Sunday, August 7, 2011
Let's Do the Time Warp Again
It has been a while since I attended a birthday party for a one-year old. This one made me feel like I fell into a crack in the space-time continuum. At one point I turned to my husband and said, "you know how we say we're turning into our parents? Well, today I feel like we're turning into our grandparents."
I know that time speeds up as we get older. It seemed to take forever for me to become a teenager, but then once I became (nominally) an adult, 35 years passed in the blink of an eye.
At the same time that we were here in Florida, snapping pictures of my cousin's grandson happily eating birthday cake, my Number One Niece was in New York, being surprised by a baby shower in her honor. Number Two Niece, who had driven from New Jersey to be there, has already texted me a picture of the two of them together. Beautiful!
I'm finding it tough to write about, because I find I am humbled by Life. It just keeps rolling along, regardless of how bad the economy is, or who is the current President, or how many wars are raging somewhere out there. People have children, their children grow up and then they have children. It sounds so simple, but it is really so complex. The past playfully intrudes upon the present. Memories of similar events superimpose themselves. When I look at baby Jake walking around with the wide-legged, belly-first gait of a brand-new walker, I see his mother Stephanie at the same age, and then I see her older brother Peter, my godson, star of stage, screen and soon-to-be television, watching me as I help my own son open his first birthday presents. Memory time slips back and forth in no particular order, leaving me breathless with joy and sorrow.
I had always planned on aging gracefully, accepting and enjoying this time in my life. Some days, though, I find this stage of my life even more difficult than adolescence, without the excuse of raging hormones.
When you know someone from before they were born - never mind the internal illogic of that statement - it is hard to see them as anything but extensions of their parents. They are, after all, our children and we define them as much as they define us. When they become the self-sufficient individuals we want them to be, we become ... what?
No idea. I'm still working on it.