I always get a bit melancholy this time of year. It’s ridiculous, because the changing Midwest landscape seems so exuberant and joyful, but there it is. When I was a kid, sure I was happy that the school year was over and the summer stretched lazily out in front of me. But the end of the year festivities always fell flat. I think that part of this depressive tendency has something to do with the cumulative effects of six months of Wisconsin’s meager winter sunlight. I suppose that biology played a role, but over time I realize that most of it is pure nostalgia. My response to this past weekend confirms that I just don’t handle the passage of time well at all. All of spring’s celebrated milestones and kids moving on; the reminders of the ephemeral nature of time are too much for my naturally angsty soul! Here’s some of the most recent evidence (caveat: I cry over well-written commercials, so take it with a grain of salt):
Things I cried about this weekend:
- Senior “memory posters” at the dance recital. Every year, the graduating seniors get to put together a collage of dance memories and a few words. I routinely stand in front of these posters dissolving into a weepy pile of mush. The old shots of the round, awkward preschool versions in puffy tutus compared with the “now” shots of these lithe young women. And I know that every girl’s parent says the same thing: “I don’t know how it happened so fast.”
- Tiny confection-like dancers at the dance recital. If the senior displays weren’t enough, I then am confronted by the puffy little preschool ballerinas being led clumsily onto the stage. Their tutus as wide as they are tall, they routinely steal the show. However, while the rest of the audience “Aaaaahs” over the cuteness and laughs at the one ham in the crowd, I’m left with tears silently streaming down my face. In 15 years, the little bon bons’ parents won’t know how it happened . . .
- Graduation blessing at church. I might have been able to handle this one, so staid and formal in nature, were it not for everyone whispering how they could “remember when they were just a little baby.” Stop remembering that so easily! It was years and years ago, that much time must have dulled your memories! It couldn’t have just slipped by unnoticed like that! Luckily, my choir robes are long-sleeved and highly absorbent of human tears.
- Facebook feed crammed with pictures of graduates. These always do me in more than prom pictures. The look has changed so little over time–gowns, mortar boards, awkward poses next to Sunday-best parents. It’s easy to dredge of memories of all of those other graduation photos filed away. I cans till remember the cheap feeling of my own high school graduation gown, how my high heels sunk into the football field over which a stage had been set up. If I can remember THAT so clearly, it must have only been a few years ago, right? Who are all these young whippersnappers messing with my sense of reality? Cue waterworks.
- My girls’ birthday pictures. So, I don’t know how to use technology. I needed a tutorial over the weekend to figure out how to find pictures and export them to this blog. It was ugly, and Jimmy has suggested that teaching my grandfather how to use the computer was easier than helping me. Apparently I kept saying things like, “stop clicking so fast!” and “how’d you get there?” It was not a pretty scene, but he was saved from utter spousal destruction by the discovery of girls’ birthday dress photo collection. This is a little tradition we started of taking their picture in the same dress every year. Please join me in rapturous weeping over the first and most recent editions of each:
- Free donut for National Donut Day. I’m not even kidding. Nobody be kind to me for the next couple of weeks, I seriously need to recalibrate.
And here’s the thing: I know that all of these tearjerking examples have to do with kids getting older. I’m not sad about that fact, not exactly. I’m interested by them as they change. I was never a huge fan of infancy to begin with. I’m just petrified of the fact that it all goes so quickly. I get sad every spring when the tulips drop their petals, every fall when the last leaf falls; somehow I didn’t pay close enough attention.
How can we possibly pay close enough attention?