Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Passing of Time

I'm attempting to write everyday in March.Today is 10/31

Today I was struck by the fleeting nature of time. As I get older, this feeling grows more and more pronounced. I think age is part of it, of course. I also think that teaching naturally lends itself to the awareness of time passing by. The fact that our job has a clear beginning and end each year is part of it. Also, we watch children grow. Living in a small town, this point is driven home on a daily basis. Just today I talked to Marcus at the grocery store, he was in my class twelve years ago. Heading to the middle school for Liam's band competition, I caught up with current and former students. Heading out for dinner with Chris, I had the chance to quickly say hello to Jack, a student from eight years ago, who was working as a host. I am surrounded by kids I knew when they were ten, but have long since passed those awkward pre-teen years. 
While my students remind me of how quickly time slips away, my boys did it in ways that took my breath away today. I began the day and ended it with Liam. He's twelve, almost thirteen. Today he had two different performances for the solo & ensemble contest. He and his friend did a snare duet first, quickly followed by the seventh grade percussion doing an ensemble piece. As I sat and watched, I remembered the three year old boy in preschool in our district. I remember getting a phone call because he cried every day for the first few weeks of school, only stopping when I read him The Kissing Hand and would draw a heart with a Sharpie so he'd have me close by all day long. I remember the email that said the day was a success, he hadn't cried, but his hand had been on his heart all day. I cried standing at my computer with my student, Nate. I explained to Nate about the book, that his hand had been to remind him of me. Nate, a fourth grader, simply patted my back as the tears rolled down. Liam barely even spoke in school for the first few years. Where did that kid go? Tonight he walked into a bar that Chris and I were at for dinner on his own so he could grab some cash and meet his friends uptown. When did he grow up?
And the middle of my day was spent with Luke - driving to Champaign, letting him drive me around to run errands, and letting him drive home. His first time driving on a highway, we talked about school, his friends, running, and he gave me his opinion on a few things I was struggling with, and his advice was sound. I talked to him about some issues I had recently with the way people talk about women and listening to him comment on the unfair standards women face, how bothered he was by things he's heard, my heart lifted. He gets it. On the way home I took a picture of his profile as he drove, pulling back some emotion as I realized how little time we have left until he moves on. 

Gracious, parenting is tough. While you're in the trenches, it seems to be going so slow, but then they grow wings and I long to pull them back. So, if you can indulge me, I pulled up some photos of my boys to add to this post. A kind-of placeholder of how I was feeling at this point when they were almost sixteen and almost thirteen. How has it gone so quickly? 

Man alive, I love teaching, but being a mom has been the best experience of my life. I cannot wait to see these two continue to grow, but if time could slow down just a bit, that would be great.