Time seems to pass in fits and starts for me. Sometimes it drags, like when the kids were babies.
I remember when the kids were newborn, under 2, 5 and 8. That year, Ann’s first year, it seemed time could not move any slower. Was that baby ever going to sleep longer than 2 hours at a time? Was Eve ever going to decide she didn’t need to sit on my lap every time I nursed Ann? Was Bob ever going to get that ‘a’ says aaa? And where’d Will go? He was the only kid not giving me trouble.
That year was a study in sleep deprivation on the harried brain. Every day, every minute seemed to drag on just like the one before. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my babies and sometimes fondly look back on those days, but I’d never had two babies before, Eve and Ann were just a year and a half apart. All the other kids had been 3 years apart and it was just downright hard. It didn’t help that Eve did not want to give up her position as baby to her little sister.
But the time did pass, in fact, it seemed to speed up. Now all of a sudden, I have a 17 year old man in my house. He makes many of his own decisions, he has his own social life, he has his own opinions, and his own plans. And he has long hair that I have no control over. (Okay, I know I do actually have control as long as he lives in my house, but hairstyle is not a hill I want to die on) He is starting at the community college on the 25th of August. My time to educate him is just about over. Where did the time go?
Next enter the 14 year old. He too is man sized coming in at just an inch shorter than his brother. He has a deep voice and very little need for his mama. He is a confident young man who can figure out most anything. His sense of direction is second to none. We got a bit lost in downtown Dallas the other day (darn all those one way streets!) and he noticed an obscure parking lot that he parked in when he went to a basketball game with a friend’s family 2 years ago. Once he saw that parking lot, he knew exactly how to get back to the highway! Amazing. Without him in the car I might still be driving in circles in downtown Dallas. Who is this confident, capable young man? Where did the time go?
Then there is Eve, she is only 11, but she looks much older. I don’t have to tell her to take a shower or brush her hair anymore; she actually cares what she looks like. A few nights ago she made dinner for the whole family on her own. It was quite tasty. She is often tinkering in the kitchen making cookies or brownies. She likes to keep her stuff just so and is very studious. What happened to the baby who didn’t want to share my lap with her new sister? Where did the time go?
But I still have my Ann. She is still a little girl. She likes to play with dolls, and be silly and sit on my lap. She likes to be tickled and lets me tuck her in at night. She still wants to hold my hand when we’re in a parking lot or crossing the street. She still lets me do her hair. I don’t know how it happened but somehow I have a house full of almost adults and only one child.
Somehow time sped up. And it’s still going by way too fast. I can see, right out there on the horizon, racing ever closer, the day when they will all be adults. They will all be on their own.
My life, 5 years ago, looked vastly different than my life now, and in 5 years from now it will look different again.
Where did the time go?