Childhood, Life, Motherhood

When Did The Trees Get So Big?

This morning as I drove through my neighborhood, I observed the trees that line the streets. When did these trees grow to be so big? I said to no one.

A large portion of my life is spent looking ahead; at the road while driving my car, at the soccer field where my youngest daughter plays, and through the camera lens while photographing important moments. But on this particular day, I shifted my gaze to the right of my well-traveled neighborhood streets. God, when did these trees get so big?

My eldest daughter recently finished her junior year of high school a few weeks ago. That means the year she has been looking forward to since kindergarten has arrived. That also means the year I’ve been dreading since she went to kindergarten is finally here.

I’ve written about being “in the thick of it” when it comes to parenting children. In the thick of it, I was stressed out, tired, complaining a lot, overworked, ready to be out of “the thick of it.” I hadn’t had therapy, I was convinced I wasn’t a good person, so motherhood was sometimes too much for me. I was also doing a lot of the parenting by myself.

I now wish I had cherished my children more when we were “in the thick of it.”

The high school bus passed down the street this morning as we were going through our morning routine, and I had a brief moment to reflect on “kids” who had just graduated high school. I knew a lot of those “kids” who played dress-up in our basement, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on our back patio, and who traded fruit chews on our front stoop.

They no longer ride the school bus that passes by our house every day.  I remember when that bus took Anna to school. This was eventually replaced with riding to school with friends. That was then replaced by driving herself to school.   

I’ll miss the commotion. I’ll miss the mess. I’ll miss the hustle and bustle of it all.

I know I have many years remaining in the mothering part of my motherhood gig, but this time, I will take it all in a little more. 

Those trees grow so quickly.

18 thoughts on “When Did The Trees Get So Big?”

  1. I long for the diaper days, as they somehow seem less stressful sometimes than being in this new thick of 17 and OH MY GOSH HE WILL BE 20 IN ONE MONTH )oops, was I shouting?) We will be here waiting with open arms, tissues and peanut m&m’s when you return. Soak it in, love them up!

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  2. ((Stands up and applauds)) Who knew kids grew up this fast? My son graduated on Friday and it was one of the proudest and one of the scariest moments in my life. Have a ball on your summer vacation. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and don’t eat too many smores (a dozen in one sitting is acceptable). See you in the fall 🙂

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  3. I thought having a senior would be less sad the second time around. It’s not. Still sad and happy and exciting and terrifying.
    We can commiserate over pie any time you want.

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  4. Kari. I’m moved to almost (almost!) speechlessness. Your writing has a depth to it that I haven’t noticed until now. I like it. A lot.

    Enjoy your Summer. We have been knee deep in adoption papers/visits/and carrying – ons for many months. I disappeared from my beginning to write again because I have a mouth and I didn’t want my writings to negatively impact our future adoptions. But I’m still out here and I’ll update privately on FB as things develop for us. I miss you!! I look forward to your writing as you emerge from your break.

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    1. Friend, I am here whenever you want to write to get the feelings out. If even in an email.
      I miss you too. Have a wonderful summer!

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  5. Oh, Kari. This one hits home and hard. Yes, take the summer off. Soak up all the moments you can. That senior year was a heart-wrencher for me. And there’s nothing you can do but go through it, which I recommend doing with your heart and eyes wide open. Raising a child and then letting her go is such a profound experience, and I feel as if we don’t truly acknowledge that in our culture. Maybe we don’t think it is because so many of us go through it? All I know is that, for me, letting my babies go has been nearly as transformative as their birth was. I’ll be thinking of you.

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    1. You nailed it: we don’t acknowledge that in our culture.
      Thank you for being a good friend.
      I am going to need that friendship even more next year.

      Totally off topic, have you been writing? I haven’t seen any blog posts but am afraid I am missing them. My Bloglovin’ is irritating me.

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      1. No, I haven’t been writing. In February my son decided to enlist in the Marines, and…I don’t know. The past two years have been really hard, and I think a lot of things have been catching up with me. Life’s been coming at me so fast and furious this spring I haven’t had much time to reflect. And the state of the world right now? It’s hard (for me) to know how to best spend the time and energy I have. I’ve been using most of it to take care of my family and connect with them. So, it’s not you (or Bloglovin’). It’s me. 🙂

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  6. Beautifully written! My experience has been the complete opposite – I’m so glad those trees are bigger now! The end of the school year must bring up nostalgic feelings for many of us. I wrote about the same thing this week.

    Enjoy your summer! The last summer vacation before senior year is a big deal.

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    1. I am so glad to hear this opposite view! I need to work on being glad that they are bigger and I really think that will come. Eventually.
      Enjoy your summer as well!

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  7. Kari, I loved this post. As someone who has raised and successfully released two offspring into the wild, I can honestly say that I am sometimes struck by the absurdity of wishing they’d get through this phase or that while in the thick of it – it’s the craziest, busiest, just off-the-wall ridiculous times that make me smile. The silly things of laughing at the kitchen table, baking together or just having them gang up on me because I am “me.” I send you much love and just a photographic memory to store the memories of not only the big events, but also of the every day-type simple mundane things. ❤

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