So, I’m feeling melancholy today with all the back to school craziness, and this post doesn’t have anything at all to do with writing or my books. It has to do with life. And how it passes with increasing speed each year.
One of my favorite quotes is from Robert Frost: “In three words, I can sum up everything I know about life: It goes on.” How true is that? Loved ones die? Life goes on. Disaster? Heartache? Life goes on.
But I think sometimes we forget that on a daily basis…. as we scramble to get up at 6am and get our kids ready for school on time, as we scurry to pick them up and shuttle them to practices and rehearsals and games. Life goes on, every second— and every second is one you’ll never get back.
My daughter Bella started middle school this year. Middle School!!! A minute ago, she was two years old and my shadow. She wanted to be with me all the time, and was the sweetest thing in the world. I called her Ellie-Bellie and she was scared of monsters under her bed. And now. Middle school. She doesn’t want to hold my hand anymore or let me do her hair. (But she’s still scared of monsters under her bed…)
My son Tristan is 16. When he was born, he was 6 lbs and 20 inches long. Now, he’s 6’3″ and 210 lbs. And he’s not done growing. I used to call him Tristie, and he collected bugs in his little bug box and liked to feed the ducks. He was also scared of monsters, so my husband used to search them out before bed with his cell phone as his “monster detector.” Now, Tristan is a Tight End on his football team and is stronger than I ever thought about being. Seriously. He can easily beat me arm wrestling with one hand, while I use two. He’s no longer scared of monsters. In fact, when we watch horror movies, he laughs while I look at the screen through my fingers.
He’s funny- and makes me laugh on a daily basis… and I’m always wondering… when the heck did he grow up so much?
Tristan (and me) then:
OMG, I love my kids. I love all the stages, even the moody ones. I love how they change every day. I love looking at my daughter and seeing how pretty and smart she is, and thinking, OMG, I MADE that. And looking UP at my son, and watching how strong and fast and funny he is, and thinking I MADE that. It’s a miracle and a blessing and they’re mine.
But life goes on.
And every day that passes is one closer to the day that they’ll each leave my house. They’ll go to college where instead of eating food cooked by me, food that I know is organic and nutritious, and they’ll grab trays and eat in a cafeteria or pop popcorn in their dorm microwave. They’ll do things everyday that I won’t be there to hear about, except for over the phone.
Sometimes it makes me sad and panicky, but above all, it makes me proud. I’m growing them up to be strong and proud and independent. And while they’re mine, they’re also the world’s, and I have full confidence that they will CHANGE the world. I don’t know what they’ll grow up to be. A brain surgeon? A Navy Seal? An Ambassador?
All I know is…. I’m doing my best to raise them right. To teach them right from wrong. To teach them to cook, and sew on a button, and stand up for themselves and be graceful and kind. And because of these things, they’ll grow up to change the world in some way. They’ll grow up to change THEIR world. I’m doing my best to team them not to let the world change THEM.
Gah. It makes my throat tighten up and my eyes water, and I’m not a crier. But our kids have that power over us. They truly are our hearts walking around outside of our bodies. And that’s fine. Someone’s gotta have my heart– it might as well be them.
My point here is…. we need to remember, in the middle of all of these busy, loud, giggling, hectic, chaotic days…. that life goes on. We’ve got to cherish each day… when we’re picking up their dirty clothes for the millionth time, or struggling to hear a phone call with them yelling in the background, or breaking your favorite vase during a rowdy game of indoor football, or muddy prints across your clean floor, or “Hey mom, I need six styrofoam cones for school tomorrow” when it’s 11pm the night before. During all of this, remember that life goes on.
So we meed to embrace today, and love it while it’s here. And don’t blink. If you do, you’ll miss something.