The years just keep flying by. Today marked the end of my thirty-sixth and the start of my thirty-seventh. In my mind I can hardly believe that I’m 37 years old. It seems like the downhill run to 40 from here on out, but I really don’t mind. Exciting things are on the horizon, and I’m prepared to go forward to the glory of God as my 37 year old self. Even if I still kind of choke on the 37 when I say it.
Oddly enough, I ran across an article this week about why time seems to speed up as you age. According to the experts in such matters, it basically has to do with the lack of new experiences as we get older. The world is no longer new and exciting, and there’s a sharp decline in the things that we experience for the first time. Our same old/same old existence causes each day to run together with no “memory markers” to help distinguish one day from the next in our brains. The result is that one day it’s January, then almost immediately we wake up and it’s December again, and we wonder where all the time went.
It’s no wonder that we mothers tend to feel that our children sprout up into young adults before our very eyes. If ever there was a profession in life that is an exercise in monotony, it is motherhood. Consider, with three children, how many teeth I will floss and brush in my lifetime. Think about how many thousands of bedtime routines that the average mother performs in the growing up years, night after night playing out in exactly the same ways. How many baths will we give? How many times will we say, “Put your shoes on”?
It’s easy to see how one day could run into the next. I guess in that way it’s no surprise that time seems to fly by with incredible speed.
Yet, isn’t it beautiful how every day can run together, and then right in the middle of all of that sameness you can have one little memory that just sticks with you and sort of helps you to hang on to little bits of the days that are whooshing past?
I had a moment like that today. Chad whisked the kids away to his office after lunch, and all I knew was that they had a secret project to take care of for my birthday. When they came back several hours later, they had handmade cards and a delectable chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, my favorite flavor combination ever. It turns out the kids had conspired with a dear friend to go to her house and make a cake.
They walked in with their amazing cake, so proud. But, that’s not even the part that I will remember forever. After they sang happy birthday and I began cutting the cake, I realized that they had chosen my favorite flavors, but that neither of them would even like the cake because Adelade doesn’t like peanut butter and Sawyer doesn’t like chocolate (I know, they’re crazy). So, even though our friend left the flavor choices wide open for them, they decided to make what they knew I would really love, even if it meant they wouldn’t even care to eat the cake they worked so hard for.
It’s things like this that make the flying years and the lack of sleep and the millions of teeth to floss all 100% worth it. Because kids are amazing little creatures, and they will surprise you at every turn.
So, even though I probably can’t spend the next year planning a bunch of incredible new experiences that the psychologists say will slow down time, I may be able to make some of those memory markers just by stopping to be amazed by the people my kids are becoming. I know that the days will fly, but I’m going to concentrate on taking just some moments here and there and engraving them in slow motion on my heart. Then someday, when I’m 77, I’ll still be able to go back to a spot in time, like today, when the kids grinned at me over a cake that held no interest for them, other than the fact that it made me happy.
How can you let a moment like that speed past?
I’m thankful for another year of moments with a man who loves me with his whole life and three crazy, loud, genuine, fascinating kids. Then there’s me, 37. And I’m okay with that.