My oldest two boys turn 15 this month.
In the midst of the birthday wishes and celebrations, I want to tell them “you’re halfway to 30, boo. Better start using your time wisely.”
Instead, I’ll probably bake a cake or two, fix their favorite meals, and have miniature celebrations crammed into what feels like our busiest month of the year. I’ll let them each enjoy their day. (Their birthdays are four days apart – one of our sons is adopted, for those who are trying to figure out how that’s even possible.)
But the best gift I could give them would be time. Not time that you don’t notice, but time that is appreciated, savored, and lived well. They’re 15, so they think that time goes on and on, without end and with nothing to really notice about the day after day living.
It can seem that way when you’re young. Then suddenly, you’re the mom of two 15-year-olds, questioning how the endless days turned into years that flew by while you were simply trying to survive. These boys of mine are living for the next moment instead of living in today. If I had a quarter for how many times they’ve talked about “when I start driving” or “when I get my own car,” I’d be a rich woman. (Or not rich, but maybe I’d at least be able to afford their insurance!)
I get it. They think all their biggest and best moments are ahead of them. It can seem that way when you’re waiting. Waiting can feel like everything happening now pales in comparison to what is about to come.
But when I look back on the years I lived waiting for the next moment to come, I actually don’t remember the “big moments” like I thought I would. I truly can’t remember my first time driving in the driver’s seat by myself. I can’t even clearly remember the day I got a car.
The ordinary moments stand out much more in my mind. When I look back on when I was their age, I remember time with my family, fun with friends, crazy adventures, school events, even boring classes. A thought I’ve had lately is “when I look back on today 20 years from now, what will I remember?” It’s a question I truly wonder about. My memory is so-so at best, and simply terrible at worst. So there’s a possibility whole weeks of what’s happening now, won’t even register in my brain 20 years from now.
I think I’ll remember driving them back-and-forth from event to event. I think I’ll remember sitting around our table together, eating dinner as a family. I think I’ll remember proudly watching them play soccer games, perform in the band, and other activities they love. I think I’ll remember the moments I’m not so proud of them, and I think I’ll remember the moments that they make me think I’m the luckiest mom in the world.
What I’m sure I’ll remember is the feeling of wanting time to freeze just for a moment. Slow down just a little. Let me enjoy the show. Instead, the days keep rolling into weeks. And those weeks fly into years.
It’s a recurring theme in these articles because it’s a recurring theme in my life.
Where did the time go? I swear I never thought they’d turn 15 so soon. Somehow those 365 days in each year seem to go a little quicker the older I get and the older they get. They also talk lately about “when they’re gonna’ leave the house.” I told them the other day I don’t allow that kind of talk in our home. Let’s just pretend we are all going to live here forever, ok?
I know, I know… they need to grow up, need to be on their own, need to live somewhere not with me. But I just don’t want to hear about it quite yet. Let’s pretend that 15 isn’t as close to 18 as it is. That graduation isn’t just the blink of an eye away.
And we’ll all eat at the table, complaining about me making them eat healthy food forever. Laughing about our day. Telling each other our stories. Fighting a little and loving a lot. POV