There are times I am keenly aware that my kid -- the original TinyTuna and now TeenTuna -- is growing up quickly. Sometimes I mark these moments with equal parts sadness, regret and fear. "It's not much longer," I think. "How could it happen so quickly?" I wonder. "Please watch over her and keep her safe. She's smart and has a good head on her shoulders, but it's a big world out there." There are times when these emotions are fleeting and other times when I feel as if I am being carelessly tossed about in turbulent waters.
But I'm here to tell you there are other times, and other thoughts that might start with the phrase, "It's not much longer," and then I'm overcome with an odd combination of exhaustion and elation. The first time it really hit home was this past November, when I walked out of parent-teacher conferences. "It's not much longer," I thoughts. "ONLY THREE MORE CONFERENCES EVER!!!!"
You might guess that I was QUITE PLEASED with this revelation.
The next time this same emotion returned for an encore was last week, and really hasn't left yet. It occurred to me (in the midst of all the hustle, bustle, frantic activity, performances here, there, and everywhere, and maintaining that little thing we call a good "Grade Point Average") that I have a year and a half left of this nonsense. It's not much longer before she's done with high school.
Or, the modern translation: "It's not much longer before I'M done with high school. And I'm here to tell you, I cannot wait.
What's strange is, as a student, I loved High School. I realize that puts me in a very small minority, but it's true. Classes weren't difficult and I had a great core group of friends. For those four years, I took charge of my destiny and everything was fine. Today it's a little bit different. Classes ARE difficult. Daily homework requirements require the use of a fully stuffed backpack plus another canvas carrying bag. And here's the thing -- I DO NOT do her homework. DON'T DON'T DON'T. However, my function is an all important Jekyll & Hyde kind of affair. I'm part drill sergeant, I'm part cheerleader. I'm part temptress. I'm part realist. I'm all exhausted.
I cannot wait for the day when my 7pm - wheneverpm mantra is no longer, "What's your homework situation?" or "When is it due?" I look forward to resigning from the special projects advisory board (diorama division), the extra credit executive council, and The Center for Cinematic presentations of important works of literature. I look forward to retiring from the high school shuttle bus service, as well as handing over all offices and duties related to that of the social secretary. And finally, I await with Saint-like patience, the day when I no longer have to tithe boxes of tissues for each and every classroom.
In reality, I'm sure when that day finally arrives and my time thereafter is free from the demands of literature, geometric proofs, performances and more performances, the periodic table and the history of the United States, I'll wonder where it all went, and maybe I might wish for another chance to do it again.
After all, you learn by repetition, right?