This morning the kids were fed and watered, followed by the obligatory photos taken on the front step which were then posted to Facebook. It was indeed, the most wonderful time of the year.
The kids are back in school.
But part of me is really, really wondering where the time has all gone.
Katrina is entering Grade 6, the halfway point when you factor in preKindergarten and Kindergarten. There is now less school ahead of her than behind her, until you consider post-secondary. But those years will be spent somewhere else, and not under our roof.
This morning I booted her out of the main bathroom upstairs as she was taking her time doing her hair. “I told you before, if you want a bathroom to put all your crap in and do your thing, the downstairs one is all yours,” I said.
She quickly decamped the main bathroom and established her own domain downstairs.
A few days ago she pulled out the piece of moulding we have measured the kids’ heights on since they were little. Taking a note from a TV commercial that showed how hard it is to leave the home your kids grew up in, we simply had our own moulding instead of using one attached to the wall.
Those pencil-markings revealed Katrina has grown nearly two inches since her birthday in May, and Spencer grew about an inch-and-a-half since his birthday in March.
Katrina is no longer little. She’s nearly full-sized now.
Her world is also expanding. She pays attention to the news now when I watch it. She asked me the other day why commercials say Justin Trudeau is “just not ready.”
And the days are ending where I can put off explaining the adult world around her, from things like terrorism and wars to why we mute the TV on other news items or change the channel for “inappropriate” shows.
It seems it was just a short time ago when I took six months parental leave with Spencer, who is now in Grade 3, and wrote a column called, “Mr. Mom.” All those trials and tribulations of bottles and diapers are now a distant memory. If you handed me a baby, I might have forgotten what to do with it.
I look in the mirror and realize my own expanding world is largely around my waist. It’s to the point where I don’t
want to look in the mirror anymore. I fantasize about getting into a training regimen like Rocky (one of Katrina’s favourite movies, by the way), but the motivation doesn’t make it past the montage memories.
Having turned 40 earlier this year, the impact of the “Big 4-0” is ever-present in my mind. If I could have joined the regular forces of the military right out of high school, I think I could have retired by now. Given my myriad health issues, there are fewer days ahead than behind. I see the recently-acquired gleaming yellow 1980 Corvette in my neighbour’s driveway and think to myself, “I understand completely.”
And then, “No, I am not going to buy a Harley.
“But I know why people do.”
Instead of thinking of adventures of my own, my mind wants to vicariously live through my kids. What adventures will they have? I keep telling Katrina not to waste any of it.
For my high school graduation, one of the cards I received quoted Rudyard Kipling’s poem If. It ended by saying:
“If you can ﬁll the unforgiving minute
“`With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
“Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
“And – which is more – you’ll be a man, my son!”
Twenty-two years later, I wish I had taken that poem much more to heart in my own actions. I think I should read it to my kids every day.