I'm not really into jewelry, or fancy clothes, or makeup, or cars.
But there is one thing I love, one thing I can't get enough of. It's something I hoard to an almost embarrassing degree. I'll forgo dinners and parties, and almost anything at all if it means I can have more.
I have always been like this, always worried I'd run out. When the person who is your entire universe runs out of time at 28, you start to count down your own years, your own days, your own minutes.
This year I have been especially hoardish- because let's face it - cancer does that to you.
So does college.
I find myself trying to squeeze every last juicy drop out of having all five of us here at once. I hear him up for a midnight snack, I jump out of bed and ask if he wants me to make nachos. I ride with him to put gas in the car just because I can. I offer to buy Dairy Queen, because I only have three weeks left to do it.
It's like Aerosmith song I used to sing to Punk when he was a baby:
Don't want to close my eyes
Don't want to fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you baby
And I don't want to miss a thing.
Dammit - now I'm crying again.
I contend we've crammed a LOT of stuff into the past 18 years: 8 Halloween parties, 48 states, 7 epic road trips, two little sisters, more plays and musicals than I can count, a trip to Broadway, 22 rides on Disney's haunted mansion, hundreds of family dinners, thousands of snuggles and bedtime stories, some rather excellent birthday parties, two oceans, a bike ride down the Rocky Mountains, white water rafting in Yellowstone during a lightning storm, and pinewood derby's "most creative car" for three years straight. Yet there is this constant guilt-inducing feed in my social media:
Ten Conversations You Must Have With Your Kid Before You Leave Campus
College Shopping Hacks: 21 Ways to Save Money
The Essential 88: Things Your Teen Must Have For College
20 Lessons Your Kid Must Learn Before 20
College Dropoff is Traumatic - How to Survive
33 Skills Your Teen Needs to "Adult"
Cue The Tears: My Oldest Left For College and My Heart is Breaking
What the what?
Ten conversations? Thirty three skills? Twenty lessons?
Damn! Isn't it a little late for this? I have three weeks! If we went back to birth I still don't think I could squeeze this all in. Why wasn't this $#!+ in the Family Fun magazine I was reading twelve years ago?! I'm just gonna have to assume we glossed over all of this at some point, and that "make good choices" is gonna be the default plan.
Shopping Hacks? The Essential 88?
You know, more helpful articles would be something like: "How To Explain a Subsidised vs. Unsubsidised Loan To An 18 year-old Who Took Six Weeks of Econ Underr Duress" or "Whittling Down Your Crap - How Many Bobble Heads and Lego Sets Will Really Fit In Your Freshman Dorm?" For real - give us some legitimate info to work with here. Target's got us all hooked up with power strips, shower caddies and mattress covers, we just need to know how many command hooks it takes to secure a really big-@$$ disco ball to the ceiling, because it ain't staying here.
And enough with essays about all the feels we're gonna feel. My God, I barely have enough ammo left for my own emotions let alone reading about how every other parent in suburbia stoically climbed into their empty Chrysler Pacifica and sobbed like a newborn all the way home. I don't have enough tears in me for all of the feels that Facebook seems compelled to keep dumping onto my page. I get it - it's gonna suck. It's been sucking all summer, quit reminding me how much more sucky it can get - and while you're at it, stop with the sidebar ads for wrinkle cream and Botox.
Because it's not enough to lose your kid to adulthood.
Social media needs to whisper it in your ear, over and over:
"You're old. Everything you love is getting ready to leave you. Plus you're getting wrinkled - that $#!+ is hideous. Take care of that or you'll be lonely and ugly. Here's a coupon for some incontinence pads and bulk sized Meow Mix."