I am NOT going to be one of those parents who spend the first day of school saying, “Where did the time go?” I know EXACTLY where the time went!
It dripped away, second by second, with every single "Mommy, look at me!" at the pool and the playground. The time was spent watching Little Einsteins and Clifford, reading board books then picture books and then chapter books together. It was spent learning how to breast feed and cure diaper rash and train them how to sleep through the night. It was spent in three-minute increments of Time Outs. Time was spent at the library and at Parents As Teachers classes, learning how to make homemade books and do infant massage.
Where did the time go? It slowly bled away in birthday parties, singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and the first tastes of rice cereal and puréed pears. Time sapped the color out of my hair, turning it gray. (I won’t mention what it did to my tummy and my boobs.) Time passed with each fervent prayer I said, asking God to Just. Get. Us. Through. This! And then time was spent (and, frankly, wasted) on more mommy guilt than I ever thought possible.
Where did the time go? It passed with every single first: steps, words, haircuts, emerging teeth, lost teeth, potty triumphs, and biking without training wheels; all those moments I was fully present without being aware of the passage of time.
Where did the time go? It was spent waiting for every new first, just like the first day of school I anticipated for five years. Because I’ve always known today was coming. I prayed for it with a sense of begging on certain hard days, and a sense of dread on others.
I look at my babies: my son, ready for Kindergarten and about to explode with excitement. My daughter, who feels like an old, wise student that can show her brother around school. I look at them and I know the exact answer to the question, “Where did the time go?” It went second by second into the five years, four months and eleven days between his birth and this momentous day. And nine years, one month, and 23 days in the making for her.
And every single second was well-spent.