It’s difficult to think of my husband as a grown man. When we met, he had blonde hair that was kind of long, big green eyes and was on the skinny side; he looked like a surfer and was oh, so cute. We were barely in our 20s and he was my boyfriend, not my manfriend. Now, my husband still has blonde hair – OK, with a little gray mixed in – he still has beautiful, big green eyes and he has added some nice muscle to that skinny body. He is still oh, so cute. But I don’t remember him turning in his boy badge for a man badge. He’s still the same guy I met 24 years ago. He looks a little different, but it seems that time has stood still for him.
When something gives, something takes, and while time has stood still for my husband, time has sped up for my son. In just four short years, my little boy will technically be a man. I’m catching my breath from saying that.
I savored the moments with my baby as best I could in anticipation of the time he would no longer fit on my lap or when his voice would change so much that I’d hardly recognize it on the phone. I dismissed all of the advice directing me to let go and make him be independent, even if he wasn’t ready. I knew back then that time was going to fly by, and I held my son a little closer every time an older parent reminded me of that rude fact. With all my might, I held on to our time.
But the time still slipped through my clutched fingers, and now I find myself fighting even harder to slow it down. I spent most of my summer waiting for the reality of my son starting high school to hit me, hard. At the same time, I braced myself with the understanding that my perception of life is up to me. If I could keep focused on each day’s words and moments, I could slow time a bit. If I really listen to my son talk instead of listening while reading mail or cleaning the kitchen, I could attach the inflections in his voice to the slight movements of his face. I could take note of the subtle changes instead of being shocked when they’d developed behind my back.
I’m glad to have stumbled on to this new way of thinking, now, when I still have another lifetime ahead of me. My son and my beautiful daughter, who I can’t even begin to think of as a woman, still have many phases to go through and will always need my husband and me. Maybe we can’t wipe their tears away in a rocking chair anymore, but we can soak it all in, even when they are just talking about their day.
Coincidentally, as I write, I am listening to Dave Matthews Band. My husband, my manly husband, and I have been fans since before our son was born. The song playing right now, “Everyday,” is one my son loved and sang when he was 2 years old. We have been taking our children to Dave concerts since they were toddlers, and when we saw the band again a few months ago, we were taken back through the years with every song.
I am thankful for the times I can watch my children sleep, or gaze out of the window at my husband in the garden, or dance with all three of them to Dave songs. The years are flying by, but I will do my best to observe with deliberation as my children grow into adults, by taking the time to focus every day.