Back when my children were young and toddling about, when the days were long and filled with Cheerios, wooden trains and pacifiers, I would stand at my kitchen sink window wiping down a sticky high chair tray or filling a sippy cup, and lament that time was passing much too slowly.
“They’ll be grown before you know,” my mother would say when I would dial her up. Those conversations with her were a lifeline to the outside world, rare moments of adult conversation.
Somehow the long days grew short. Sun up, sun down, and now my daughter is scheduling her classes for high school next year. She brushes pink color on once-sticky cheeks and pulls her hair back in a messy bun before running off to school. The boy is up before me in the mornings, pulling on clothes (although they seldom match) for a few minutes of fun before the his school day begins.
Now I stand at the sink, scraping jelly from breakfast plates after the kids and my man have dashed off, and I wonder where those longs days have gone. January to June and on to December, and all in the blink of an eye.
Each spring I marvel at the hue of March leaves, a bright green that deepens then blazes with color before falling to the October ground. Summers that seemed like eternities in my childhood never seem long enough now, just one long sigh and they’re gone.
“What is the greatest surprise you have found about life?” a university student asked Billy Graham years ago. “The brevity of it,” he answered.
I know what he meant.
I stand at my sink watching the bluebird carry straw to the bird house to prepare a nest for the first brood of the year.
Tonight, when my kids have climbed into their beds and the house is finally still from the afternoon rush of dinner and homework and everyday chaos, I will sit down at their bedsides and ask about their days. I will be weary, as I am every night, with so many tasks left undone.
Still, I will make time for a few moments with these kids. They’ll be flying off so very soon.
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