Tonight I was walking our dog Roxy down by the school and suddenly felt a pang of sadness. Since we had turned back the clock a few days ago, the nights were now getting dark at suppertime. This was the second day we weren’t able to do our nightly after supper ritual – playing at the school.
After supper, you would grab your little pink purse, full of animal finger puppets and a few Fisher Price Little People, and we would “skip” down to the school (note: fun for kids; embarrassing as hell for adults). It was always the same routine – you climbing up to the top of the slide for a game of “Get” (a.k.a. throwing everything in your purse down the slide, and instructing me to “get” them and give them back to you). Then you’d run around the school and make us chase you. Then back to the slide. Then you’d hide in the big rubber tires and I’d have to “find” you. Then you’d run down to the big, colorful, painted rocks at the end of the soccer field and point to every one (“red, yellow, blue…”). Then, if there were puddles, there was splashing and throwing rocks in the water.
Finally, you’d get tired and say “home,” meaning you were too tired to walk, so your dad or I would have to carry you (all the while, muttering, “Why didn’t we bring the friggin’ bike?”).
Seeing the school surrounded by darkness, and knowing it was the end of our nightly ritual, just reminded me how I can’t afford to take all of our little “routines” for granted – they are so short and fleeting, and change in a heartbeat. Of course we’ll be back at the school again when the days are longer, but the routine will inevitably be different, and will keep changing.
You have always been one to follow a very exact routine for weeks, sometimes months at a time, then abruptly shift and start a completely new one. There was the “running back and forth between mommy in living room and daddy in kitchen” phase, the “take me everywhere in my little red wagon” phase, the “mommy has to take me to the swings every day on her lunch break” phase….etc…etc…
It is hard as a parent to realize how fleeting your time is with your child, and that someday they will be gone, and you will be left with the memories of all those little “routines”…and wish you could do every single one all over again.