My ears are ringing.
I wish I could blame it on the usual culprits: the novice recorder “concerts” at volume 11, the impromptu roller derby track around the kitchen table, the reenactment of every beloved “Frozen” scene, the sheepish request for duct tape and the garden hose …
My ears are accustomed to these warning signs, and I have learned when to intervene (with limited First-Aid) and when to simply nod and shut the door.
But the month of May has left me shaken.
I want to sit down and put my head between my legs in a protected hallway. I want to throw my emergency escape ladder out the window and climb out to safety. I want somebody with a whistle around their neck to declare this month a trial. A test.
“Back to normal, now. Back to routine, everybody.”
But I see the red spinning lights ahead, and I know there is no going back.
The first alarm went off early in the month after a self-incurred head wound at approximately 6 a.m.
One cup short of awake, I jumped three feet (toward an open cabinet door) after a man grabbed me from behind in my kitchen. Blood trickled down my (giant) forehead as I turned to see my would-be assailant.
My 11-year-old son. Standing at five foot five. Man-size.
Staring at me like a stunned deer. Frightened freckles squished up on his nose.
Its happening. As if the wracne (wrinkles plus acne) weren’t confusing enough, I have to watch my baby outgrow me at 11?
Those particular tears I blamed on the helpful forehead gash, as I watched him unpeel a Band-Aid. We used to joke that his hands were like little Legos. Snap-on hands that had no use for wrists. Now, long fingers clumsily search for the right end of the wrapper to peel away. My own snap-on hands are the only ones left quiet on my coffee mug.
It was followed by my baby’s preschool graduation.
In denial for years, I am guilty of some eye-rolling at this ceremonial event. There may have been some playful muttering about entitlement and mediocrity. I may have refused to purchase the graduation photos.
But this year, I’m awake.
The sirens have startled me straight up in bed, and I know those chubby little fingers won’t stick around. I’m going to blink and watch them unroll their own cursive letters written on a fresh diploma. It won’t be long, and that cap and gown will actually stay put on their head and shoulders.
The sirens shake. I’m going to have to share. Permanently. They won’t be kicking seats in the back of the minivan.
They will be driving (the same minivan. Ahh … karma).
They won’t be fighting over the wishbone. They will be arriving at noon with a load of laundry to wash during the game …
They won’t be asking for money. Right? They won’t still be asking for money?
“Mommy’s crying because that boy in the pictures died” my four year old explains to her brother.
“He didn’t die. He just graduated,” my son responds as he loads his plate with gold-tasseled cupcakes.
Nothing says “congratulations,” like a middle-aged lady crying at the dessert table. Waterworks in public. Honestly, I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house this month. I fake a contact mishap and set my weepy cheeks back down on a folding chair.
My smallest graduate climbs into my lap and licks all the frosting off her cupcake. Well, the frosting that hasn’t already taken up residence in her hair. She wipes her sticky fingers on my lap.
“When I grow up, I’m going to be a mama. But I’m not going to share my cupcakes. They are my favorite,” she confesses.
I know just what you mean. Enjoy every bite, honey. Every bite.