Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How did that happen?

We focus a lot on small children on the blog, but I do recognize that many of you have older children who are nearing college age. Do you ever stop to think, How did that happen? How did those little rugrats who drove you crazy with their endless questions, spilled milk, temper tantrums and bedtime stalling, suddenly grow up into young men and women who are scheduling their SAT dates? I mean, seriously? It's hard to remember those days when you wanted to pull your hair out, isn't it? Now,  you look back with such fondness, remembering the peanut butter and jelly smiles, handmade cards, the smell of freshly washed hair as you wrapped your little one in a towel, and the hugs ... oh, the hugs! You miss those days, don't you? I know I do, sometimes. Of course, I'm reliving a lot of those days with my grandchildren, but still ...

It goes by so fast. Many of us wish away our lives, always wanting time to speed up so we can go on our next vacation, get our paycheck, hit the weekend sales at the mall ... whatever. It's sad that we wish away time that way. Eventually, we get to the point where we're trying to catch it as it breezes by.

On Sunday evening, my husband and I were playing Bananagrams and I suddenly started to cry.

"When did it happen?" I sobbed. "When did we get so old?"

"You're not old," Bill said, in a less than comforting tone. "I'm the one who's going to be 65 next month."

I cried harder. "I know," I said. "How did that happen?"

At this point, there was no way to comfort me. Time had gone too quickly. Our children grew up and moved away. Our bodies started that inevitable downward spiral that happens as we age. We can't do the things we used to do. And, regardless of how much time we have left, there simply isn't enough of it.

I cried and cried.

I wasn't always like this. While other moms cried as they sent their kids off to kindergarten, I was doing a little happy dance. While other parents grieved their loss as their kids moved out and they faced an empty nest, I celebrated the new independence. Well, for the most part. I did struggle quite a bit when the youngest one moved out, but that was because of the circumstances and not because her room was suddenly empty.

My kids' rooms did not remain a shrine to their memory. Instead, each room transformed into my office, which relocated three times in the course of the last 12 years or so.

But my husband's impending retirement brings with it a whole new set of emotions for me. Quite honestly, I hate the idea. I like our life as it is. I don't want any changes right now. And there is something about retirement that indicates a life winding down, and that scares me. Want to see me cry? Just start talking about it to me. The tears will come.

Maybe you're feeling some of the same emotions as you face a new phase in your life. Is your last child about to head to school next year? Is your oldest planning to leave for college? Let me tell you something: wherever you are in this journey we're all on, cherish the moments. Appreciate the phase. It won't last long. In the blink of an eye, you'll be moving on to the next phase.

Are you dealing with a rebellious teenager? Hang in there. Is your two-year-old more terrible than terrific? She'll be three soon. Has your marriage lost its splendor? Stick around. Life goes in cycles. Look at the seasons. For most of us, we generally prefer one or two over the others. And they come back each year. Marriage behaves in much the same way. Things cool down ... and then they heat up again. Life cycles. They are something we all have in common.

Grab onto today. Appreciate the precious gift before you. Tomorrow it will be gone.

Sharing my thoughts with you,



  1. What a perfect day for me to find your blog! Thanks for your true and inspiring words.

  2. You're most welcome, Michele. Thank you for finding me :) I hope you'll join our Facebook community where there's always a lively discussion going on!


Search This Blog