Friday, October 30, 2009

Looking Back

I was sitting in a North Carolina church last weekend, trying to pay attention (my mind wanders), as four babies were being baptized. I watched each of the families as they lovingly held their infants over the font, as the holy water was poured over little tawny heads. And I remembered when my own kids were baptized. When I worried if they would cry or be fussy (now I love when the babies cry when they're baptized) or if they'd spit up on their adorable white outfits.

Then I glanced next to me, where a little girl, about five years old, was tying her sneaker. And I remembered trying to teach my kids how to tie their shoes. Two loops, over, under, through. How I spent days and days and days trying to teach it before it clicked.

I was struck by milestones and how they define a childhood. The baptism, the first step, the first time in a bed, the first lost tooth, bike ride, set of x-rays. Braces, school dances, broken hearts. Driver's licenses, speeding tickets, SATs.

Little moments that add up to a lifetime. It amazes me how fast time goes by (it's a cliché for a reason). In a blink, my kids have gone from babies to near adults (one is, actually). My memory is terrible, yet I can remember the day my son fell off his bike and came limping home, half the skin torn off his leg like it was yesterday. It was ten years ago. And the day my daughter fell and chipped her front tooth on the rim of the bathtub. The tears, my fears, the quick run to the dentist. Thirteen years ago.

Most of which they'll never even remember--but I will, I do. Do you have moments that are forever etched in your memory? For me there was also the time my son decided to drive his grandfather's truck down the driveway. He was six. I'm pretty sure that was the start of me getting gray hairs.

And I'm pretty sure my mind wandered in this direction because I was homesick. I'm a homebody at heart and being away four days is really hard on me. But I can definitely say I'm looking forward to what milestones lay ahead. And I know I'll still worry about the little things, but I could do without more grays.