I have friends who swear their bodies are the clearest indicator of the passage of time.
Granted, every time I bend my knees, they crack and creak. Every day when I look in the mirror, I see another wrinkle on my face. And every effort to read small type has become an exercise in futility.
But my aging body isn’t what really makes me feel the passage of time.
That comes with watching my children grow up.
Last Friday, my youngest turned 13. The night before Kendall’s birthday, I walked into the family room as she and her father were looking at her baby book. She was laughing at the funny stories I had documented in the pages and was looking at photos taken on her fourth birthday. In one picture, she was smiling at the camera while her friend Joey had his arm slung around her shoulder as he gazed at her.
“Oh yes, Joey,” I said looking over Kendall’s shoulder at the book. “He told us he was going to marry you.”
Kendall rolled her eyes and continued to flip through the pages of her baby book while her father and I looked at each other.
That photo had been taken nine years earlier, but Giles and I felt as though we had been joking about Joey’s intentions only yesterday. To Kendall, Joey is a distant, if non-existent, memory. My perspective of time appears to be out of whack.
For example, at church on Sunday I was talking to a woman whose daughter just started high school – at least in my mind she had just started high school. But when I asked how she was doing, her mother reminded me that she is a senior in college. I couldn’t believe that many years had passed, and I thought about how college is just around the corner for my son, a high school junior.
Even though Giles and I have been making payments on Shepherd’s pre-paid college plan since he was born, I’m having a difficult time realizing that the time to make use of that fund is almost here.
I was holding a newborn in my arms the day we bought the plan. At that time, my son’s college education was only a vague concept for the distant future when I would be a worn-out middle-aged woman.
I like to think the years were too short for me to be that old and worn out. They did, after all, go much more quickly than when I was a child and summers went on forever and Christmas seemed as though it would never arrive.
I’ve come to recognize the days will continue to grow shorter and the years will continue to fly by. I’ve also come to recognize that even though there is nothing I can do to slow time down, there is a great deal I can do to ensure I treasure every minute of it.