time keeps on slippin'.....
When I was pregnant with my daughter, a cousin said to me - Savor your time with your kid. It goes so fast. One day they're in diapers, the next they're in high school. And you'll have no idea where that time went. She teared up a little as she said it. I shrugged it off as a new-parent-advice cliche. Time was a leisurely thing. Back then, at the relatively young age of 28, life was moseying along at a good pace. How could having a child make things speed up? It couldn't! I thanked my relative for her advice and chalked up the tears to her having a melodramatic midlife crisis.
But, oh how right she was. Becoming a parent leaves you with mental changes to go with the physical. Along with sagging boobs and stretch marks comes a fundamental change in how you view the passage of time. It won't happen right away. It will just sneak up on you. One day you'll be standing there, just watching your kid smear Spaghettio's all over the high chair and you'll look at his face and exclaim "When did he stop being a baby? He's...he's...a little boy now!" And you weep just a little because that infancy stage went by so fast and you feel like you didn't grab it hard enough to hold onto any of it. You find yourself looking at pictures of your son as an infant and then looking right at him and wondering when the hell that change took place, because you've been with him the whole time and you don't remember him..growing...like that. Time has sped up. You're on fast-forward from here on in.
And then they go to pre-school and the normal calendar that you've been setting your life by this whole time goes out the window. Your year now goes from September to August instead of January to December. He's in kindergarten. First grade. He can read, write, make friends on his own. His face has changed so much you can't believe that photo of the kid in the high chair with the spaghetti sauce all over his face is actually your son. Where did the curly hair go? The pudgy cheeks?
And then he's playing baseball, making his first Communion, wearing a tuxedo to your sister's wedding and damn, he looks like a little man. But that can't be, because just yesterday he was laying on the living room floor with his binky in his mouth, clutching his stuffed animal and watching Barney. What? That wasn't yesterday? You could swear it was....
And then your daughter starts middle school and your head is spinning because you could swear that it was just a year ago that she was playing the recorder in the third grade concert. Three years ago? No way.
They're having parties and you look at their little friends when they come in your door and you think to yourself, isn't that Suzie from her Daisy troop? She's wearing make up? That little girl is wearing eye shadow? And your daughter reminds you that they are in eighth grade now and they're not little kids any more.
And then you're done with the elementary school. You've got one in the middle school and one in high school and every time you drive past the elementary school, you feel wistful and weepy even though you hated that principal and the school itself because your precious time is bottled up in that building, years and years of your children growing up and you wonder if you didn't just hit a time warp and got bumped into the future because there is no way all that time has passed already.
And then your daughter is talking about learning to drive and colleges and boyfriends and your son has a hint of mustache on his upper lip and you can practically hear the roaring sound as time wooshes right past you. Suddenly you're in one of those cartoons where the calendar pages go flying to mark the passing of time. Woosh, woosh, woosh, there goes five years in the blink of an eye.
Of course, one day you sit down to really think about all this and you realize you're having a melodramatic mid life crisis. You're in your 40's now. Half your life is gone. And half of half of that life was spent watching your kids hit the fast forward button. What's left? Graduations, weddings, grandkids, retirement community. Birth, school, work, death.
Ok, so that's the morose, hardened way of looking at it. There is a lot to look forward to. But it's kind of like autumn - I wait for that season all year because it's my favorite. The cool weather, the beautiful colors, I just love fall. Yet I feel like even if I spend all day long staring at the foliage, it's not going to be enough, because no matter how long I stare, no matter how many pictures I take, that particular moment when the yellow leaf goes spiraling down into the pile of red leaves in a spectacular ballet of nature, that moment will gone. Forever.
In two days, my son will be 12 years old. Two weeks after that, my daughter will turn 15. My kids will never be 11 and 14 again. I'll never be 40 again. I just wish there was a way to hold onto time a little tighter, to slow it down just a bit, or to go back in time and really pay attention to my relative who gave me the well meaning lecture on the passing of time. But even if we do savor every single moment, they still pass us by. We can't make time stand still and I certainly wouldn't want to. I just wish it would go a bit slower.
So, in honor of the birthdays of my children, I made a vow to myself to not write about them here anymore, unless it's to remark on a particular achievement of theirs. When I started this blog, they were little kids. They're not that anymore, and it's not right for me to put on display all those goofy stories where anyone can find them, even if by accident. What's in the archives stays in the archives, but putting a story on the front page about my son wearing a dress is no longer an option. They gave me four years of blogging fodder, four years of things that are funny when you're eight, but embarrassing when you're twelve.
They were just little kids when I started this. A lot can happen in four years, and it happens with a woosh.
In the midst of my mid life crisis, I'd like to offer this piece of advice to those of you with small children:
Savor your time with your kid. It goes so fast. One day they're in diapers, the next they're in high school. And you'll have no idea where that time went.
Melodramatic, but true.