Zen: (noun) A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where Did It Go...

My granddaughters are with us this week.  For the first time since they were little girls they get to spend time at our house alone.  That's not because my daughter wouldn't have loved for us to keep them, it's because we keep moving farther and farther away and they keep getting busier and busier.

They are now 15 and 14 and as I looked at the oldest on Saturday I couldn't help but think, where did it go?

Where did my fuzzy headed little girl go?  Eve has very curly blond hair that has a tendency to frizz up over night.  When she was little it made the cutest little halo on top of her head and when I would pick her up, she would bury that fuzzy little head in the crook of my neck and I would soak up all her babyness.

Where did it go?

Matthew and William are working this summer and Brian is still looking.  They could have worked in previous summers but I wanted them to enjoy their teen years...you know, sleeping until 3:00 pm and staying up all night playing video games with their friends.  Such productive endeavors.  But now, they are all off in different directions all the time and I barely catch a glimpse of them along the way. 

Where did it go?

Where did the sweaty smell of little boys go? Where did baseball caps on the counter and stinky sneakers in my mudroom go?  Where did up all night sleepovers and little arms around my neck and sloppy kisses on my cheek go?  I still get hugs and kisses but it's different when your head hits their chest and kisses are an opportunity to remind them to shave.  And sleepovers have a totally different meaning and will not be happening in my house.

Where did it go?

Where did late night conversations where I could barely keep my eyes open go?  The ones I used to dread because I had to get up early for work but I stayed up and stayed present (even in the two years I was drinking heavily) because that's the only time that teens want to talk.  I would listen and talk and listen some more.  I would make suggestions or even give advice if asked.  And as they walked back to their room I'd be happy because I knew I was still needed.

Where did family meals around the kitchen table go?  The ones where there were always one or two more mouths to feed and we talked about our days and laughed at inappropriate jokes (or bodily functions) and planned out the weekend activities.  Some of that still happens but it's not the same.  Now there are girlfriends as well as their "boys" around the table and most of the time there's not even room for Bill and I to sit much less participate in conversation.  But I still watch and and listen revel in the fact that family dinner time is still one of their favorite times of the day.

Where did sand castles and bleached blond hair with little boy tan lines along little boy bottoms go?  We haven't been on vacation in a few years and likely won't be going anywhere anytime soon.  They're off on vacation with their friends or girlfriends anyway and while they'd love to go somewhere with us, it's much more expensive and complicated to take five grown adults away than it is to take two semi-grown adults and 3 or 4 or 5 little kids.  They don't exactly eat off the kids menu anymore.

And who am I kidding?  I know where it all went.  Time.  It went with the passage of time.  I curse the passage of time and the in the same breath find myself praying for more.  More time to get those hugs and kisses and dinners and conversations.  More time to spend with them and their kids and maybe, if I'm very, very lucky, their kids also. 

I have no idea where this came from today except that when I kissed Eve goodnight last night, her fuzzy head (that is now perfectly coiffed) tickled my nose.

And it made me smile.



  1. What a sweet post. Its amazing how quickly it all goes. It sounds like you have done a beautiful job though....bittersweet as it is, the kids are independent, confident and tackling the world and feeling like "of course they will go out and grab a hold of their dreams and make them come true." Well done mama.

  2. And now my nose is tickling...with tears, thank you very much. It will be comforting for you to know that my thirty-two year old son has taken to calling me every day, sometimes several times a day, to discuss his woman problems. The times go and our children grow, but new times come and our children, and their children, still need us. Thank you God, Jesus, the Blessed Mother and all citizens above that I am once again someone they can come to with their flotsam and jetsam of life.

  3. Beautiful post and beautiful comments so far too.

    What a blessing to be a part of this thing called life sober and present and emotionally available. Open to the love given and received.

    Thank you for this...just lovely.


  4. Whoops...

    Great post. I'm with you - although I don't have grandkids yet. But my son is 23 this year, graduates as a Master of Physics!!! next month and starts a PhD on Sept - he is finally full moving out then. We're looking at unis for my daughter - soon it'll me my wife and I at the kitchen table wondering why we even have a dining room any more

    Time takes time - that can be interpreted more than one way I think.