At 9:30 on Sunday morning, I sent my kids to religious school. This is the first year that both of my kids go on Sundays, and I have to tell you, I now totally get why my parents made me and my brother go to Hebrew school for so many years.
It wasn’t because they wanted me to learn Hebrew, or to become so well-versed in Judaism. It’s because they got to have three hours to themselves every Sunday morning. Seriously, it all makes so much sense now.
Anyway, while my husband and I lazed in bed, watching Season One of Damages that just arrived from Netflix, I couldn’t help thinking about how far we’ve come as parents.
So I hit pause and I said to him, isn’t it so crazy how far we’ve come as parents? And he was all, what? What are you talking about? Why are you pausing this right now just when we’re about to find out why Rose Byrne is covered in blood?
True, it was bad timing, but I had to talk about it with him, because I just could not believe where we are in our lives. I mean, here we are with a nine year-old and a seven year-old. That day, they both woke up around 8:30. My daughter gets her own breakfast, they get dressed by themselves, they make their own beds, and my husband and I have three hours every Sunday morning to do absolutely nothing.
And I was just like, wow. When did that happen? Because it wasn’t that long ago that we were being woken up by our little human alarm clocks at 5:30 in the morning, trying to half-sleep while they watched The Wiggles, or that we were changing their diapers or cutting their food into little tiny pieces so they didn’t choke. And on most Sunday mornings we’d pack up our strollers and snacks and baby wipes and enough gear and supplies for a three week camping expedition, and be out the door by 9 a.m., headed for the zoo or the Natural History Museum or the Long Beach Aquarium.
And yet, suddenly, here we are. All those years of sleep deprivation and hard work have finally paid off, our kids are practically grown-ups, and we’re here, watching Damages in bed at 10 a.m. We high-fived each other, and then went back to being shocked by the cold-heartedness of Glenn Close’s character.
Cut to: 1 p.m., my husband and I and our kids are at the Halloween Festival at Underwood Farms out in Moorpark. We’ve been going to this every year since I can remember, and my kids have always LOVED it. There’s a tractor ride, and there are farm animals that you can feed, and pig races and games where you can win little pumpkins, and there’s face painting and scarecrow making and all kinds of shows going on on a dozen different stages, not to mention kettle corn and shaved ice and lots of other junk.
But this year, it was different. Within ten minutes of being there, my son declared that he was bored. The games were too easy. He won, like, five pumpkins in three minutes. He had no interest in feeding the emus or in looking at the giant pig (no, really, it was enormous) or in petting the goats. He didn’t want to waste his time making a scarecrow because it wasn’t scary enough.
My daughter, too, was less than thrilled. The rides were for babies (this was true), the shows were for babies (also true), and it took her forty-five seconds flat to decorate a pumpkin in the arts and crafts area.
I felt buoyed by the fact that they wanted to go on the cow train that takes you around the whole farm (kind of like a tractor ride, except you sit in little cars decorated like cows). Only, when they got on, my daughter’s knees were up at her chest because she was way too big to be sitting in a cow, and when they got back she said, and I quote, “that was the lamest, most horrible thing ever.” About the cow train! Which she used to love!
I looked around at all of the other families at the farm: moms carrying babies in slings around their necks, little girls running around in princess costumes, toddlers rolling on the ground and screaming, getting covered in hay. And I realized, we’ve outgrown the Halloween festival. My kids sleep like teenagers and make their own meals and get themselves dressed and are practically grown-ups, and they’re just simply too old for petting zoos and pig races and cow trains.
For the second time that day, I couldn’t believe where we are in our lives. And so I said to my husband, our kids are too old for petting zoos and pig races and cow trains. And I almost started to cry, because as much as I like lying in bed and watching Damages on Sunday mornings, I really loved how excited my kids got each year to go to the farm and watch some pigs run around a track.
But I suppose that chapter of my life is really over now. I realized that, like it or not, I am not a mother of little kids anymore. And I was like, wow.