“Where did the time go?”

“Where did the time go?”

Brad, the “dad”

I’m sorry, I’m running late this week. I … I …

Excuse me, what were we talking about?“Where did the time go?”

All I know is that last night my daughter graduated from high school, and I feel like somebody’s hit me in the head with a two-by-four.

What the heck just happened? There was a baby here just a minute ago. And I remember this cute little girl, couldn’t have been more than four, five years old, sitting in my lap. Then I looked away for just one minute, and suddenly there’s this beautiful, accomplished, confident Valkyrie walking down the aisle in her pretty green robe and mortarboard, picking up her high school diploma, making plans for a month-long road trip, going off to college – leaving. More than that, really – leaving me.

I know we’ve been planning this for months. It’s just that it happened so fast. All of it – the birth, the childhood, the school and Christmases and homework and birthdays and vacations, and crises and partnerships and arguments and now…

I guess I didn’t expect quite so much melancholy to be mixed up with the pride and excitement. I didn’t expect to feel like the guy who’s left standing on the dock while the party ship begins to slowly, slowly sail away without me. Of course, I’m proud of her. Of course, I understand she’s not disappearing, she’s just going to college. I know she’s still my kid, but not a kid and…

Like I said: two-by-four.

I wonder what happens next?

Mary, the “mom”

No fair – you’re going to make me cry! Seriously!

I get this same feeling at every major event (preschool graduation, the first day of kindergarten, middle school graduation, the first day of high school) and some not so major – and often quite boring – events (2nd-grade concert, Brownie bridging ceremony, 5th-grade band concert…). You get the picture.

Sometimes the feeling is positive, as in: “Wow, a few years ago I was worrying about packing a stroller, diapers and baby food for even the simplest outing. Now, they grab their iPods and we’re off. Yeah!” But mostly it’s of the nature of “where did the time go?”

“Where did the time go?”

I guess the trick is to remember how fast the time goes when I want to scream at them about the mess they made in the kitchen. Of course, I never do remember til afterward when I feel bad – not that I always feel bad, just sometimes.

What’s next you wondered. Well, for me it’s that high school graduation you just went through. For you, I’m guessing college graduation. Maybe even a walk down the aisle eventually. Talk about a two-by-four! I guess those hits are going to keep coming. But, for now, Congratulations!

Rach, the “teen”

You haven’t been left on the dock. The boat won’t leave without you.

I graduated last week, and it’s scary thinking about what happens next. I know my parents are feeling melancholy about me (their “baby”) being done with high school, but, they know I’m not really leaving them. Sure, I’ll be at college, but I’ll never really be gone.

So, what happens next? I have no idea. But you’d better bet that my parents are coming with me on my boat, wherever it leads me.

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