Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tempus Fugit

Meggie remarked recently how time seems to speed up as we get older. I think it starts to race as soon as you have children! One minute they're babes in arms, and you're wondering who deemed you reliable enough to be entrusted with their safekeeping?? The next, they're off to school; then they're all gangly arms and endless legs, and you find yourself craning your neck to look up at them---you who used to think you were tall! Next thing you know, you're holding back tears at graduations and weddings.... Tears of joy? Tears of sorrow?

This was what it was all about, you remind yourself. The object of the exercise was to make yourself redundant, to equip them to carry on without you, into the future, that land to which you cannot go. Lucky if you can accompany them a few miles along the road. So, why so mopey? Don't like not being needed so much? Don't like what you see in the mirror? Who is that old crone anyway? And why is she looking back at you so impertinently, with no apologies for the ravages of the years? As much as I like the sun, I could delude myself much more successfully if I could live the rest of my life by candlelight!

They move away from you and become independent, which is how it should be. Still, though you know it means the universe is unfolding just the way it was intended to, it makes you sad, along with the glad.

But then they have children of their own, and those sweet babies lead your children right back to you. The circle of life.

I'm home from my travels, pinching myself, and wondering, was I really there for two whole weeks?

Daughter Dear drove me to the airport, between Kindergarten pick-up time and afternoon soccer practice. She joked about making me walk there, not wanting to aid and abet my leaving...... But, "life goes not backward 'nor tarries with yesterday....." and I'm sure the waters closed seamlessly over the space I occupied there for a while. Next time I see those little

ball players ["I'm open Ginny!"],

counters ["I can count to a hundwed!"],

"spellers ["I know what begins with football---"F"!]

they'll be a couple inches taller, and I'll be another bit older.

There's something bittersweet about seeing our children as parents. To see in them that fierce love and protectiveness we all felt for our babies. Each life has its portion of happiness and sorrow. And time continues its inexorable march, with or without us. I sometimes wonder what God was thinking, to let my Dad die at the age of fifty seven, when my firstborn was merely a toddler. He would have been a great Grandpa.......

It seems such a waste somehow, for us not to live down the road from our children and their children, or in the next village, or at least the next county, or failing that, in a state adjacent to theirs.....So we could have Sunday dinner together, and see them for Christmas, and birthdays, and all the little occasions that families should share, without it becoming a nightmare of planning and co-ordination, and intergalactic travel!

I have the time now.

I could babysit.

I could read stories.

And bake cookies.

And throw footballs!

Regularly, instead of squeezing it all into a few weeks....

But then I pause, and am glad that our grandchildren are fortunate enough to have parents who love and care for them, watch out for their physical safety, and mental and spiritual well being. It is not so for all children, as I was heart-breakingly reminded when I visited Suburbia for the first time today. Life could be, and is for some, really harsh. And even though time flies, so can I.

I think I'll go curl up somewhere quiet now and count my blessings.


Birdydownunder said...

Molly dear to everything there is a season.....
I too am proud that I raised three offspring who are now out there trying to make the world a better place.

StitchinByTheLake said...

You said this beautifully Molly. Sometimes I long to have them back again but most of the time I'm glad they are where they are and who they are today. blessings, marlene

Tanya Brown said...

Sigh. Well said.

May I live long enough to see grandchildren.

Stomper Girl said...

As a child I lived 8 hours drive from my grandparents and most of my aunts and uncles. We didn't see them as much as my other cousins did, maybe once or twice a year, but it was always so special being with them and even though it been years since they died I can still hear how their voices sounded in my head. I guess I'm just saying this to highlight that even though you don't see yours as much as you'd like they love you just as much as you love them!

My heart bleeds for children who don't have loving families and homes.

Suburbia said...

What a lovely post. I love the way you write.
I am lost in that gap at the moment between babyhood and teens. You are so right, the time flies by so quickly, school timetable runs our lives and the way each term is divided marks time in a way that a pre children life lacked.
I so enjoyed reading this.
Which part of Bristol is your son living in?

Margaret Cloud said...

Well, you know the old saying "time and tide waits for no man", I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that growing up. You did a very nice post, please do come on over to my blog.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Such a beautiful post, Molly.

I always believed that it was as important to instill independence in my children as to shower them with love, and I raised my own best friends. I am also so very proud of all they have become, but sometimes I still miss the babies and children they were. In a small corner of my heart, I am waiting quietly for them to give up this adult nonsense and come home to Mommy.

I'm glad your visit was such a delight for everyone. The geography may not be ideal, but it's wonderful that you are able to spend time with your children and their children. You are continuing to build lovely memories for all of you.

Pauline said...

what a delicious post! I too wish my children and grandchildren lived closer so I could run over when Sophia (she's 7) called in tears and wanted me, or when Jameson (he's five) called to ask me to come play the drums with him. I loved your idea of a circle as your grandchildren bring your children back to you - such a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.

Anonymous said...

This was so well said, Molly. I cannot help but think somedays, where is my peace? But i know it will come all too soon...

meggie said...

Ah Molly, such a sweet post.
We cry at their leaving, knowing it is right. We watch their flights, & we rejoice at our Grandbabies.
Life is Bittersweet from beginning to end.

Lindi said...

Such wise words, beautifully written.
I was totally lost in thoughts of life and death and the dash in between.

Anonymous said...

I work so hard to be that mum who you don't mind having a part of your life. It is a difficult task and may not yet pay dividends, but I just hope they still want to talk to me as they move on in life. It is such a quandry to want them to go and have successful lives, but also to want them to invite you into it.

raining sheep said...

Those are such wise sentiments...I have no grandchildren...yet but I have grown children and I don't know where the years went or how I got to where I am...and there is still a significant journey to undertake :)

riseoutofme said...

God be with the days when I'd be first to comment!

Everyone else has said all that needs to be said.

You did good girl!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


You made me bawl like a baby.

Pardon me, I have to go powder my nose.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

PS~ You have to go visit Suburbia pretty often, she's fantastic, like you.

S & V

Kacey said...

Oh Molly, My babies are 48, 49 and 51 and I still misss them when we are in Florida for the winter. The grands are from 17 to 27 and I miss them, too. Life just keeps flowing past your door and we must grab what we can, when we can. I have to laugh at my husband when he calls one in Ohio and questions them as to when they are coming for a visit. We just had lunch with all three families two weeks ago and then left for Ft. Myers and he misses them already. I dreamt last night that I was still working in Maternity and holding a newborn.... must be time for some great grands!

Thimbleanna said...

Molly dearest, I've missed your beautiful posts. You know, there are advantages to being far away -- it makes those times together all the more sweet and they're never taken for granted. We lived far away from my parents when the kids were young and when we would visit each other, our time was entirely devoted to the visit. We always dreamed of living in the same town. Now we do, and while it's nice not to have to travel, it's different. We squeak out time together from the everyday and there are no longer weeks just devoted to each other. I love it this way, but do miss the other way too!

And may I say what a brilliant Sherlock you are!!!