Yesterday was our last teacher workday. My school year is officially over. For the last couple weeks, I've been hearing all sorts of students and parents and staff members saying things like, "Can you believe the year is over already? It went so fast! It feels like just yesterday was September. Doesn't it feel like just yesterday was September?"
And I have to say -- no. Not at all.
I don't often have that sensation that so many people speak of that time is passing so quickly. And I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
I can't say that it seems like yesterday when my kids were tiny. No, it seems like ten or fifteen years ago -- which it was.
I don't honestly feel like I should be twenty-five years old. Or thirty. No, I feel like I should be about forty-six -- which I am. Now, I don't feel like I should be as fat and tired as I am at forty-six, but that's a different issue. I DO feel like I should be as old as I am. I've done a lot of living. (And I hope I have a lot more living to do.)
I believe I commented last year on my 25th wedding anniversary that I feel like I've been married 25 years. A full 25. No more, no less. (Well, by now it's almost 26.)
And I don't think this school year has gone by quickly. It feels like it took about nine months. Just right.
I suppose I should feel grateful that it doesn't seems like the year took a decade. Or should I? That remark would have the connotation that it dragged . . . that it was boring, or miserable, or difficult . . . but it doesn't necessarily have to mean that, does it? We say, "This was a long day," and we are usually implying that it was a difficult one as well. But I've had many "long days" that were actually quite enjoyable. And shouldn't I be grateful for God packing as much joy and experience into a day as possible? Or into a school year? Or a lifetime?
When I have friends lamenting how fast time is going, or how quickly their kids are growing up, or how they can't be as old as they really are, part of me feels sad for them. I mean, truth is, a lot of people just say that as small talk; it's kind of The Thing To Say in certain situations. But if they really feel like the time has passed that quickly, that's a shame. It almost seems to imply to me that they haven't really savored it as they experienced it.
One of the best pieces of parenting advice I got when my girls were babies was to enjoy the moment. "Don't spend all your time thinking that you can't wait until they're sleeping through the night -- or until they're out of diapers -- or until they're in school -- or until this or that. There are challenges at every age and in every developmental stage, but there are also wonderful blessings. If you waste your time longing for the blessings of the next stage, you miss all the blessings of this one."
I think I have followed that advice, for the most part. I'm sure there were days when the girls were tiny that I forgot to look for the blessings (mothering, honestly, doesn't come naturally to me, I don't think; I struggled a lot in those younger years). But I feel like I lived every year of my life and experienced everything God put in my path to experience. I don't want to go back. I want to go forward.
And speaking of going forward, I'm already planning lessons for next year in my head at night. I'm a freak like that.