Today, at some point, I realized we are entering the last week of August.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did. In my defense, I haven’t gotten more than three hours of consecutive sleep since well before the baby was born so my brain is starting to make spluttering noises and backfire like a 1987 Yugo. Calendar management has been difficult.
Once I realized I’d misplaced the month of August it also dawned upon me the oldest daughters were due to start micro soccer. I pondered this thought a bit longer and decided it would behoove me to consult a calendar.
The calendar, that sneaky little device that withholds pertinent information if you forget to consult it and ends up costing you a month, told me micro soccer starts tomorrow.
So much undone! Shin guards to be obtained, soccer socks choose, and somehow we needed to procure both a size 3 and size 4 soccer ball in accordance with the micro soccer rules of engagement.
Thus, here’s what panic looked like in our house tonight. (I say tonight because, even though I remembered what day it was this morning, I promptly forgot about it again until after the girls were bathed and dressed in their pajamas for bed.)
“Girls! Quick! Get dressed! Get Daddy! We need cleats!” With that we set off on with three kids past their bedtime and an infant who considers the car seat his personal nemesis.
I bet you can imagine the awesomeness. Really. Awesome.
Stellar. Then painful. After painful we hit a rough patch of emotional, followed by ecstasy as the girls exited Big 5 clutching soccer balls and shin “guides.”
Due to some freak of retail, Big 5 did not carry youth soccer shorts, so we continued our quest on the micro soccer treasure hunt to Target.
We battled the crowds at Target, searching for a pair of solid black shorts.
I had no idea it would be so hard to find black shorts that didn’t include bedazzlement and stripes of flourescent pink or yellow! We ended up in the boys section. My girls weren’t excited about shopping in the boy’s section but I live in genuine fear of organized sports and making the wrong first impression, so if the informational email said “cleats, shin guards, socks, black shorts, and size 3 ball,” that’s exactly what we would have and I will not be the family making waves.
While we shopped, I kept noticing middle-aged people looking at our family with guarded, almost pained expressions. I didn’t understand why, since during this trip to Target we didn’t even lose one of the children in a graceful trapeze-style flip from the cart.
Suddenly it clicked. These were parents of new college students. The residence halls of the state university in our city opened today and hordes of youngsters attended orientation, moved into residence halls, and convinced their parents they needed that papasan chair while their parents struggled with the knowledge 18 or so years had passed in the blink of an eye.
I looked at my girls, readying for their first soccer experience. (One sporting a lopsided smile until her front teeth grow in completely, the other still believes in Santa Claus and that I’m a super hero. We live in the age of innocence around here.)
The days… they stretch out like Chinese water torture. Yet the years… the years go so fast!
Time to take inventory:
One shopping cart, the double-decker one that’s impossible to steer but has seating for three, filled with little girl bodies and two pairs of black shorts, sized small. My arms, toting a barely-born, less than 10-lbs. bundle of potential.
Assessment? I’m going to be one of those shell-shocked parents. Much sooner than I will be ready.
Not too many months ago I spent some time making banana muffins with Uno. Halfway through the batter explosion we call filling the muffin tin, she stopped and put her hand on my forearm.
“I like spending time with you like this, Mommy. Just you and me, together,” she said. “We need to remember these times because before we know it I’ll be going away to college.”
(Yes, I know I have a strange child. I know this and yet we continue to homeschool. Go figure.)
Those Target inhabitants… they were staring a final goodbye to their child in the eye and I know it happened before they knew it. I know they were looking at our young family and wanting to tell us to cherish these times because they’ll pass more swiftly than we can imagine.
I got choked up at the juxtaposition of life cycles. I felt love swell in my chest and let my mind wander to the day we send our kids off to college, or watch them marry, or see grandchildren being born. It was quite the moment.
I’m not going to lie, I almost cried in Target. Because they grow, they grow. Even with only six years under my belt, I know they grow so swiftly!
“Get yourself together!” I whispered fiercely to myself, trying to stop the tears.
So then I remembered that the same kid I made banana muffins with is the one who also told me she’s waiting for me to die so she can have a cat.
I’ll be ok when the time comes.
In the meantime, we have black shorts, cleats, the promise of a scrimmage, and an opportunity to sign up for team snacks as children chase a soccer ball down the field to make a goal for a point they won’t actually score.