Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Rollercoaster of Time (Which Would Make a Good Title for a Novel)

I was at Trader Joe’s the other day and saw some corn on the cob and thought, hey, we could have corn for dinner, and—this is where it gets strange—I only needed five ears of corn. Whoa. And now we really need to either take a leaf out of the dining room table or hire someone to run messages from one end of the table to the other. Just kidding. Our table isn’t that big, but it’s a lot emptier than it used to be. Last week, I took my two oldest daughters to BYU, so our numbers here are shrinking.

I’ve gotten accustomed to having my oldest daughter off at college, but it threw me for an emotional loop to have my oldest two daughters leaving. Funny how when your kids are young, you feel like they’ll be young forever. Then once one of them grows up, it’s like you’ve started down the slope of a rollercoaster and zaZOOM, there goes #2. Seventeen or eighteen years of child-raising seems like such a long stretch when you’re on the first leg of it, but then when a kid starts moving her stuff into a dorm room . . . well, eighteen years isn’t as long as it used to be. I shed a few tears during the college drop-off run—it's interesting how you can be so happy for your kids and excited that they have this opportunity, but kinda sad for yourself at the same time as you see your daughters settling into their dorms/apartments and you know their rooms at home will be empty now.

Just kidding! We don’t do empty very well. To quote a phrase I learned from somewhere--possibly from my neighbor, Michelle? Can't remember--our motto is “A place for everything and a thing in every place.” My oldest son has taken over my younger daughter’s room. And my oldest daughter’s room is now being used as a study and is still occupied by the pet frog, Bernard. My younger son has taken over frog duty, which is a good thing, because no way am I doing it. It involves feeding him live crickets. I bought a new bag of crickets for Bernard (he’s named in honor of a reference from The Brothers Karamazov) and told my son to get them into the cricket container. He wanted to know why I hadn’t done the cricket transfer myself. I told him I didn’t do bugs (to me, a cricket is something you freak out over and whack with a shoe), at which point he promptly broke into song: “B . . . I don’t do bugs” which will only be funny to those who are familiar with the DARE program, but which I found highly amusing.

Our trip to Utah was a whirlwind one—one day on the road, one day in Utah, another day on the road to get back home. We drove together with a friend and her daughter, so there were five of us in the car on the way out, along with gear for three girls. Thank heavens my oldest daughter had stored most of her stuff in Provo or we never would have made it. As it was, we were so loaded down that it’s amazing we weren’t scraping the bottom of my minivan along the freeway.

And holy moly, Utah, what is up with the road construction? As I was trying to find my way around at midnight after a day of driving across the Nevada desert—so I was very tired and crabby—everywhere I looked there were those orange traffic drums or construction and where the heck is that freeway entrance—did you have to tear up the whole state at once? Aaarggh!

Okay, I’m calm now. And I feel the pain of those of you who get to deal with that construction every day. All is well--the girls are having fun at school (except for a not-fun virus that sent my oldest daughter to the Health Center, but she's fine). Life around here is pretty much normal--having booted one kid out of high school, we now have a new high schooler, so we're back to the early morning seminary schedule. Rise and shine! Even if the sun isn't up! And thank heavens for Gmail chat, email, and telephones so I can keep in touch with my *sniff* grown-up daughters. I guess if I really wanted to get sentimental, I could go gaze at the bugs still stuck to the minivan, souvenirs of our college-run trip--stubborn souvenirs that remain even after a car wash. But nah . . . I don't do bugs.


  1. There are a lot of surprising perks to having my first two kids 8 years apart. But a big one is that while my oldest starts middle school tomorrow, I won't be taking my next to kindergarten for a couple of more years. Help me still feel young.

  2. Sorry about all the construction around here. They tell us it'll be done by December 2012. I'm SO glad I don't have to commute to SLC anymore and can usually avoid the freeway and the really bad areas. I'm glad your trip was safe and hope your daughters have a great school year.

    Traders Joe's. There's one of those in Clovis by my brother- and sister-in-laws'. Cool place.