First of all, apologies for my lengthy absence. It seems writing a 200-page thesis has a way of forcing you to prioritize tasks, and in the grand scheme of things, blogging takes a back seat to far more critical activities like Brownie meetings and pre-school holiday parties. Particularly since I’ve been reminded recently, by multiple sources and in multiple ways, how fleeting life is and how fast children grow.
I read an article recently in Ladies Home Journal titled “The Long Good-Bye,” by Melissa T. Shultz. In it, the author details the rapid progression of her son’s life, from the newborn tucked against her chest, to the toddler cutting his first teeth, to the wobbly pre-schooler on his first two-wheeler, to the a teenager texting when he arrives at his destination. In her article, it all happens in the span of about a page and a half. “‘They grow up too soon,’ everyone told me. Eighteen years later, I finally understand what they meant.’”
The movie Toy Story 3 brings this point crashing home to me every time I see it. Watching it the other day with my son, I literally sobbed when Andy passed on his beloved toys to young Molly on his way to college. Because it’s true, they do grow up too fast. I can’t count how many people have said this to me since I had my daughter, but I can tell you it happens almost weekly. At first when I heard those words, I would smile and nod. Then I progressed to a, “Yeah, I know what you mean,” without really meaning it. Then when my little girl got on the bus for the first time in kindergarten, I finally started to understand, at least a little.
My daughter will turn eight at the end of January. Eight. How did that happen? Didn’t we just bring her home? Didn’t we dress her in little sundresses with the ruffles on the butt and sing along with Dora the Explorer only last week? When did she stop napping? And using a sippy? The little girl who used to scribble with crayons now sketches fashion designs at the kitchen table. The cute little munchkin with tiny ponytails on each side of her head that stuck out like Pippi Longstocking’s now wears lipgloss and fingernail polish. She’s graduated from Dumbo’s Flight to Star Tours, from craft projects to math tests, from Goodnight Moon to the Rainbow Fairies chapter book series.
And she will only get bigger. Before I know it, she’ll be a “tween,” more interested in electronics than toys, in primping than playing in the bath, in boys than in her momma. Sigh.
Sometimes I think we should concentrate our efforts on our little man instead. The girl is a lost cause. With him, we may still have time to stop this mad progression of growth. With enough coffee, we could stunt him to where he’ll stay my cute little snuggly bear forever and ever, hanging finger paint crafts on my fridge, singing his ABCs, and alerting me when things are “kistusting.”
But I know it’s a fantasy. He will grow, just as she is growing. It will happen quickly, in the blink of an eye. And one day we’ll drop them off at college and look back on it all as if it happened in a day, wondering where the time went.
And so today, instead of following my daily routine of looking forward – to how much time I’ll have to write when both kids are in school, to what colleges the kids might choose to attend, to where my husband and I will retire when our home is empty and our schedules free – I’m focusing on the abundant blessings that fill our lives now: the little man sucking on a broken pacifier while he naps; his big sis playing Barbies while watching the Nightmare Before Christmas with her uncle; my amazing husband of 15 years who is living this adventure with me. I’m savoring this day, this time of my life. And I will strive to do so every day, because this time will never come again, and I know I’ll miss it when it’s gone.