Middle, yes, Middle, is leaving for college next week.
Don't. Get. Me. Started.
In the course of filling out the endless stream of paperwork, I came across his childhood immunization record on the form I had to fill out when we ditched our old pediatrician and found a new one seven years ago.
Here's the Birth and Development questions along with my answers from the form…
Term: 40 weeks
Birth Weight: 8lbs 3 oz (got his one WRONG – he was 8lbs 4oz!)
Condition at Birth: Fine
Apgar Score: ?
Condition 1st Week? Fine
Cyanosis: No. (had no idea what Cyanosis was – still don't. I think I assumed if he had it I would know what it was.)
Sat Up: 6 months?
Stood: 10 months?
Words: 12 months?
Short sentences: ?
First Teeth: ?
Notice how by the time I got to Short Sentences, I had given up even the pretense of guessing at when those milestones had occurred. Granted, I filled that form out when he was 11, but can you believe all the question marks? I had only the vaguest memory of all those huge developmental milestones – the sitting up, standing, walking, talking. All those moments – each the product of relentless effort on his tiny part and the inevitable unspooling of genetic code. They were all so very important at the time.
And then, 10 years and another sibling later, they end up a nothing but a hurried guess scrawled on a form.
Would I have been a better mother for knowing the exact month, for remembering the specific day that each of these milestones was reached? Would I have been a better mother if I had video'd it all? If I had etched it somewhere in time and space?
Right now, as I tolerate the week before he leaves, I wish I had all those moments tacked up on a giant bulletin board, so I could trace the steps from him rolling over that first time, stunned into silence by the new view, to him packing his duffle and deciding, yes, he will take the vintage race car he got for Christmas last year.
But I can't parse those moments out anymore, can't separate them out from the stream of days that deposited him across the kitchen counter, perusing the paper while he eats his roast beef and Firehouse jack sandwich on Bay Cities bread.
All those moments are in him and between us. Lost and found.