Time seems to pass in the blink of an eye. I listened to an interview with Barry Gibb the other day — the handsome Gibb brother from the BeeGees. Yes, I know, some of you have probably never heard of the BeeGees. He sounded old, which made me feel old, and I wondered where the time went.
We are busy.
Busy every day, looking at a clock and measuring our day by what we need to do in the hours available. Busy with the school calendar where our years do not begin on January 1st, but in September with the first day of school. Occasional reminders of time passing in the form of transitioning from grade school to middle school or middle school to high school.
And then, one day, we look up from our planner, our calendar, our phone…. and find that it hasn’t been an hour, a day, or a year passing but a decade.
Every one of my daughters looked forward to going to kindergarten.
They all attended preschool and loved it. My youngest was so eager to read that I took her to a special program. The teacher said her job was usually to help older students with difficulty reading. My three year old was a treat for her. Excited about reading with no failures yet. They were ready; I was not.
I cried after the bus left on each of the three mornings my daughters started the first day of kindergarten. My husband asked me if they were tears of happiness. I shook my head. This was their first big step away from me and I didn’t know how to process that.
I remember walking my first daughter to the bus for the first day of middle school. I told her I was proud of who she was becoming. She was making good decisions, I told her, and I felt that I had only just blinked and she had turned from a kindergartener to a sixth grader. I told her I was afraid I would blink again and she would be off to college.
I blinked twice & she is now a young woman with a college degree & a life of her own.
My second daughter understood my bittersweet feelings. She stood with me on the sidewalk next
to the car across the street from her dorm in another state. Her dad and little sister were already seat-belted and ready to go back to Wisconsin in the now empty vehicle. I could not bring myself to leave this girl on the cusp of womanhood with a Disney princess smile. The girl who was my sunshiny baby. Whose violin had filled my home with beautiful music almost daily. She smiled and waited for me to be ready to leave her. I heard her phone buzz in her pocket. I said, “It’s your friends waiting for you, isn’t it?” She replied, “It’s okay, momma, they can wait.” She is also a college grad and, as my husband pointed out a few weeks ago, has lived in another state for almost 25% of her young life.
My baby did her first college visit in October.
I had to turn away from the college girl giving us a tour as it hit me that another blink was coming. A blink that would leave my house quieter. No laughter from teenagers coming from our playroom. No concerts or games or teacher conferences on the calendar. How do you explain tears to a stranger for something 18 months in the future? I blinked them away.
When my youngest was a baby, we took my dad to a Japanese steak house for dinner. It was
exciting. Hibachi with 2 school aged girls and a baby. Frilly drinks and flying shrimp, flashing knives, and lots of laughter. As we left the restaurant and my girls frolicked and scampered about their grandfather, I mentioned that it would be nice for him to get home to a quiet house. A shadow of sadness crossed his face and I realized that he missed the noise, the energy, the full house.