Children grow up too fast. We marvel when our child who was just a toddler mere minutes ago begins elementary school, our small child of just last year moves on to high school, and our youngster, barely entering puberty last we noticed, heads off to college. How did this happen so fast!
While caught up in the daily whirl of grimy handprints, intestinal upsets, breastfeeding, dirty diapers, and the many illnesses that build a strong immune system, the days feel interminable. Sleepless nights blur into days on call. There is no down time for parents of small children.
Trying to keep pace, we race into schooling, clubs, sports, outings, sleepovers, and friends, accumulating more tinies as the older ones branch out into new worlds and new experiences. The blur of days intensifies.
Before we know it, we sit in a crowd, and our child is the featured honoree, speaking with ease or performing with skill. We beam at all our child has accomplished.
The next day our babies are off to college, then graduating, maybe grad school. Before we blink (how did this happen!), they perform feats we would never dare attempt, cross a stage in hood and stole, or plight their trough to a spouse.
I swear it was only yesterday that we changed their diapers. At the beginning the days seem unending, and by the end they fly by. Grasp as we might, we cannot slow the rush of years away.
And they are grown and gone.
A child on the cusp of thirty-six just flew to his far-off home, the last one prepares to move out of the house, and the others are far flung.
We’re in the end game, the final third of our lives. And, finally, we have a little wisdom, too late it seems. We bemoan our lack of wisdom when we needed it most. We regret the mistakes of young parenthood.
“Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom,” we beseech the Lord, for the fleeting days and speed of the hourglass tell us that we are but grass and will soon fade away. We are far more frail than we ever knew.
This is Father’s Day. We pause to think what fathering resulted from the boys grown to men who became our own fathers or who fathered our children.
As I write, the father of my children drives a son to an airport. The wrench at our heartstrings tears, because we only see but once or twice a year these ones we love so dearly. Our most precious people on earth, the ones we were privileged to parent, are no longer continuously under our eye.
My husband grew into manhood as our first child was born. He became a believer soon after and consistently sought God, striving to be the man he knew God wanted him to be. It was a hard road, but he became the patriarch of our large family and is far wiser than I. We have all been blessed to have him at the helm.
When I married him and left my parents’ home, I was seventeen, and he was eighteen. I thought we were pretty smart, independent, and savvy. We weren’t. It never occurred to me then that my parents felt just as I do now when my children fly the coop.
When I was young, I was my daddy’s girl. Because of him, I am who I am. From him I learned the art of intelligent discourse and deep thought. He became the measure of a man to me.
Our relationship was out of tune when I left the house in 1977, and it never occurred to me that his heart must have ached over his little girl marrying and becoming a mother in that one year.
The farther I go down the road of life, the more I appreciate my parents, their investment in me, and how they live their lives.
Thank you, Daddy, for loving me through thick and thin and for instilling in me the values you taught and lived. You are precious to me, and I want your ticker to keep beating forever. But you’re eighty, and I know that’s impossible. The thought makes my heart ache.
Thank you, Husband, for growing in the wisdom of the Lord and for fathering our children so well. The older we grow, the more esteemed, cherished, and appreciated you become in my eyes. You have surpassed those who went before you, and I am so proud of you.
I love you both. Happy Father’s Day.