Things About Time

"The trouble is, you think you have time..." 


Once, they were all baby monsters...

It's not just that I am T-minus four minutes from being forty. OK, maybe it is mostly that. But I can't shake this sense of time lately. How brief it is. How fast it goes. How quickly it's over. Even the hard times. Tomorrow I get to go watch one of 'my kids' graduate. He isn't really mine but I can claim him by the amount of cookies and English homework we have done together. He's all grown up and graduating now. I remember when he was born. I remember when he was shorter than me. I remember when he was a gangly, awkward 6th grader and not a 6'4" MVP All-Star everything. I remember shaking my head and wondering how "Spock" and his pragmatic look at life would ever survive the real world. But here he is, practicing his Valedictorian speech for me and eating my Jelly Beans, just like he was still 14. Tomorrow I will cry.

It's not as noticeable with my own kids, maybe, because there they are, Every Single Day, getting older and bigger and smarter and more beautiful so INMYFACE that I can't even see it. But with this one, the leaps and spurts and bounds over the very short 18 years of his life have sped by like his breakaway on the basketball court.

Time is funny that way. The time that is happening to us is so much less noticeable than the time that is happening around us. I don't see the gradual changes in my old Truck Hound, but when the girls come back to visit they are shocked by how crusty he's gotten. It's part of life. The gradual changes that sweep from the lows of pooping our pants and the slobbering incoherence of infancy to the highs of valedictorian, MVP and Taking Over The World, and then back down again to the slobbering incoherence of senility. It's the time that makes us ready for the next step. The discomfort of time makes us eager for the changes, but its comfortable rhythms create fear of the unknown beyond. These high school graduates, with every choice and every chance and every hope and every fear are all of us in every moment, it's just never so crystal clear as when they are standing nervously on a paper-covered stage with their mortarboards at an awkward tilt, wondering if they have the tassels and cords on the right way, balancing on the precipice of Real Life.

Some days, like All of The Ones before I turn forty, I want desperately to stop the passing of time with a big emergency brake, screeching my disapproval across the runway of life in big black rubber marks. Other days, I can't WAIT to get to the next moment, because surely it holds more promise than the last one (except maybe when I turn forty). Time is scary. But Scary is exciting, if you have things to believe in. And we all do. Especially all of you under-forties tottering on the brink of forever and hope. Go get it, while you still have time.

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