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High school years come rushing in — and mom's not ready for them

The dog days are in full swing and already we're getting "back to school."

High school, that is.

Yes, we're on the cusp of the landmark freshman year for the youngest, who has seemingly leapfrogged into young adulthood and wants to know if she is finally allowed to wear eyeliner and maybe a little mascara, too.

I am so not ready for this.

That's what happens when time gets the better of you. Mondays melt into Fridays. Summers fly. Years whiz by, bringing noble thoughts that an evolved kind of wisdom might just be brewing behind the crow's feet.

Here goes: Blessed are the parents of late bloomers because they tend to rest easier.

I know this to be true because I have borne two of those.

It's pretty much been the tortoise tread for my eldest and the middle child, too, who really did buy into the philosophy that "slow but steady wins the race." No kidding — while other parents were worrying about their teenagers being out on the road, I literally had to prod, threaten and cajole both of them into getting their driver's licenses at the ripe ages of 17 and 18.

Different story for the youngest, who moves at a hare's pace and is counting the days till she's eligible for her learner's permit. That would be 30-something days now. I'm trying to lose track and once more offering advice to "just take your time, dear."

"Insurance is pretty expensive, you know, so it will be a while," I tell her.

"I'll just get a job and pay for it myself," she counters.

No doubt.

That would be the way for the youngest, who bounded into our family nearly 15 years ago with an independent streak and an innate determination to catch up to her older siblings.

I was so not ready for that.

Even her impending birth was a bit of a surprise, coming well after we had finally disposed of the crib, the high chair and everything baby.

But life often defies planning, so there I was in my late, late 30s wondering if my uterus would hold out while the old man rambled on about how he'd be close to retirement when this baby got around to graduating high school.

It's a real test to your patience and your endurance to go back to the beginning after thinking you're done chasing a fast-moving toddler or having to mingle at a preschool open house with a whipper-snapper mom who's made the assumption that you're the doting grandma.

Happened more than once, I'm afraid. Still does on occasion.

But you're as old as you feel, and so I have to admit that the youngest has stretched her parents' youth some, bringing us to pause while our peers were pining over the loss of Santa, the tooth fairy and much that was still magical in our home. Having a kindergarten kid around certainly eased our eldest's departure when he left for his first year of college — even if the little one did get in trouble for defying the nap time rule. Now, as our contemporaries tout the freedom that comes with an empty nest, we feel a warm comfort in knowing she's stuck at home with us for a bit longer.

Even so, the youngster seems to be catching up.

"Who's older?" people always want to know when I introduce my two daughters who are actually five years apart.

Believe it or not, that would be the one not wearing eyeliner.

Once again, I am so not ready for this.

Michele Miller can be reached at [email protected] or at (727) 869-6251.

High school years come rushing in — and mom's not ready for them 08/04/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 7:42pm]
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