It’s definitely spring now, moving quickly on toward summer, and I’m happy to see big-name events resuming – French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest – even if I’m not planning to go. (I wouldn’t go in normal times, so my not attending isn’t an indictment of the choice to have them … it’s just another sign of things getting back to normal, in that events are happening around me and I’m choosing not to attend them.)

I love spring and yes, even summer in New Orleans, with sweet olive and snowballs and my glasses fogging up every time I step outside. I love humid mornings and afternoon thunderstorms and sunset at 8 p.m. I know summer in New Orleans isn’t for everyone, but it’s my favorite time of year.

But I am a bit startled, I guess, by the fact that it’s been more than two years since the pandemic started; almost a year since I lost my mom; and somehow, in the blur of everything, I apparently will have a high school sophomore and a middle-schooler next year. I felt like everything just kind of stopped for me when those two things happened, but in fact, the world did keep on spinning.

An old friend on Facebook posted pictures from her kid’s sweet 16 this past weekend, and I started to comment, “Wow, I thought she and Ruby were closer in age …” before it hit me. They are close in age. My kid will be 16 in December.  

Georgia is turning 10 next month – official double-digits – and we have her middle school orientation this week because now middle school starts in Grade 5 even though elementary school used to go through Grade 6. 

I’m excited for both of them to hit these milestones, and I’m grateful, of course, that they’re growing up into smart, funny, kind people. I’m just not as emotionally prepared as I’d hoped to be because the last two years have really beaten me down. 

I’ve got time to get my head around all of it, and I will. I’ll buy Georgia all of the “locker decor” she wants to deck out her middle school locker. I’ll plan a sweet 16 party for Ruby (if she wants one). I’ll sign one of them up for the Growing Up for Girls puberty class and the other one up for driver’s ed. Somewhere in the next year, one of them will get braces off and one will get braces on, most likely. 

Life will keep on moving forward, just as it always has, pandemic and grief notwithstanding.

I didn’t want them to stay babies forever, and I love that I have freedom now to do things like read a book in the bathtub for hours, a luxury I never could’ve imagined when they were tiny and needed me constantly. 

But it’s bittersweet. I don’t miss changing diapers or waking up every two hours, but I do miss holding chubby hands and toddlers sleeping on my shoulder and the satisfying heaviness of a baby in a Moby Wrap. 

Even the dog is all grown up now – he turned 3 last week, well past doggie adolescence. 

I’m not about to have another baby, not at age 41, not a chance. But maybe I need another puppy?