Getting older is something that happens to other people…
At least I always thought it was. I looked in the mirror this morning and saw a lot more white hair in my goatee than was there just a few short years ago. I keep it trimmed really short now because I have myself convinced it doesn’t look as white when it is cut super short. Sadly, the hair on my head is doing the same thing. I recognize my dark hairs are turning gray – somehow in my mind I think it should be the other way around. I notice wrinkles creeping in on the side of my eyes (I think they’re called crow’s feet – but I wouldn’t bet on it) 🙂
Now the funny thing is, I’m currently in the best “shape” I’ve been in in quite a few years. I weigh less than I did 15 years ago, I can still shoot hoops with my daughter, play soccer and ride bikes around the block with my boys. My boys are also still amazed at how big my muscles are and try to get me to flex for people they just met… not that I ever flex for my boys 😉 But that said, I have noticed my knees hurt more than they used to. My back hurts sometimes… I don’t hit a golf ball quite as far as I used to (but don’t kid yourself, I can still smoke it) 🙂
So why is this stuff on my mind today? If I would’ve thought about it yesterday morning, the same things would’ve been true… and the day before, and the day before that, etc… I guess a couple of things happened yesterday that got me thinking a bit – as extroverted and goofy as I can be, and usually am – I can also be a bit melancholy from time to time. I actually think deep from time to time. I can be quite reflective and reminiscent when the moment strikes. SOOOO – yesterday – what happened?
The first thing that happened was I went to my daughter’s basketball banquet. She’s a freshman in High School (which still freaks me out a bit)… but as I watched the awards ceremony, and heard the coach talk about the seniors and the season, it hit me – THIS will be my daughter in 3 short years. I have driven thousands of miles and spent countless hours watching, cheering, encouraging, congratulating, consoling, high-fiving, etc… my daughter as she plays the game she loves. I have played what seems like a million games of one-on-one and H-O-R-S-E in the driveway. And in a few short years – her High School career will be over. And it makes me sad – and happy – at the same time. She is growing into a wonderful young woman, and I beam with pride when I see who she is becoming (even when she frustrates me – well, because she’s 14 – and I frustrate her because, well, I’m her dad… I think that’s how it works when they’re teen-agers) 🙂
The second thing that happened was last night – about midnight. My youngest son woke up (well, he didn’t REALLY wake up) screaming because of a bad dream. I went into his room, he was sitting up, screaming about something that made no sense… he was shaking and afraid, obviously having a bad dream. I tried to calm him down by whispering and rubbing his head, but he just kept screaming. I finally picked him up, carried him into the living room, and rocked him back to sleep. After he went to sleep, I just kept rocking him… because, well, he’s 6, and he still lets me rock him. I was reminded of when I used to get up in the middle of the night just 3 or 4 years ago for the same thing, but I would lay in the floor so he could go back to sleep – because monsters don’t come out from the closet or underneath the bed when Dad is in the floor (Parenting 101)… But as I rocked him last night, I realized it’s been a long time since I’ve had to do that. And my mind thought about the times I get frustrated when my other son thinks of EVERYTHING under the sun at bedtime to keep himself from going to sleep – so I can relax for the night… and I realized that at some point, this will no longer happen – and it makes me happy, and sad, at the same time. Because growing up is a good thing. And growing up stinks… But it’s the little moments (that are big moments) that I’m learning to appreciate more and more… because the little moments are actually BIG moments. And they are memories that go into a vault (somewhere) 🙂 never to be forgotten. They shape us. And the more these moments happen, the more I continue to realize that
Life is what happens in the little moments while we are often too busy waiting for the big moments to happen
Because today it’s going to basketball banquets and rocking little boys in a chair because of a bad dream… tomorrow will be something new, something different, but something wonderful – and I don’t want to miss it. One of my favorite scriptures speaks of this very thing. It is found in Ephesians 5:15-17
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Being wise and making the most of every opportunity… I believe this is one of the keys to life. A successful life, a fulfilling life, a meaningful life. I’ll end today’s post with a poem/book that I read several years ago – Amy had read it (and cried) in a waiting room at a doctor’s appointment for one of the kids and told me about it… then I read it and cried 🙂 I think it sums up a lot of what I’ve been blabbering about today.
Challenge – I dare you to try and read this out loud to one of your kids at bedtime. If you can make it through without choking up a bit, your new name is now… GRINCH 🙂
Let Me Hold You Longer
By Karen Kingsbury
Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts:
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts . . .
The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips.
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying, needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket wanting to be rocked.
The last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from your past –
Would I have held on longer if I’d known they were your last?
Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.
Your last few hours of kindergarten, those last days of first grade.
Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.
I never said good-bye to all your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow – will I recognize your lasts?
The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly, scattered images will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts . . .
The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you and tuck you in at night.
The last time when we cuddle with a book, just me and you.
The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school last soccer goal you make.
I look ahead and dream of days that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss today’s sweet, precious lasts . . .
The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes, your room is still a mess.
The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.
My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass.
I want to hold on longer – want to recognize your lasts . . .
The last time that you need my help with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for advice about romance.
The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.
I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time, I’d hold on to your lasts.
For come some bright fall morning, you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way.
One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed.
I’ll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.
(c) 2004 by Karen Kingsbury, Tyndale House Publishers.
May God continue to be your treasure (Matthew 13:44-46)