Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When Time Flies

My family, almost ten years ago
Babies and young adults
Things have changed

Facebooks “Memories” showed me a picture of five-year-old Jacob. Even in a baseball uniform, there was still a bit of baby about him. Today he’s ten, and the man he will be is showing. How did that happen?

My children are all in their forties, easing into middle age, and one is crowding fifty. Yesterday, you understand, they were carefree teenagers, and the day before that, youngsters noisily playing outside. Today they’re responsible citizens with good careers and families, raising their children much in the same mode as their childhood.

And the grandchildren? They’re still babies, except that one of those babies is going off to college in the fall and the youngest will be nine in a couple of weeks. The cuddly baby days are gone, and much as I love today’s grands, I miss those earlier days.

My brother is eighty-five, and I am edging up on eighty, the little old lady in a walker. Not at all how I picture myself even today. They say each of us has an age which is perpetually where we are mentally and emotionally. Mine is mid-thirties, with young children, even toddlers—the happiest days of my life except maybe for now. Once I told my youngest son I didn’t feel any different than the coeds on the TCU campus. It sent him into wild hysterics, and he immediately quoted me to his siblings.

Some days and weeks, when work is hard, seem to go so slowly they’ll never end. I’m a clock watcher, and of a morning I’ll look at the clock and think, “Only ten. Two hours until lunch. Why is time crawling?” And yet as we all know, time doesn’t crawl—it flies. To quote Andrew Marvell, “But at my back I always hear/Times winged chariot hurrying near.”

Marvell’s poetry also emphasized the philosophy of carpe diem. I’m taking that as my mantra—“Seize the day!” Too much of my life has been wished away, watching the clock, anticipating the next big event. I’m trying these days to savor each moment…and appreciate each stage in the life of loved ones, to soak in their love and return it fully.

This morning I had another lesson walking with a cane. Very deliberately, I slowed down my usual fast pace. Guess what? I did much better, and I wasn’t nearly as afraid. For the first time I could see that I can conquer this too. Believe it or not, it’s all related to carpe diem.

And a p.s. to Amy Russell: thanks for the lecture. It made a difference. If you think I can do it, so do I.


Becky Michael said...

Beautiful family and wonderful words of wisdom, Judy!

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Becky. This is one of those pieces that wrote itself, coming from deep feelings I've harbored for a long time.