So yesterday's post, The New Routine is No Routine, listed out all that we've had going on as the fall and a new school year has gotten underway. I assured you there that while it's okay with me to not have as much routine as we used to have, well, it's not completely true. There have been some really hard days where I've questioned all of it. With a schedule like ours, I'd be crazy not to wonder about paring it all back, right?
But the day that really got me was a Friday back in September. We all went to school and work, but now that Hannah's in middle school, she leaves right around 7 am. We're both getting ready for the day between 6 and 7, and I get to see her for five minutes or less during that hour. That morning, it was on the less than five minutes side. That evening, Hannah was invited to an event and was going to be gone from when I'd usually be arriving home until after 10 pm. So I tried to alter my schedule and make it home 15 minutes earlier, just so I could spend a bit of time with her before she left. But the phone rang in my office and then the train took just a little longer than usual, and I made it to our block just in time to see her leaving with her friends. I missed her.
Now the funny thing is that when I'm traveling for work, there are of course days like this. Somehow though, they're different, and maybe because I'm expecting it, I can handle it better. But I really didn't like not seeing her all day, and often make myself a little crazy trying to avoid days like this. I realize, too, how lucky we are to even be in circumstances like these, where we have places to go and ways to get there and people counting on us, to be healthy enough and in this stage where the most quality time is often spent driving someone somewhere.
But she's almost 12. As I'm writing this the sun is setting on a beautiful fall afternoon and winter will be here in a moment and then she really will be 12 and two-thirds of her childhood will be behind her. The ball I picture rolling down the hill has picked up speed since I began seeing it in my mind two years ago and I can feel our time together shrinking and changing. There are going to be entire days when I don't get to see her. There are going to be more and more of them as I encourage her to spread her wings and try more and more things without me.
So it's really not about cutting back on the schedule. It's about adjusting to the changing times, about episodes of Project Runway and trips to the craft store and texting and listening to her sing. And it's about stealing an extra hug from Max, because thankfully he's still around, and working on my life with Marc so we can withstand the changes yet to come.
And sometimes, it'll be about making it home in time for those extra 15 minutes.