It Happens in a Blink

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One morning I spied my son sitting on one of the kitchen chairs, his toes easily touching the floor. I stopped and stared. Something about his posture and those long, lean legs … for a moment, backlit by the morning sun, my eight-year-old boy looked like a teenager. Now, I was a little groggy, which may have added to the effect, but the thought of him that much older made my heart gasp. I didn’t mention it to him at the time. I just moseyed across the room to make my pot of tea. But later in the day, while visiting the library, we stepped into the elevator and I told him. “This morning when I saw you sitting at the kitchen table, I thought, ‘Wow, he looks like a teenager.’” He laughed. I continued, “I feel like I’m just going to *blink* and you’ll be all grown up.” I squeezed my eyes shut and popped them open wide for dramatic effect. He giggled. Goofy mom.

I squinted, as if evaluating him. “Let me see…hmm…no, thankfully I was mistaken. You’re not a teen.” I exhaled. “What a relief! You’re still a little boy!” He laughed some more. I leaned in and whispered, “I’m not ready for you to be a teenager.” He leaned forward and admitted, “I’m not ready to be a teenager, either.” So, good. We have time. But as we exited the elevator, I knew the truth. It does happen in a blink. There’s no stopping it. The soft blond hair has darkened. Legs will continue to lengthen and the torso will stretch tall. Pebble-sized baby teeth have already left gaps filled by enormous hunks of enamel. Two of my kids are already teens. It seems like just yesterday they were asking for sippy cups. What happened? I blinked and my eldest went from Chutes and Ladders to driver’s ed. The days fly by so quickly. Corinne of Trains, Tutus and Twizzlers wrote about life with her wee ones after a week of snow and indoor play:

Our days go by so quickly. One minute we’re fighting off walking alarms clothed in warm fleecy pajamas, the next they’re snuggling with blankies and loving on tattered elephants. We sit, we play, we laugh and love. Our days are slow in the moments, fast in the hours. I breathe, taking the long moments as they come. Moments filled with toddler anguish, one year olds coloring off white couches with purple dry erase markers, snack bowls and emails. Hours of play. Hours of laundry. Seconds that stop me in my tracks, with the surprise of a lingering sweetness in the back of my mouth from licorice tea...

She knows how to slow, how to take it in, how to linger in the moment. She pauses to ponder, listen, watch, feel and even taste the sweetness of life as it is for that moment. Even Sarah at Blessed Like Winged Horses, as she anticipates the arrival of her first child, embraces the gift of slowness, enjoying the moments that are hers for now. She writes:

Breath by breath, beat by beat, I come to rest in the quiet. There's space for me, here. It won't last. Slowness like this almost never does. In our crazy world, getting to move slowly is a luxury and, like most luxuries, comes in seasons. This particular season will be ended by the squalling arrival of the little one, one who already interrupts and whose interruptions are usually welcome. Since I can't exactly stuff her back inside once she's out (and wouldn't ever choose to!) I'll emerge from my slowness to do what needs to be done…

The work of parenting—and preparing for parenting—takes attention that can leave us feeling rushed and distracted. Each day we do what needs to be done. Maybe we can rest or try to reflect. But we can't slow down the reality of change and growth. Still, in the midst of parenting, can we slow down ourselves to take in a given moment? How do you slow yourself to take it all in?

Read "These moments, these hours," by Corinne of Trains, Tutus and Twizzlers. Read "Slowing," by Sarah of Blessings Like Winged Horses.

Post written by Ann Kroeker of and Not So Fast. Photo by KellyLangner Sauer of {this} restless heart. Used with permission.