The lasts are heaping on top of one another like a pile of papers on the corner of the desk. Just a few months ago, I drove my daughter to school, met her 2nd grade teacher and took a photograph outside of her classroom. Today she will come home in the afternoon as another year of school moves to the past tense.
All of life is like that, isn’t it?
This epiphany is one that I know, but I am unaware of its thrums in my day-to-day. This week, though, I sensed the texture of these lasts, more so than I did before. I spent the past weekend at my sister’s home in Texas, where we perused through several photographs for hours. In those pictures, there were shots of my mother giving me my first bath, a birthday party where my grandmother stood alongside me when I blew out the candles, and of all my personal adult milestones surfaced, like college and graduate school graduations, my induction into the Texas State Bar, and glimpses of my wedding day.
Some day my daughter will look at her pictures with the same earnest that I did this past Sunday afternoon. She will sit in the living room of her childhood home or her own house and flip through pictures of her past or move through a digital slide show of her milestone moments. Those two images collided in my head. When I looked at my mother and father in those early days with me, I realized that is exactly where I am, right now, in the throngs of motherhood, navigating my daughter’s upbringing, knowing that most of it falls to chance, luck, and intangibles we cannot quite identify.
I am in the middle of motherhood, yet there are days, when I might appear outwardly flippant about these “lasts” I witness in my daughter’s life. It hurts too much to acknowledge that she is not only growing taller everyday, but she is shooting out of the canon and the trajectory is one that is unstoppable. I stand on the ground, arms extended, but she moves forward. She will look back at me, but when it is a rumble she understands, it will be through a nostalgic viewpoint, much as I did this past weekend looking through the snapshots of moments I shared with my mother, father, and sister.
I spend so much time documenting all of these milestones in my personal writing space, scrapbooks, and photographs, but the stark reality is that I am helpless in trying to dismiss the beat of time. The minutes will tick. The hours will shuffle by, much like the clock profiled in videos that move in a super fast momentum. Just like from this moment, as I type, we will fast forward to 20 years from now. I can throw myself into the now, but it is still does feel like enough. There is always an impending feeling that as soon as I inhale a particular moment, just as I exhale, it disappears.
All of life is like that, isn’t it?
I understand that flippant feeling about the passage of time. Even though time keeps passing and things keep changing, I can’t get over feeling like the way things are right now is the way they will always be. I think part of it is that I don’t feel like I’m aging (although everything and everyone around me seems to be on warp speed.)
I like what you say about time. It is hard to immerse yourself in thinking about an alternative reality when you are so focused on what is happening now. I’ve felt time slipping away especially after my father’s passing and watching my daughter grow up.
Rudri, for me it’s like we (meaning a lot of people) feel we are the one constant in a world of change. The more I try to stop all that change around me the farther behind I get. The scrapbooking, the photos, the videos, and yes, even the writing . . . .
Writing and photography represent my coping process in trying to get a handle on managing time. I am not certain, though, how much of it is actually working to ease the pain of time passing.
It seems time is always leading the way with us dragging on its coattails screaming for more of it. We can’t stop it, but we can learn to enjoy it while we have it (though that doesn’t dismiss the bittersweet of it as we watch it escape through our hands into memory).
Bittersweet is the exact definition I would use to describe the passage of the time. Be here now is probably the best way to soften the edges of time’s passage.
Beautiful Rudri – it sure is.. My son is going to be in the 2nd grade later this year and it is mini panic attacks at the realization that as he gets older he’ll need me less, esp as a boy. My time feels limited but you can’t stop it. They’re precious indeed and it’s nice to enjoy it every chance we get. Have a great one Rudri!! -Iva
Time is so limited. We have to capture the now (although this is much harder in practice). Everyday, though, I am learning.
I was in a short conversation this morning with 2 women – one a brand new mother with an 8-month-old and the other a veteran mother of 2 men about to turn 40. She told us to enjoy this time while we can. It surprised me to hear the advice directed at me, because lost in my own world I keep thinking I have an older child. But from this mother’s perspective he’s still a baby. And he’s still home with me. I can’t even imagine him being almost 40; I hope I’ll still be alive and healthy when he gets to that age.
Thinking about time passing scares me. I wonder if there is some way we can look at it differently, and not associate it with loss. I want to look forward, not fear or dread…
Congratulations on your daughter finishing second grade! I do know what a bittersweet feeling that is…
The thought of my daughter turning 40 creates a happysad image in my mind. I, like you, hope she is lucky enough to enjoy good health and a lovely life.
Rethinking time in another way is quite a challenge for me. Much of time’s passage is painful and I started to realize that as I took a looked back at so many of my moments with my parents and sister when I shuffled through photographs this past weekend.
Thanks for the wishes, Cecilia!
I remember going through so many lasts as a kid. I guess I still go through them! And watching them with my kids is so much harder for me. I will cry more at my daughter’s preschool graduation than I did at my own college one. I’m sure of it!
I never thought of lasts as an adult. Tamera, that is a testament to your ability to still capture wonder.
Preschool graduation is hard. I still remember my daughter’ s as if it happened a few days ago. Sending (hugs).
Yes, all of life is like that, but somehow we never do get used to saying goodbye to all those great moments that we wish would last forever…I can so relate to this! In some ways I wish my children would be grown up already, but in so many other ways, I wish they would stay little forever. Great post.