Since the day Caleb was born, people have been telling me to hang on to each moment because time flies. This was the first I was hearing of this ‘time flying’ phenomenon. As kids, we tend to look ahead, anticipating each exciting milestone. And whenever you are waiting, time seems to act more like a slow moving turtle; no flying involved.
Can’t wait till I can start kindergarten.
Can’t wait till it’s summer vacation.
Can’t wait till Mom says I’m old enough to get my own iPod.
Can’t wait till I’m 16 and I can drive.
Can’t wait till I can head off to college.
Can’t wait to get a real job and put into practice what I’ve been learning.
Can’t wait to marry my sweetheart and start a life together.
Days Whirling By
So when I was walking around with spit up on my t-shirt and a teething, slobbering baby crying in my ear, I didn’t give much attention to the well-meaning advice of those people patting me on the shoulder. Experience had taught me all I needed to know and I was pretty sure I was going to be ‘stuck’ wiping snotty noses and cleaning up spilt milk for a long, loooong, looooooooong time.
But the oddest thing happened only a year or two into parenthood. The earth began to rotate faster! I swear it did! I know God can move mountains but I never expected Him to make a change like that! Oh sure, it wasn’t every day. Some days dragged on and I was checking out the window every five minutes to see if Daddy was home yet. But the vast majority of the days were a whirlwind and I quickly found myself thinking, “Whoa, Christmas is here again?! Another year has gone by?!”
Blink again and…
And low and behold, in the blink of an eye, I was bringing Caleb to his first day of kindergarten. Blink a few more times and he was starting middle school. Blink again and he’s in grade 12.
And last week as I watched my son play volleyball for the last time in his Knights uniform, I found myself blinking again. But this time, the blinking was just a vain attempt to keep the tears from falling on the bleachers. I had been warned. But all the advice in the world could not have prepared me for the unrelenting forward march of time. Experience is my best teacher.
So this morning, I sit and contemplate. If I knew then what I know now, would I have done it differently? Did I hang on to every moment? I loved the chubby arm hugs from toddlers, baking with my preschoolers, the tea times after school with the kids and the family evenings together when even the teenager is home.
But sometimes fussy babies, wiping snotty noses and cleaning up spilt milk is lousy. Sometimes disciplining your children’s disobedience for the tenth time that day stinks. Sometimes spending all your afterschool time with your kids doing homework is no fun. Sometimes making the hard choice to tell your teenager that they can’t hang out with their friends makes you very unpopular. Not every moment is one I want to cherish.
The good, the bad, and the flu
This is life. And so there I sat, watching Caleb play his last volleyball game. As the tears pooled in my eyes, I realized they weren’t out of sadness. I was watching my son who only hours before had been in a hospital bed due to the violent flu he’d come down with during the night. I was filled with joy that he was on his feet and amazingly enough, on the court. He gave everything he had with his teammates that final game, despite being white as a sheet. And my heart was full, so full that a few tears couldn’t help but leak out. It wasn’t anything like I pictured his final game of volleyball would be after 7 years of cheering him on. They didn’t win and we practically had to carry him out to the car after the game, but this is life. The good, the bad and the ugly, and let me just say, that flu was UGLY! But I can’t choose to only celebrate and cherish the good. It’s all mixed in with the bad and the ugly and as I discovered again that night, the good is so much sweeter because of it.
So I’ll thank God for the good stuff and ask Him for wisdom and patience for the hard stuff. I’ll take pleasure in the celebrations and thrills of Caleb’s grade 12 year while feeling a little sad over some of the “lasts.”
The earth keeps on rotating, fast or slow. My first twenty years may have gone by slower than the second twenty but, then again, go ask my mom and dad. I have a sneaking suspicion they may feel differently about those first twenty than I do.