Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tears & wet dog food

It sneaks up on you. The passage of time.
This week I've come to realize two major things happening in my life: my oldest child will now be in school full-time... until he's 18 & my dog is getting old.

Everyone asked me if Jackson starting kindergarten bothered me or made me sad. And for most of the summer it didn't at all. It was simply the start of a new school year, a new routine. I love the structure the school year gives us. I love hearing their stories of what they learned or did on the playground with their friends. I love the family socials, the pumpkin carving, the field trips. School, in general, has always been fun for me & I love that it seems to be turning out the same way for our kids. So no... the start of kindergarten never really hit me.

Until yesterday.

I got a little misty dropping Jackson off for school. Walking to the car it started to hit me that this was no longer preschool. It was no longer an extended day of play mixed with lessons. This is the start of elementary school. This leads to middle school... to high school... to college. Oh My God! My baby will be in college! See how it snowballs?

Still, after drop off it hadn't fully registered with me. Mostly because I was excited to spend the day with Charlie & Andy. And it was Friday. Hard to be sad on a Friday.

It wasn't until I was at Petsmart of all places that the tears started to build. I was shopping for soft dog food for Hersh... who is suddenly aging at an alarming rate. I was by myself, which is usually when the thoughts swirling in my head finally have time to register. Browsing the various cans of food, a display of dog "manuals" caught my eye. I grabbed the one for Labrador Retrievers & started flipping through it. I went right to the 7+ years section & started reading about the signs of aging & how to help ease arthritis. Then I saw it: life expectancy. 10-12 years is the max they give for these beautiful dogs. Hersh is 11 1/2.

And THAT'S when it all hits me. In the middle of the dog food aisle.

The tears start rolling down my face before I even have time to react.

My oldest started kindergarten. My youngest is starting preschool. My dog is ancient & probably dying. Where did all that time go?

I stifle the tears enough to check out, but I'm sure the guy at the register thought I was a little too emotional over canned dog food. Still, he smiled and asked if I wanted to donate to needy pets. Yes, anything. Just get me back to my car so I can have this moment.

I came home to a 5-year old who loves school & a dog who wags at the sound of my voice. He can barely see me, but he can hear & smell me. And that's enough to fill my heart.

I'll take it & cherish this time before it slips away as quickly as time tends to do.