Yesterday is a blur. It is a convergence of two strong, independent streams crossed by time, so deeply intertwined that hindsight and distance often render them as one. That, of course, is not fair to the individuals bound within. Fortunately, a confluence has a way of splitting again, and two roads are always diverging in the now, stretching well into tomorrow.
This is where we stand, with the window of elementary school officially closing behind the last one out, and the boys each moving up an academic notch, to middle and high school, respectively. Between them we shall leave no path wanting wear, and little said of undergrowth. We are moving, quickly, into the big, bold future. Transition — it’s a thing.
I never really thought about life after elementary school. That is, I knew it would happen, but later rather than sooner. In theory, we’ve prepared. We have college savings plans for the boys and something growing toward retirement for my wife and me, but all of that was always far, far away, not next week. It’s not that I’m blindsided by the existence of change, but with a combined 12 years of elementary school serving as the center of our life and routine, it has all blended with forever, and I lost track of time. After all, when one is floating across the sea eternal, it is understandable should they stop searching for land upon the horizon.
Land, ho! We’re beached.
I suppose the thing I find most surprising, is that I’m OK with it. That’s a big deal, considering I’ve made a career from melancholy, over a decade of waxing bittersweet nostalgia in real time for more parenting outlets than I care to remember. I’ve held to the early years of childhood like nothing else mattered, and, I suppose, at the time, nothing did. However, in doing so I have spent far more paragraphs pining for moments passed than pondering the escapades awaiting ahead. Fun fact: adventure is still out there.
It’s funny, the transformation of a moment, the loss of luster as first steps become a whirlwind of sprints and dance moves, and while the beginning was, and always will be, a big deal, there is something deeply satisfying in seeing the learned become the applied, the steps into springboards. The boys can walk the walk, and now it is time to see where they are going.
There is probably a way to spin the downside. For instance, I can barely lift them, and unless we’re in the pool neither will ever again ride upon my shoulders. And, they eat everything, constantly, to the point that we’re spending more money on groceries now than ever before. Also, there is less hand-holding, and so many things that they’ve outgrown.
Yet, for all of that I see their growth as a wonderful experience: their strength of back and character, a hunger for nourishment and knowledge, and the daily reminder that hand-holding is also a thing done figuratively. The only downside is in failing to appreciate it as it happens.
One day, these moments, too, will fade into that blur behind us, the constant projection of highlights and gag reels, the montage of their youth upon the inside of our eyelids, but even then, spread apart as we may be, there will be new scenes to cherish. I can only hope that the boys share them on Facebook, because I would never want to miss them.