Deep Feelers.

Some people, it is said, feel the passing of time more deeply than others.  While others cheerfully celebrate birthdays, graduations and the like, the deep-feelers tend to mourn these milestones.  Rather than viewing them as opportunities to rejoice in a life well-lived, they see them instead as markers along the inevitable road to death.  If you’re not one of these people, you might not even be aware of their existence.  Yet they silently live among us, pretending to be regular human beings when they are anything but, just like

Clark Kent, or Bruce Wayne.  I know this because, I am one of them.

 

When I turned ten, I almost had a nervous breakdown over the idea that in another ten years, I would be an ancient, shriveled up, twenty year-old.  When I hit twenty-nine, I didn’t leave my bedroom for almost a week.  The finale of Six Feet Under, which showed the way in which all of the characters would one day die, got me going on a four-day crying jag, and haunts me still.  My husband likes to joke that when I turn forty, he’s going to put me on a twenty-four hour suicide watch.   But none of that comes even close to how devastated I become each May and June, May and June being, respectively, the double whammy of Harper’s birthday, and the end of school.

 

There’s something about my children getting older that affects me like nothing else.  For whatever reason, I feel as if my time with them is not just fleeting, but also limited – that someday, sooner that I even realize, the sweet, delicious, relationships that we have are going to come to a sudden and abrupt end – and I mourn the passing of each year and each phase of their lives just as if a close relative has died.  You may recall the total wreck I was last year at this time, when Harper turned five and then graduated from preschool a month later.  Or the pathetic puddle that I was at the end of the summer, when she was about to start Kindergarten and officially become a Big Kid.  A few weeks ago, on the night before her sixth birthday, I sat on the edge of her bed while she slept, crying my heart out over the fact that she would never again be five years old.  And then there’s this Kindergarten thing.

 

At the beginning of the school year, when I was still mourning the loss of our carefree, preschool days, I totally resented Kindergarten.  There was homework, and there was reading, and math, and full days, from eight to three.  I felt as if I was being robbed of my little girl before her time.  It took me a while to come around, but I finally realized that while I saw Kindergarten as something for Big Kids, the school was still treating her as a little kid.  Yes, they go for a full day, but they have snack, and rest time.  They have their own little kindergarten play yard to keep them away from the scary, real big kids.  And while they did learn to read and to write, they did it with kindergarten spelling, which is just about the cutest thing ever.  Harper’s teacher told me in the beginning of the year that kindergarten was magical, and it’s only now that it’s ending that I’ve finally realized she was right.

 

renlilgal
08.20.08

So last month when all the back to school stuff started coming out, I started with all the emotional stuff about it, crying that another year has gone by, dreading the beginning of school. I thought, "What is wrong with me?" and did a search online about other people crying when their kids start school. I came upon this site and this post, and boy was I in tears! This describes how I felt about my son going to kindergarten last year and preschool the year before, and now upcoming first grade. I was the only mom on the first day of kindergarten not taking pictures, but bawling instead. To top it off, my daughter is starting preschool this year. I've already had several crying moments. I do feel robbed, that my kids are slipping way from me. I still feel like they are babies, and sometimes I feel like they are being stripped from my womb into a world of strangers. I was comforted to know that I am not they only one who feels this way. Thanks for posting this. Good luck this year.

laycey
08.04.08

I am a little late to this post (sadly behind on MommyTracked) but started to cry when I read it. I too am a Deep Feeler -- not so much about myself, but definitely about my son. He just turned 3 -- and every day I feel like I am trying to burn the moments we spend together into my brain b/c I know they are fleeting. Even now, I find it hard to remember his baby and little toddler days -- I remember events and what we did -- but not what is felt like. I want to bottle this -- and hang onto it for every life stage, but know that I can't. It is a bittersweet aspect of parenting I never expected -- thanks for bringing this to light. I expect most parents (Deep Feelers or not) feel this sometimes.

caragarden
08.02.08

i'm already mourning him leaving for college and he's four!!!

dawnsoliel
06.24.08

I can completely relate to this article. My last baby just turned 12 months and will soon be "graduating" to the early walkers room. How can this be? I remember how difficult it was to say goodbye to the infant room teachers when my now 3 yo son graduated and that seems like yesterday! Oh well, at least the deep-feelers like us experience life more fully. At least that is what I tell myself so I can stop crying!

cindyloo
06.06.08

This blog made me cry... I am such a crybaby when it comes to my little boy. He just graduated preschool too. I felt like I was the only one leaving his graduation and his music programs with red puffy eyes. My husband makes fun of me. I thought maybe I was the only crazy one out there, but I am glad I am not!

prsigal
06.05.08

Read Billy Collins' poem, "On Turning 10." I think you'll relate. A friend and I were just having a similar conversation about that although every new stage is exciting, we still mourn the stage that we're leaving.

moonfever0
06.04.08

I think some moms defer the inevitable passing of time by having more children and being able to relive those baby and preschool experiences over and over. I cried at my son's Kindergarten graduation last year, but it wasn't so bad since his younger sister is still not in Kindergarten yet. But when she graduates, that will indeed be a very sad day.

mommyim
06.03.08

I have the box of Kleenex all ready for my daughter's preschool graduation tomorrow. And for some reason, my son finishing second grade is having an even greater impact on me than my baby girl moving on to kindergarden. I think I fear him moving away from the running hugs and impromptu "I love yous" he is so fond of giving now. I see him becoming an independent boy, able to handle things on his own.

Thanks for writing about this topic.

hsmedlock
06.03.08

I have just missed my nearly 5-yr-old’s Dancing with the Stars party to end her year in pre-k. We didn’t even get a graduation! And the other day I took a rare trip into a real store to examine purses rather than browsing Zappos & trying to conjure them with my imagination & a ruler. But then I was in the sheets aisle, then the baskets aisle, and then—an overwhelming number of distractions later—the baby clothes aisle. Oh, good, I thought, maybe I’ll find something cute for my 14-month-old. As I stroked a sweet little onesie & tiny hat set, I nearly burst into tears when I realized that my last baby is hardly a baby anymore. He started walking a few weeks ago, and he’s moving into the toddler room at daycare. I will never again buy teeny tiny outfits or shoes for my baby, & this makes me so sad. I then recalled the reaction I had when my daughter moved from a carseat to a booster seat (her father’s idea). I looked back at her, asleep & flopping sideways in the flimsy-looking booster seat, and began crying hysterically for the rest of the ride. Yes, it’s wonderful and fun to see your children grow and learn and become their own people, but it’s also very hard for the deep-feelers to let go of the littler people they used to be. Thanks, Risa, for sharing, and good luck with all the milestones to come.

katbur2
06.03.08

I cried at preschool graduation. Thanks for making me feel like part of a tribe instead of just a big crybaby for a change. I expect to be heavily sedated for high school graduation.