Still half asleep, I plodded back to my room to get dressed. As I passed through the kitchen doorway, a stream of liquid hit me square in the face.
I tried to spit it out of my mouth…
Darling Daughter: It’s WATER mom.
(Still wiping my face, water dripping down the front of my shirt…)
Darling Daughter: From my squirt gun.
Me: Oh. Well it tastes gross…
Both children laughed at me. The dogs ran in circles around us.
Me: Did you have to get it in my mouth?
A few minutes later, we headed out the door.
Me: What are you doing?
Darling Daughter: Filling my squirt gun.
Dogs, the children and I loaded into the car. And it is a load; of dogs/dog hair, heavy backpacks, my ‘suitcase’ purse, bags stuffed with both kids after school workout gear…
My son rode shotgun next to me. Daughter and both dogs were in the Back of the Bus. (Family terminology for ‘backseat’)
And we were off to school…
Water whizzed past one dogs head.
I glanced back there…
Darling Daughter: What? I thought they liked water.
Me: Yeah, they really, REALLY like that.
Darling Daughter: Well, they drink it. And they like to swim!!
The Red Dog buried his head under my arm while I drove. He did NOT like the water.
Darling Daughter: Rocky, are you traumatized? Grace, you like the water, don’t you?
Gracie rode with her head out the window.
Me: She does NOT like it. And she’s very neurotic. Let’s hope she can’t get her whole body out of that window.
Darling Daughter: If they could open their mouths, maybe they would like it…
Where was my son in all of this?
Relaxed. Plugged into his music, both ear buds securely in place. Traveling in his own bubble. Happy…
Me: Do you have to torment the dogs?
That’s when the water flew past my head, landed on the dashboard and windshield.
I flipped my sunglasses down over my eyes.
The Red Dog turned his head toward my daughter. If he could speak, he might have said, “What are YOU doing?”
Darling Daughter to Rocky (AKA The Red Dog): It’s water. Wanna sip?
Me: Nobody wants a sip!!! None of us…
Where did she get the squirt gun?
Part of the spoils from yesterdays National Honor Society induction process.
There is a tradition at our high school. On the morning of NHS inductions, senior NHS members ‘kidnap’ the new inductees from their beds. New members have a minute to brush their teeth, then get dragged to school for the day in their pajamas.
How are the new inductees awakened?
With chaos. A dozen kids crammed into our house. Hurled balls at her. Turned on lights. There was yelling and screaming. Darling Daughter was pelted with water from squirt guns and silly string. (That is still stuck to her bedding) And in our house, the dogs barked like crazy. That is how my day started yesterday at 5:45 am.
Luckily, we still have the plastic balls, squirt guns and such.
The tradition is fun for the kids. And the seniors did an outstanding job in organizing the event, of speaking at the induction ceremony last evening and they made the ‘right of passage’ a wonderful memory for the new NHS members.
At the reception after the ceremony, I spoke to a teacher/coach whose third child (of four) will graduate this spring and head to college in the fall.
Coach: Yeah. My wife has been crying some lately. The kids are almost gone.
Me: I find myself thinking about that, though my daughter is a junior…
Coach: I keep telling her…in a couple of years, they’ll start coming BACK!!! And they will bring more people with them…
We both laughed…
Me: That’s so true. So, really we should look at these years as our ‘window.’ A little breather…
Coach: I keep telling her we can do some things together.
And he was right.
College isn’t the end of one phase. It is simply the beginning of another.
There are few breaks in parenting and our job is never done. Once we have kids, we are parents forever. We send them off to college. And they come back. They get jobs. Get married. Have children. And if we are lucky, we have a wider circle of loved ones. The conversation shifts from high school sports and classes, to college majors, to the job hunt and careers, the first home and other life events.
When my children hit milestones and other mothers cried, I was always more excited for my kids than I was sad for me. Because my kids were excited. If they are happy, then I am happy for them. And so I try to enjoy each phase that parenting brings.
We aren’t guaranteed these moments. My mother couldn’t attend my NHS induction, though she would have loved to.(We videotaped it for her) She was too ill and was diagnosed with cancer several months later.
Maybe I appreciated every moment of last evenings NHS ceremony a little more because of that. It isn’t that I live in the past, more that my past injects an extra dose of gratitude into some things. Or has shown me not to take anything for granted.
Life does move forward. And we never know what is in store for us. Sometimes that is downright terrifying. But it is also part of the adventure…
And so I try to enjoy the ride. Even when ‘the ride’ includes water squirted inside the car, at 7am.
As for my daughter…what goes around, comes around.
She stays after school every day to work out. And I pick her up.
Today, I will pick her up with a loaded squirt gun. And when she gets in the car, I’ll be aiming for her mouth.
Surely, she’ll want a sip of water after her run?
NOTE: Please read the comments, to see how picking up my daughter unfolded…