They Grow Up So Fast

All grown up - N spent 6 hours shoveling on both Sun & Mon
When you spend years getting your kids get dressed each day,  making sure the basics are covered (underwear and socks), it's almost impossible to imagine that you'd be screaming not "where is your sneaker??" But "move your car... Now!" But that was the last thing I said commanded before I hung up on my daughter at 6:10 am today. Even if my intensity was possibly justified (there is little space on our still-snowy street and the garbage trucks and school buses are expected soon and they may hit her car), my presentation lacked any hint of love. My blood pressure was raised after I had that nanosecond of fear when I didn't see her car. Instead of assuming it was on the street hidden by a huge pile of snow, the logical and correct explanation, my crazy DNA kicked in and paranoia made me think, "Did C go sleep at a friend's house last night? I thought I heard her come in, but what if she never came home from work last night? How could I not notice that she came home?!" I flew up to her room, where (of course!) she was sleeping in her bed and we discussed her car. I ran back down to my car, called her and screamed at her. Good morning, indeed!

Last night I also had a "never did I expect..." moment when I tried to "help" my son. I'm not sure how closely you've been following our household this year, but we put N into private school, only to return him to public school after a few months. This meant he was late in joining extra-curriculars.
One of the pros at the high school was the robotics club. Unfortunately it is full. I ran into two parents at a parents' meeting last night at the library. One parent was very welcoming with the "I'm sure there is some way he can join." The other made me feel... Well it isn't about my feelings, is it?
I went home and spoke to my son (now that I think about it, my daughter was just getting out of the shower, so of course she came home from work).  He said that he already knew what I told him, that he can help raise money, but he can't help build robots, because it is full. He didn't want to raise funds. As far as I'm concerned, he can help raise funds when he is welcome to participate fully, if he wants to. In hind sight, it would have been much better if I kept out of it and not mentioned that he was interested. 

Wait a minute... Insert screeching sound... These are 14-18 year olds. Why would moms be involved? When I was in high school other than watching their kids event, preferably from the back of the auditorium or stadium, parents were like the background noise in Peanuts. My parents probably bought whatever we were selling as fund raising, but I have no recollection of them ever attending a single meeting, except for ski club, where teachers threatened parents (in pre-cell phone time) if they weren't in the parking lot to pick us up at 11 pm. Maybe they just weren't the get-involved type and there was opportunity all around, but I think parents just stayed out of it all.

Commuting may suck sometimes, but I see the sun rise
I am thinking about this as I sit on the train to Newark because as I rode this train homeward last night, I was "doing the math," realizing that spring is coming and I have very little time left with my kids, especially C. Last night, I missed freelancing's freedoms. It seems that every week my job becomes less creative and less fulfilling, while the commute lengthens (no wonder I was thinking this yesterday: with PATH service out, it took me more than three hours to get from my kitchen to my cubicle). Soon my daughter will be playing her final lacrosse games - ever - and I cannot think of anything I do at the office that is as nice as watching her.

But that is about me and my desires to be with my kids while I can. Not as much about my kids needing to have me there. Our identities are changing. Before this job prohibited me from spending the time, I was very engaged in their lives. Maybe too involved? My life still lacks balance. My commute is a time suck, wasting my most precious resource. 

Perhaps I need to learn an important lesson from the last 12 hours. When my time is limited with my kids, I need to make a much bigger effort to avoid yelling and micromanaging.  Being with them is a gift. I can't afford to squander it.


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