Where did the time go…and why isn’t my child keeping up?
Years (and years) ago, I was pregnant with my first child at the same time an actress on a popular soap opera was also pregnant. We delivered the same week, both having healthy boys. When I was getting ready for my five-year-old son to enter kindergarten, her son had long graduated college and was a successful, handsome, physician.
TV aging gives new meaning to the term “fast forward.” Child actors, especially, grow up quickly. Even though my children were not onscreen, the years we had together passed much too quickly.
Now, when they were young, it didn’t seem that way. Sometimes, I just wanted to get through whatever phase they were currently in. Then, the next one…
My grandmother told me I was wishing my life away. This unfamiliar concept became one I understood more clearly as the nest emptied. She rightly predicted I would miss the chaos of raising children.
Perhaps that is why many grandparents enjoy their role with more patience than they experienced raising their own children. Those who understand how truly rapid life passes begin to appreciate even the mundane in every day.
One of the lessons of COVID-19 has been the importance of relationships and time with loved ones. As a nurse, I understood the early strict lockdown guidelines and the request to avoid those not living in my household. As a grandparent, I hated it. We used apps like Marco Polo and Zoom to interact. Marco Polo allowed my children to record videos on their schedule and I could watch when we were available. Zoom was real-time. Neither replaced in person hugs.
We joked that the last “normal” day we saw the grandkids was around Friday the 13th of March. Do you remember that week? About a week earlier, the clocks moved back due to daylight savings time, we had a full moon, and then Friday the 13th. On Monday, the danger of COVID-19 was beginning to disrupt life as we knew it.
What we didn’t know was that we would not see our grandkids for several weeks. If we had, we would have hugged them longer the last time we did. I thought about when my children were small and living at home. I wish I had hugged them more. I wish my words would have been more encouraging. I wish I would have played more and worked less.
“Although time seems to fly by, it never travels faster than one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest.”-Dr. Steve Maraboli
Even if we regret not fully appreciating the early days, we cannot go back. All we have is today since we are not even promised tomorrow. “You don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes.” (James 4:14, CEB)
Depending on where you live, communities are in the process of opening up. Families are getting together again with various guidelines for keeping ourselves and others safe.
Don’t fall back into ignoring the magic offered for each day. May I pray like the psalmist “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NLT)