stay home. Somehow I think that would be counterproductive. She really likes her job, and it is teaching her a new level of responsibility. At the same time this mom is learning to let go a little more, and learning to allow her daughter the opportunity to stretch her own wings; a step she needs to take towards adulthood.
Tonight though, as I waited for the sound of her car in the drive, I realized that this wait has to be easier than waiting for a date to end. And as I thought about that, I wished I could unplug the clock and stop time!