"Sunrise, sunset...sunrise, sunset...quickly fly the years." That line comes from the song "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. I sang it, along with my sister, at a friend's wedding many, many years ago. But today I'm remembering it because my son is soon going to be 18. I can't help thinking of the yesterdays when he was little...and we did a lot of complaining as parents, when we stepped on LEGO blocks or I had to clear Hot Wheels cars off my kitchen island yet AGAIN before I could cook.
I remember turning to my husband, at one point after a tirade about little toys under foot, and saying: "You know, one of these days we're going to miss these little cars." But even as I said it, I wasn't sure that day would ever come. And yet--mysteriously, it did.
Being the parent of one, I knew from the start that everything I did as a mom was for the last time. When I put away the crib, it was for the last time. When I gave that final little boy bath, it was for the last time. When I let him dress alone, helping him choose was for the last time. So knowing this, I haven't been completely caught off guard as my son grew up. And yet...there's no way to prepare for the last times of childhood.
It can be imagined, but never known until I look back one day and say to myself "Hmmm...he hasn't had his LEGOS out at all today." Then that day grows to several weeks and then months and then years.
Never is the bittersweet moments and milestones of being a mom ever more present than when childhood waves goodbye and goes out the door for the last time. I feel sad, and a bit glad, but mostly shocked that time has not warned me it was tick tick ticking away while I worked or cooked or cleaned or gardened. And there's no bargaining with time to bring back some of those days that seemed so routine, but have instead, been discovered too late, to be a treasure that was not even recognized in the moment.
Sigh. And that is why it is so much fun to think about being a grandmother someday. Then, I assure myself, I will fully recognize and acknowledge the unstoppable power of time. And I will sit and ponder and play with and treasure my grandkids. I will never again take time for granted for now I know how quickly childhood races into the future and disappears. And I will savor each minute.