Five Minute Warning

February 23, 2014

I’m not sure when it started. Maybe last week. Maybe just before Christmas. That’s the way it is. One day I wake up and realize that we have entered a new phase. And it hurts, the surprise of knowing the last phase is done. I didn’t mark it with a cake or a photograph or even a moment where I looked around and made a point of remembering what it felt like.

I’m talking about the movements of my families life. The segueways are less than graceful as I passed thru being a mom to babies, to the stressful role as guardian to toddlers to suddenly waking up and finding my role is that of driver, provider of dinner and cash. Tonight I became aware that I am no longer the central figure in my kids lives.

Katy, my 10 year old daughter, is off with a friends family skiing. She has always been a “mini me.” I never asked her to be. She stumbled into swim team, and playing the flute, and long afternoons hidden inside a book, all by herself.

I have never been much of a skier, I have problems walking down our back steps after it snows three inches. And trying to slide down a hill, on boards, wield poles; well I have problems juggling my purse and a bag of groceries. So I was a little worried about how successful she’d be on her winter weekend in New Hampshire.

This morning, she called me on the phone and told me she had gone down the intermediate slope and ridden a chair lift and asked when I could take her shopping for ski socks. Then she said “I love you mom.” I love you, mom,” is Katy code for “let me off the phone now, breakfast is waiting, and then I am going back out to hit the slopes.” i think. I’m not quite as sure of her as I was yesterday. 

Colin, my thirteen year old, is over at a friend’s house. I got to drive them over there, and tonight there were no awkward pauses in their conversation. They spoke easily about basketball and video games and homework.  I drove, quiet, and listened to every word. I like to hear my son talk to his friends. He is casual and confident and funny. We were supposed to watch a movie tonight, but I’m fine with his defection. I wouldn’t have liked the movies he suggested. Last night I forced him into an evening of sitcoms so it would have been his turn to pick. The last time he picked we watched “The Purge”. I got off easy.

So here I am, home alone. The kids are with their friends and I am the last thing on their minds. I will wake up early tomorrow and go the gym with a friend while they sleep in, exhausted from whatever the hell they are up to tonight.

And that is the way it should be.

When they were little, and we had to go somewhere, or leave somewhere, or even have dinner, I’d call out at least ten minutes in advance, “five minute warning, guys.” And five minutes later I’d do it again. And everyone would get to the table or to the car or into their swimsuits at just the right time.

This time, I really would have appreciated a five minute warning.

One Response to “Five Minute Warning”

  1. james said

    No 5 Minute warning needed, kids grow up and be content that you have accomplished as a parent should feel. RELAXED that your kids are fine!! So are you.

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