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In the blink of an eye

My kid graduates from 8th grade on Wednesday. When you have attended a Catholic school for 8 years, this is a pretty big deal. When you will be going on to a high school a few communities over with only a handful of your classmates, none of whom are your close friends (some of whom you don't even talk to), it becomes even more monumental. And scary. And just so very much.

How did we get here? When you are enduring your 13th night in a row of a few hours of sleep because your infant does not sleep more than 2 hours at a time, you can't imagine ever getting past that. You are not thinking about the terrible twos, preschool, kindergarten, or even elementary school. You are just trying to survive. But eventually, your infant sleeps more, she grows into a toddler, and you worry about her getting hurt as she learns to walk, or putting something in her mouth that she should not. And the next thing you know, you are dropping her off at preschool, crying in the car, wondering where the time went.

I don't miss the really young years. I do, however, at times long for the early elementary years. When I was J's best friend. When she wanted to play with me all the time. Well, I don't miss my being J's constant playmate, but I do miss all that time we spent together. The innocent years. Sigh.

I am not ready to see this chapter of life come to a close. Because it is not really a chapter; it is more like the end of a book. The high school years are surely a brand-new book. A book that will no doubt have scary parts. Quite a bit of heartache. Temptation. Angst. Worry.

Lately when I think about J in high school, my eyes well up with tears. I worry that my shy, loyal kid (with a smart mouth) will walk into homeroom the first day and be afraid to talk to anyone. I fret that when lunchtime comes around, she will sit alone. I remember very clearly my first lunch in high school; I too came from a Catholic school, and although there were over a dozen of us from my grade school, none of those "friends" invited me to sit with them. I sought the person who seemed nicest to me in a class that morning, and sat with her friends. I found out months later, maybe even a year, that that nice girl was resentful (or some other word) that I started to sit with them and broke into her friendship circle. I ended up become really good friends with two of them; and to this day I consider one of them my closest friends. So it worked out. But it sure stung for awhile. I had actually forgotten about it until I started to think of J's first day of school.

I wish I could be there that first day, so I could whisper in her ear that she will be fine. She just needs to take a deep breath, smile at a few people, and try to seek out someone who looks a little timid, if no one seeks her out first. My older brother, who is truly one of the greatest people I know, told me that at one of the high schools (I think it is Catholic) in his area, no one sits alone. That if anyone is sitting by themselves, the kids just know to go up to that person and invite them to sit with a group. It sounds kind of nice. At least for the beginning of school, until you find your crowd. Dear Lord, please let my kid find a good crowd.

I am going to try to keep it together this Wednesday, though I make no promises that tears won't be shed. I am also going to try not to think about three months from now. At least not too much.

Life keeps on going. Those kids, they grow up too fast. In the blink of an eye.

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