Another year is marked by just a day. A day to remember when we are placed here on this Earth. It is remembered (by less and less people the more years that go by) by phone calls, social network posts, texts, gifts, hugs, a cake...
The 20's are behind me now. And all the wanting to "see what is next" seems to be replaced by a desire to stall the things that approach. To slow down the years so that I can savor the time that seems to pass every increasingly quickly, pushing us on to the things that we aren't quite so anxious to see. The gray hairs, the lines that start to form on our bodies. The age spot on the left temple that sends pangs of regrets about carefree days by a pool or in a tanning bed. The excitement of seeing my children learn to walk and talk is replaced by anxiety over exactly how to handle things like driving and dating which are now closer in proximity of time than the sleepless nights of infancy and learning ABCs. Nursery rhymes are being replaced by serious talks about life. Preparation about how to handle sex, drugs, religion, friends, hormones. (Granted, I started parenting earlier than some! So, I am doing nursery rhymes AND the birds and the bees right now!)
I watched some home videos the other day. I saw images of my baby sister's first steps, me and my brother eating cereal before school. I saw my parents at the age I am at now, with camera in hand, trying to capture it all. Suddenly hit with the realization of how quickly it was starting to pass them by! I heard my late grandmother laughing at a baby - the way I so desperately wished I could have heard her cackle at my youngest who she missed meeting by just two months. A million times I've imagined how she'd sound when she saw her fiery red hair. Hearing it in stereo, and watching it on the screen brought tears to my eyes and deep longing to my heart.
Sometimes I feel like I should still be about 18 years old. Could it really have been 14 years since I left high school? But, on the other hand, I realize when I'm toward the end of my life, fourteen years will seem less like half a life away and more like just a "drop in the bucket." And I'll feel like I should still be 32 watching my children run in the yard instead of my great grandchildren. (God willing) It is true that time is a thief. So much has it stolen already from me. Love, memories, people, skin elasticity... Yet, so much has it given. Children, new love, new people, wisdom, joy, stability. Eventually, the one age spot will be joined by many. Gravity will continue to pull at everything and part of me will wish for the age I'm at now. When my bones ache and my heart has weathered so much more of the things that time will steal, I'll think about this time in my life longingly, I'm sure of it. But I will also cherish all the other things that time will bring to me.
And, forever, I will thank the Lord for the blessings he doles out on me so bountifully. For every year he allows me here to do his work. But, most importantly, for the knowledge that while this seems like so much - this time we spend here - I'm promised an eternity that will make 90 years here seem like a moment. In all my humanity, I will struggle to hold the moments. I will take pictures and write blogs and smell my children as I hold them, trying to etch things in my memory.
A bittersweet thing, a year. A mark of another accomplishment of time under our belts, a reminder of the things we said we'd do but didn't. Another 12 months of beautiful memories, of losses, of gains, of moments we will cherish. And moments we will never get back. Another reminder to spend our moments well. To make the moments count. Most importantly, a reminder to make our work here count when we are gone. The pictures we take are for those we'll someday leave behind. And, someday they will fade. But, the love we give, the love we take, the love we teach... That will live eternally.