Thursday, October 1, 2015

Big Kids

This week, two things made me stop in my tracks, frozen in time by the irrefutable proof of its passage.

I paused in the doorway of the laundry room on the way to pick up Jeffrey, laden with the quilt I'm working on, my keys, my purse, and my thermos, unable to move because of a pair of shoes.  Improbably, the shoes were not lying in my way.  They had been placed neatly in one of the shoe cubbies, the laces dangling.  They were not malodorous, waiting for me to add them to one of the twenty-seven loads of clothes I wash each day.  They just WERE:  a pair of black, size seven Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

I think I got them for Christmas for Will last year, or maybe the year before that.  He doesn't wear his Chucks as much these days, because they do a number on his feet and back.  He doesn't like to, but he wears his foofy, brightly-colored running shoes with the padded soles and correct arches most of time. (I remain convinced that Converse decided to add cushion to Chucks because of the staggering number of middle-aged people who keep trying to pretend that they can wear them without pain.)

Instead, Jeffrey wears them.

At thirteen, he is enormous.  Gigantic.  His arms are like airplane wings, his legs like (incredibly skinny) tree trunks.  His feet are...the size of his father's.  I have to position myself when I take his picture so that he isn't looking down at my lens, because he's taller than I am.  TALLER.  THAN ME. That's so weird.  It doesn't make me sad, because I'm still holding firm to the idea that I'm excited and happy for my children to grow and become whatever they're going to become, but it's still almost impossible to grasp that the baby that he will always be to me and the gangly, handsome young man are the same person.  They exist on the same planet.  It seems unreal, but there he is, looking all grown and mess.

The next day, I was working on sewing a robe for River.  I'm determined to get my fabric stash/craft room/surplus photography supplies in order and I'm using a big piece of pink fleece to make her a warm snugglefest, because she's a cold-natured wee mousie.  To make the robe, I'm using the pattern from the robe I used to make Jeffrey's pirate costume coat when he was three.  It was while making this coat that I said, "I'm just like Hannah" from the Bible, only to discover that I was about as much like Hannah as I am like Chevy Chase, hence my profile name and the name of my old blog.

ANYWAY, I'm using that pattern.  Except ten years ago, I knew almost nothing about sewing and I cut the pattern to fit size three, never thinking that I might want to make him a robe (or pirate coat) when he was four.  Or six.  Or eight like the sister I had only begun trying to conceive at the time I was mangling patterns.  I just wamped my scissors through the tissue paper so that a decade later, I'd be kicking myself because I didn't want to have to go to Walmart to get another pattern.  Rummaging through my vat of abused and neglected patterns, I discovered the one for the robe, and realized that I could fit the size three pattern into the gap in the pattern page and tape it together and thereby realign the universe.  (Yes, I know I could have done this differently.  The interwebs told me all about it and there was something about grading and measuring and using rulers and working on a curve, and my brain exploded and I gave up.  So.)

I was lying there on the ground, with my tape,  when I realized how much bigger eight-year-old River (who I think of as being tiny) is than three-year-old Jeffrey, and how much they've grown and how it just went so fast, those ten years.  They zoomed by, packed with fun and stress and all of the emotions of life, and it doesn't seem like so much time has passed until you are measuring one child against the other's past.

I don't think of River as a "big girl," but the past few days have taught me that she is.  It makes sense; she's so HUGE inside, she can't help but grow.  Look, here are three different kids in a span of forty-five seconds:

That whistling sound you're hearing?  That's time flying by, y'all.

It's flying by, leaving me with big kids in place of the babies they were yesterday.